An adult can handle stress in lots of ways, but that’s not the case for your little one. In most of the cases, they don’t know what’s bothering them. The situation gets worse when this continues for a long time.
This is where you need to play as a behavioral detective.
Toddlers can get upset due to lots of reasons like any sudden changes in their used to live or if any upsetting events happen recently in your family. Any sudden death of the family pet or the death of the toddler’s favorite grandparent can trigger the stress.
A stressed toddler will find it difficult to have sound sleep in her crib and the normal physical and mental growth will hamper greatly.
Common Signs of Stress in Toddlers
In this article, I have discussed some common signs that indicate whether your toddler is stressed or not. Once you can identify, you can talk to her and take steps to help her get rid of stress. Notice whether any of the following signs are available in your toddler:
- Suffering From Fears & Phobias: I have put this one at the top of the list because this is the most obvious signs that will tell you whether your toddler is going through stress or not. Even for the small reason, your toddler will become more fearful than average toddlers. Every toddler fears the bugs, monsters under the bed, shadows etc. But a toddler with stress will exhibit more fear when they encounter them.
- Extra Concerned With Routine: A simple change to your toddler’s routine will make her anxious if she is suffering from stress. Like adults, toddlers tend to stick to their routines. But unlike other average toddlers, a stressful toddler will react anxiously in such changes. It’s more like they won’t survive to any sudden changes to their daily routine.
- Hate Loud Noises: It’s a clear sign of stress when your toddler become startled by sounds like toilet flush, vacuum, garbage disposal etc. The reason behind this is that any stressful toddler generally has high lightened sensitivities. Any loud noise will make your toddler nervous.
- Over Sensitivity to Clothes: Dresses that seem restricting on the body like jeans will make your stressful toddler very uncomfortable. Likes noises, stressful toddlers are also sensitive to clothes as well. Stressful toddler tends to hate seams on socks or tags on their clothes.
- Highly Concerned About Dirty Hands: If your toddler is suffering from stress, she will get overly concerned with her hands getting dirty. Stressed toddlers try to avoid messy plays always. If their hands get overly dirty, they may have a small meltdown and cleaning their hands will get to the next level.
- Highly Ritualistic: Stressed toddlers take their routines to the ritual level. They always want to have things in certain and predictable ways. They want their foods to be served as per their routines. They want their bed organized with stuffed toys and baby mobiles just like they are used to.
- Routine Eating: As I said above, a stressful toddler does not try something new. They always tend to stick to the routine even if it is the case of food. The toddler usually has an issue with foods but the case will be extreme if she is in stress. Some stressful toddlers don’t like to eat at all or eat too much as a result of the stress.
- Does Not Get Familiar With Strangers: Not just the toddlers, anyone with stress will find it difficult to make new friends easily. They don’t easily mix with strangers. Strangers make them uncomfortable. They get easily overwhelmed if they find themselves in a crowd or in any party. Do you see this in your toddler?
- Over Shyness: Stressful toddler won’t mingle with strange people easily. They will be shy even to play with groups. This sort of shyness clearly indicates stress in toddlers.
- Take Clinginess To The Next Level: That’s a common type of stress sign in toddlers. Whenever you leave her for work, she will start crying. It mainly happens because of the fact that she is having trouble adapting to any change. Extreme clinginess clearly dictates that your toddler has a stress problem. So, whenever you leave her to the babysitter, try to play with her before you leave to make the transition easy for her.
- Developing New Bad Habits: Nail-biting and skin-scratching are common in toddlers who are in stress. They do so to soothe themselves. Toddlers are lack of self-control, so you should not scold or insist to stop it. It won’t help and can cause further damage. Rather calmly try to understand what’s bothering her or what’s causing the anxiety. Identifying such activities ASAP will help your toddler to get help.
- Trouble Having Sound Sleep: Toddlers suffering from colds or teething pain find it difficult having sound sleep at night. Also, there could be several other reasons like bed wetting or sleep talking responsibly for sleep issues. Apart from those cases, if you notice your toddler his having a hard time sleeping her toddler bed at night all of a sudden, she is most probably suffering from stress.
- Physical Symptoms: When the headaches, backache or tummy aches of your toddler seem abnormal to you, it can indicate the stress as well. When your toddler says she is having such aches before going to school but no such school during the weekend, it indicates stress.
- Hyperactive Behavior: If you notice sudden temper tantrums in your toddler, this indicates stress. Stressed toddlers release their stress abruptly. Hyperactive toddlers mean stressed toddlers.
- Repeated Bed Wetting: Bed wetting is more or less common in most toddlers. But it can also indicate stress as well if this happens more frequently. Extensive tension and rush can make the toddler frustrated and this problem will become more common.
Many parents overlook the fact that the toddler can get stressed. The reason maybe they don’t look at their toddler more closely. Besides, it’s not so easy to detect, even the professional mental health professional may overlook it.
Early detection of toddler stress is very crucial for the natural growth of your toddler. Once you can detect it, talk to any professional mental health professional for further courses of action.