Know the Signs and How it Can Affect Your Child
Recognizing stress reactions in kids is not always easy. However, changes in behavior and personality are good clues that something is going on.
- Tired: trouble sleeping
- Fearful: afraid of things, not wanting to take risks
- Weight Change: poor appetite or overeating
- Regression: reverting to immature behaviors
- Withdrawn Behavior: sadness, crying
- Aggressive Behavior: anger, hostility, blowups or temper
- Extreme Compliance: wanting to please everyone
- Nervous Habits: stuttering, nail biting, tics
- More Illness: headaches, stomachaches
- Extremes of Clothing: attention getting action
- Dull, Dazed Look: tendency to daydream, be far away
What Can Trigger Stress in a Child?
- Fear of punishment from a teacher
- Worry about getting along with peers
- Worry about school work
- Fear of being chosen last on a team
- Fear of being different from others
- Worrying about changing bodies (ages 10-12)
- Move/Changing Schools
- Economic Issues at Home
- Family Conflict
- Illness in the Home
Tips to Reduce Stress
Simple Yoga Stretch: The following physical activity can be used for releasing muscle tension triggered as a response to stress.
- Stand relaxed, arms hanging at sides and feet about one foot apart.
- Tilt head back and hold for five seconds
- Roll head forward and hold for five seconds.
- Curl chest and stomach forward as you bend at the waist; arms dangling for five seconds.
- Inhale slowly through mouth as you straighten up. Raise arms overhead; drop arms slowly to sides as you exhale slowly though your mouth.
Controlled Breathing: The following is activity can be used for releasing muscle tension triggered as a response to stress.
- Lie down with your back flat on the floor; place a book or large magazine on your stomach.
- Bend your knees and close your eyes.
- Push your stomach up 2–3 inches and hold for five seconds, then exhale. Repeat several times. Each time you exhale, say “I am relaxed.” Avoid lifting your chest.