How to Identify Stress in a Preschooler

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As adults, we are familiar with stress because we face it on several occasions. However, do you know that children can be stressed too? Surprising, right? After all, they are just kids with no bills to pay, what would they have to stress about, right? This is what most people think when you bring up the topic of stress in preschoolers.

The harsh reality is that toddlers experience stress because physical, cognitive and emotional growth characterizes that stage of development. Preschoolers are sensitive to their environment which makes them susceptible to stress. It is important to know when your child is stressed because they cannot talk properly at this age. These are the signs you should look out for to know if your preschooler is stressed.

Increased Aggression

Some kids become overly aggressive when dealing with stress. The aggression can be either physical or verbal or both. This is where you can find a child hitting and biting other children or adults or screaming and calling them names. You may also notice that the child cannot finish activities that need patience.

Increased Tantrums

Sometimes when preschoolers are stressed, they give out negative energy. Therefore, a child can throw a lot of temper tantrums, continuously engage in acts of disobedience and even run away from you when you call him or her.


Many children have nightmares when they are stressed. You will notice the nightmares especially if a child has gone through something stressful or traumatic. You should be concerned about your child having nightmares if they used to sleep throughout the night then suddenly they keep waking up because of nightmares.

Physical Ailments

Kids get sick, and this includes preschoolers. However, if a child keeps having headaches or stomachaches, then it may be a sign of stress. Stress causes the body not to function properly, and this includes kids’ bodies too.

Kids Stop Bedwetting

If your child who had stopped bedwetting long time ago suddenly picks up the habit again, it may be because he or she is stressed. According to research, preschoolers who are stressed experience a change in their bowel movements.

Frequently Engaging in Bad Habits

When a child is stressed, he or she can frequently rely on a particular habit which soothes them. For example, a preschooler can excessively suck their thumb or chew their hair. If you notice a child doing this excessively then, they may be dealing with stress.

Every child is different and therefore, each child displays distinct signs of stress. You need to know these various signs of stress because a child may display one sign and another child displays a different sign. However, you need to observe your child to notice any unusual behavior.

If you see a couple of the signs mentioned here, then you may need to sit down with your child and find out what’s going on with them so you can identify their source of stress and help them overcome it.

Find more information on parenting and child care from CornerStone Academy Daycare.

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