Stress isn't a condition exclusively experienced by adults; children may experience it as well.
Often, stress experienced by children is unrealized by their parents, as children may be unable to, or find difficulties to, express the feelings of stress they experience.
Yet, parents especially should be aware of the stress their children may experience, because it may affect their day-to-day activities, both physically and psychologically.
The most common side effect of stress on a child is that you'll find them having trouble sleeping.
Children may begin to sleep less soundly, they may ask to sleep beside their parents for comfort, or even act out and refuse to sleep with their parents.
However, while stress may not immediately affect a child's sleeping pattern, what's certain is that children and teenagers who have difficulties sleeping have a higher level of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Helping them get sufficient sleep is the first step to relieving them of their stress.
The role of a parent is significant in helping a child overcome this condition.
Firstly, reassure your child that you, as a parent, will always be there for them whenever they may be feeling anxious.
It is also important that parents are aware of the symptoms of stress in their children and are able to identify changes in behaviour.
Aside from sleeping difficulties, the National Sleep Foundation suggests a number of other common symptoms related to stress, as reported by kompas.com:
- A decline in appetite
- Bedwetting in their sleep
- Aggressiveness or stubbornness
- Inability or difficulties in controlling their emotions
- Refusing to engage in family or school activities
There are a number of daily activities or routines that could help reduce a child's stress, such as having dinner together as a family or spending time and having conversations together before bed.
These simple gestures could help your child feel more at ease.
Parents also shouldn't hesitate to consult a psychologist if the stress symptoms shown by their child persists.