Children of all ages are affected by stress and anxiety, but they respond to it differently based on their age, personality, and personal coping methods. Parents, especially those with young children, may find it difficult to spot their children’s signals of stress or worry. It’s even more difficult to figure out what to do in this situation.

Observing Toddlers for Symptoms of Stress (And How to Help)

Even seemingly insignificant alterations might cause anxiety in a toddler. In the absence of verbal expression, young children may show their emotions through actions. Here are some suggestions for helping your child cope with the various ways in which stress presents itself in children:

Children who simply won’t let go of their parents

Anxious babies tend to become overly “clingy” or attached to their parents. It’s not just when you’re going through a huge upheaval in your family but also when you’re trying to support your child through a milestone transition, like giving up the bottle.

In an uncertain world, it’s normal for a child to want to hold onto whatever he can. Even though he wants to cling to you, offering him something else to carry around might be a good idea. Look for a specific lovey or comfort object that might provide a sense of stability for your child.

It’s best to ease your child into a new situation by allowing him to stay at daycare for an hour the first day, then two hours the next, and then a much longer amount of time the third day. This will assist your child adjust to his new surroundings and feel more at ease. Be warned, however: Your child may grow enamored with a lovey.

It’s for kids who have trouble falling asleep.

If your child cannot express their distress or anxiety verbally, their actions may serve as a warning sign. Changes in sleep patterns may be one of them.

Stressed children may experience night terrors or sleepwalk due to their anxiety. Try not to awaken a sleeping infant whenever one of these incidents occurs. Instead, see to it that he is kept safe. If you don’t want to share your bed with the child, don’t do it (that can start other bad habits). It is possible, however, to sit with him and gently assist in his relaxation. Relaxation is a skill that can take some time to master.

When it comes to a child that has behavioral issues,

Another classic indicator of childhood stress is regression. Even a potty-trained toddler can revert to having regular accidents, and a 3-year-old may resume acting like a “baby” and begging for a bottle.

What you can do: Having a new sibling or dealing with a loss might cause a toddler to experience anxiety and a reaction like this. In other words, your small one may feel like regressing to a simpler time when things were simpler and safer because of the expectation to act like a “big” kid.

For parents, it can be difficult but don’t condemn your child for acting like a baby if you don’t want to add to their stress. Instead, arouse his curiosity about the responsibilities of being a big boy. He may have to sing to his new baby sister or make his lunch for nursery school.

The Verdict

In most cases, when it comes to toddlers enduring stress due to major life events, time will help your youngster adapt. As a result, your child will be able to cope with their anxiety and stress better if you are patient and loving with them.

Helpful related article: Separation Anxiety in ToddlersHelping Your Preschooler Manage Emotions and Preventing Anxiety Disorder OutburstsToddler Tantrums and How to Handle Them