As parents with a million things on our plates, we might not think that our kids have much to stress about. After all, we often take care of their every need! But even kids in the most loving families can experience stress from time to time, and it’s completely normal. Parents can often miss the signs that our kids are stressed out though, since they are so different from our own, and kids might not even know that they are stressed out, themselves! Understanding your kids’ stress signals can help your whole family work through difficult times, and teach your kids that it’s ok to seek help when they need it. Here are some hidden stress signals that kids show when they are going through difficult times.
- Trouble sleeping & nightmares
- Upset stomach
- Changes in eating habits, appetite, “picky” eating
Emotional & Social Signals
- New fears and anxieties that seem come out of nowhere
- Avoiding social situations they previously enjoyed
- New bedwetting
- Becoming “clingy” or not wanting to be away from family
- Returning to more childish behaviors that they had already grown out of
These signs are very common in kids who are experiencing stress, but the kids might not even realize that anything is bothering them at all. That’s why it’s very important that parents take time every day to check in with their kids and get them to share how they’re feeling and what’s going on in their lives.
Kids are very sensitive to pressures at school, disagreements with friends, struggles with family members, and even the movies they watch. What might not seem like a “big deal” to a grown up could feel like the end of the world to a young kid. By checking in with your kids regularly, despite seeing signs of stress or not, it shows them that you are open to listening to them about their emotions and care for them. Whether they know they are stressed out or not, this reassurance from their parents will help them throughout the rest of their lives.