Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How To Detect Stress In Toddlers: Signs And Solutions

Why is it often so difficult to detect stress in a child and especially in the youngest? Yet they manifest these tensions but do not verbalize them. It’s up to us to decrypt the signals they’re sending.

Your child has been behaving differently for some time, but you don’t know why. Maybe he’s stressed. Because stress also exists in younger people, it is up to us to identify it to help them.

By The Way, What Is Stress?

“Stress is the body’s physiological reaction to an exasperating and strange outside occasion,” says therapist Céline Durand. This physiological phenomenon is manifested by the overproduction of two hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol. In small doses, it can be an energy source. But too much adrenaline can cause unusual behaviors: hypervigilance, fear, escape or attack. The abnormal increase in cortisol can lead to feelings of discouragement, sadness or insecurity. Unlike adults who can identify these situations, the child is powerless and he cannot verbalize his anxiety.

Stress In Children

What can stress a child? He has no problems with work, housing or money… Yeah, but …  Children also have anxieties. It can range from a simple argument in the playground that will make him nervous every time he goes back to school to the stress of seeing his parents split up when he sees them arguing. A move, a new birth in the family, a change of school or crèche, the departure of close friends… Seeing you stressed can also get to him. The child absorbs your emotions.

Causes Of Stress In Children:

To avoid unnecessary stress, it is possible to anticipate certain situations that cause anxiety for children. Do you know the acronym CINÉ? Each letter identifies a possible cause of stress in children. C: weak a situation. I: unpredictability or unexpected situation. N: new, never experienced. É: ego threatened, the situation calls into question his abilities and his confidence in him. Not every situation is experienced in the same way from one child to another, sometimes even within the same family. It’s up to you to recognize your child’s language.

Manifestations Of Stress In Children:

There are different ways to detect stress in a child. Listen to him and observe him. Perhaps the first sign is the sudden change in behavior. A child who is always calm and becomes nervous and angry for little can show stress. On the other hand, a very active child who becomes quiet and withdrawn is not good news and can express in his or her own way an angle.

When The Body Expresses Itself

When a child is unable to express his or her stress or to express it through his or her attitude, the body sometimes takes over. Asthma attacks double or seems stronger? Does eczema spread as rarely? Stomach pains, diarrhea every morning? Does he start peeing again at night? Does he go to the bathroom every ten minutes? If the body expresses itself to you to help the child to confide its anxieties. Sometimes all you have to do is talk about it, put words into it, and the stress goes away. Nothing worse than doubt or blurry situations for a child.

Sleep Disorders

Your child wakes up several times a night because of nightmares or has a lot of trouble falling asleep. It is possible that in the evening the anxieties reappear. You can institute a ritual to soothe him: sleeping, evening story, a cuddly moment… This way, he will be reassured because there will be no unforeseen events and will end his day calmly. The evening can also be the time when you unravel the day in calm, with it 100%, without doing anything else at the same time.

What Can I Do?

Parents often talk to the pediatrician first, and they’re right because just being aware of your child’s stress is already a critical step in the treatment. Véronique Lemoine Cordier is very reassuring about the benefits of speaking: “we must also tell parents that a nothing destabilizes a child… but that a nothing restores him. It goes very fast in one direction as in another fortunately also. »

When necessary, our psychologist can advise outside help: “it can be useful to rely on professionals… not because they are smarter but because they are outside. How many times do I feel like I say the same thing as the parents, but as it is said by a third person, it has all the weight of what was deposited before by the parents. »

Some Tips:

  • Value the child by giving him / her 20 or 30 minutes of attention per day, ” just for him/her “.
  • Create an environment conducive to balance.
  • Promote contact with nature. “Contact with nature is very important: it regenerates, gives a feeling of freedom, even 15 minutes a day. »
  • Organize the child’s life so that he or she has moments of peace.

What If My Child Stays Stressed?

I’ve tried everything and my child remains stressed…
Even so, if nothing is done, it is worth consulting the doctor or child psychiatrist to unblock the situation. Indeed, leaving a stressed child for years will habituate his brain to toxic functioning. If a little stress is inevitable, don’t let a child get into chronic stress, but react and find solutions.

All in all, adults do not have a monopoly on the sometimes devastating effects of stress or anxiety. Children and adolescents may also be affected. However, their loved ones need to realize this and find solutions to this stress…

Should We Consult?

Before you run to a psychologist, take a step back. Talk about your observations with the people close to your child: the teacher, the staff of the nursery. Are the changes in behavior similar to school? If the tummy aches in the mornings but never again during the holidays, it is very likely that the school is the problem. Talk to your child and teachers about what could cause this anxiety. If the situation gets worse, talk to your general practitioner or pediatrician, who can help you decide what to do.

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