Teaching Kids How to Identify and Cope with Stress Triggers

5 Top Emotional Warning Signals

Many times, children are not sure how to put their feelings into words, so it is essential for the parents to keep an eye out for any unusual behavior. There are many warning signs to look out for to determine if your child is under stress. Below is a list of the most common indicators. If you notice any of them manifesting within your own child, then it may be time to intervene and guide them with coping mechanisms to keep their stresses under control.

1Acting Out - This could be biting, hitting, screaming, or anything out of the ordinary that signals something else is going on. 

2. Depressed - If you see your child constantly feeling down, tired, and not interested in playing with their favorite toys, this is a red flag.

3. Anxious - Being anxious is a large stress indicator. Watch out for any anxiety-driven responses or actions. Some of the common signs include fingernail biting, pulling their hair, grinding teeth, and being abnormally fidgety.

4. Upset Stomach and Headaches - If your child is complaining of an upset stomach or a pounding headache, yet clearly not sick, stress could be the culprit.

5. Frequent Nightmares - Though kids do get nightmares once in a while, if your child never had them before and suddenly gets them every night, it could a cause of concern.

Coping Mechanisms for Children

 It is imperative to teach your children how to manage and adequately cope with life stresses. Not only will it help them in their current state, but it will also give them excellent methods to use as they grow up to be functioning adults themselves.

Controlled Breathing - Breathing in a controlled manner has proven extremely beneficial to anyone who needs to self-reflect and lower stress levels. It works so well because it sends a message to your brain to relax and calm down. It is also something children can practice fairly easily, making it an excellent starting point for your little one.

Counting - Counting is a great distraction that can ease the burden of your child. Count with your child slowly until they calm down. You can also add in the controlled breathing mentioned above in between each number to obtain the maximum calming effects.

Communication - If your child is at an age where they can communicate relatively well, then it would be ideal to find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted so you can have a meaningful talk with them. Find out what is going on, how they are feeling, and if there is any way you can help them. Ask easy questions and give them time to answer.

Simplify the Schedule - Sometimes, children are stressed because they have way too much on their plate. Maybe they are signed up for a few different extracurricular activities that make it hard for them to juggle other aspects of their life. Take some of the unnecessary tasks off their shoulders to give them less obligated pressure and more personal time to play, explore, and be creative.

Stress will always be a part of our lives but we don’t have to let it overtake us and place us in a state of anxiety and depression. No child, or anyone for that matter, should have to be stressed so much that they are feeling mental, emotionally and physically sick by it. I encourage you to try some of these techniques mentioned above and below in the resource section, or please feel free to explore Kids Bayou to help you guide your little one through their difficult time. Please also do not hesitate to seek professional counseling services if you feel like that is the best way to go. We silence the voice of mental illness when we get the help we need. No matter what you decide, it could take some trial and error based on your child’s specific needs. Just remember that actively trying is better than not doing anything at all and as always we are here for you.

References & Other Useful Information

https://psychcentral.com/lib/7-tips-for-helping-your-child-manage-stress/

https://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-help-your-child-cope-with-stress/

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002059.htm

Counting Guidance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whr1yqsxrWk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_1v4W5wrSI

Breathing Guidance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xQJ2O4b5TM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FswMJi_ho-4

Communication Guidance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRwaqD-BnHM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xrw5-B8yaBY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdsPh67lf10

https://gozen.com/49-phrases-to-calm-an-anxious-child/

https://www.popsugar.com/family/Things-Say-Stressed-Kids-40777228

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US NEWS

DREAMSTIME

HEALTHLINE

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