Everyone has felt stress in their lives. As a parent raising young children, stress can feel like it never ends. However, you find ways to relax and take the edge off, so you feel ready for the next day.
Sadly, toddlers between the ages of one and three don’t have the emotional maturity and thinking abilities to express their stress in a way you’ll understand. So, let’s look at the common signs of stress in your toddler. As a result, you’ll have the tools to help them relax and find their emotional footing.
What Causes Toddler Stress?
First and foremost, what causes a toddler to become stressed? Many contributing factors can bring about toddler stress, such as moving into a new home, losing a family member or pet, or the arrival of a newborn sibling.
What makes stress more difficult in children is their lack of ability to express what they’re thinking and feeling. As a result, it can come across as them lashing out in unexpected or unfavorable situations.
Common Signs of Toddler Stress
Luckily, finding common stress signs in toddlers isn’t hard to pick up on. Toddler-related stress is easy to decipher and is recognizable to the observant eye. Let’s look at the everyday stress cues your toddler might give off.
Witnessing your toddler having an emotional reaction to something isn’t uncommon. However, irritability, screaming, and physical expression can quickly become your toddler lashing out in an unhealthy way that can cause harm to themselves and others.
Instead of reacting negatively to your child screaming, crying, or being angry, console them and help them find the words to express their feelings. Establishing emotional habits and communication will help them feel grounded and secure in their feelings.
A side effect of stressful situations can result in your child sucking their thumbs. It’s a way for toddlers to soothe themselves during high stress and anxiety levels.
You can help your child to grow away from thumb-sucking through distraction and positive reinforcement. When you notice they’re under stress and sucking their thumb, use their favorite toy or puzzle to encourage them to focus their energy on something fun.
As children grow, it takes a significant amount of time to find a sleeping schedule that helps them feel refreshed and energized. However, if you’re noticing consistently troubled sleep in your child, it could result from stress.
It’s common for a child to express worry or concern when bedtime approaches. So, instead of watching television or playing on a tablet, read them a few short stories and establish a comforting evening routine that will help them fall asleep.
When your child asks for hugs, kisses, and to hold your hand, it can make your heart feel warm and show that your child deeply loves you. However, stress can be the main culprit if they have difficulty being away from you or get upset when you leave their sight.
Take the time to console your child and have them communicate why they feel upset. Comfort them and continue discussing why they are reacting, then turn it into a positive experience. The more you understand your child and their reaction to stress, the more you can help them grow emotionally.