Young children are generally easy to keep happy and rarely have to deal with huge amounts of stress. However, that does not mean they never get stressed or anxious. In fact, toddlers are particularly sensitive to changes in their usual routine or issues that are happening around them.
It is essential that parents understand the signs of toddler stress in order to take the right steps to address it when it does arise. This is why you should take the time to find reputable child care, such as this childcare in Liverpool, because that type of support can make a big difference in dealing with anxiety in your child. It is also important to stay in tune with your toddler, and throughout their childhood, to be able to pick up on signs of stress and anxiety so you can help them manage their emotional challenges effectively.
Changes in Behavior
The best way to figure out if your toddler is experiencing some stress is by watching for changes in behavior. At this age, it is unlikely that your child will simply be able to share their concerns and worries with you unless you question them about it and they are excellent communicators. Many toddlers are still learning to speak clearly and developing emotionally, so it may be difficult for them to express their feelings accurately.
Here are some of the most common behavioral changes to watch out for in your toddler:
- Sudden difficulty sleeping when they normally sleep straight through the night.
- Emotional changes, particularly becoming more clingy or withdrawing into themselves.
- Increased agitation, specifically tantrums or aggression when you make simple requests of them.
- Headaches and stomachaches that don’t appear to have any other explanation.
- Developing a need to suck their thumb, chew fingers, or play with their hair may suggest that they are anxious about something.
- Regular bowel movements become irregular.
Your child may exhibit other types of symptoms as well that point to stress. Of course, you know your child best and will be able to notice any odd changes in behavior to explore more deeply.
How To Handle Toddler Stress
Toddlers may not have a huge vocabulary, but they understand most of what is going on around them and can communicate with you in a number of ways. It is worth talking to them and asking if they have a specific concern. You can even share a story of a similar issue that you have had. Children love when parents tell stories about their own childhood. Just be careful not to push the subject if they seem distracted or reluctant.
If they do not want to talk, it may be necessary to move on and come back to the issue later. This is actually an important principle in dealing with toddler stress. Sometimes it is best to simply carry on as though nothing is different. For example, if your child is having a tantrum about daycare, you can ask them if there is an issue at the childcare facility. If they say no or there is no response, then use a firm tone to tell them they are going. Then carry on as normal. It is helpful to observe their behaviors for some time to try to pick up on any obvious patterns that may indicate the trigger of their stress.
Maintaining a routine will help your child to deal with stress since they will learn to accept that events are going to happen, regardless of what they do. Finally, be sure to let them know that they have can always come to you to talk about their feelings. It’s so critical that children learn from an early age how helpful it is for them to share their feelings as they arise so they don’t build up over time. This will ultimately help them to build confidence and tackle issues head-on, which is a very useful skill to have throughout life.
Still struggling? Check out these 10 Fun Stress Busters to Practice with your Kids at Home.
How does your toddler express stress to you?