Being a toddler can be an exciting time in a little human’s life with all the physical, emotional, and cognitive growth going on. But it can also be a sensitive time for kids who are still easing into the world around them, often causing them to feel the unnecessary burden of stress. Toddler stress is very real, and here’s why:
What causes toddler stress?
Factors such as separation anxiety and even the most (seemingly) harmless things like exposure to the evening news can cause toddlers to feel stressed out. Because all kids are unique, they all have their own ways of displaying stress. Any changes in your toddler’s normal behaviour might indicate stress.
How to spot toddler stress
The following signs might indicate that your tot is stressed out:
- A change in sleeping and eating habits
- Mood swings
- Being clingy or withdrawing from social activities
- Increased tantrums and crying
- Bedtime fears and nightmares
- Headaches, stomachaches and other physical ailments
- Anxious tics
- Reliance on habits such as thumb-sucking or chewing of the hair
- A change in bowel movements
Causes for stress in toddlers
Here is a summary of the main causes of toddler stress:
Toddlers have a growing awareness that their primary caregivers are their main elements of safety against the world, which is why it’s natural for them to want to stay close to their parents, and when they are separated from them for long periods of time, separation anxiety often kicks in.
Changes in the family dynamic
Changes in your toddler’s family life such as a divorce, death of a family member, one parent losing his or her job, and even moving to a new home can cause them to feel stressed out. When there’s a combination of heightened emotions, a disrupted routine, and disrupted schedules, even the most relaxed of toddlers can start feeling stressed.
Toddlers love taking their sweet old time to learn more about the world around them. When we’re always rushing them to get from point A to point B, it can create havoc and cause them to feel stressed. Stress naturally occurs when a parent’s agenda disregards the child’s natural rhythm.
Natural disasters, shootings at schools, and the terrorist attack your son overheard you talking about the other day can seriously affect them, causing them to stress because they have been exposed to big events in the world. Kids also tend to pick up on stress around them, which can lead to even more stress. It’s essential to monitor the type of exposure your kid gets on a daily basis to keep stress levels down to a minimum.