For the Littles

Stress can affect children’s behaviour. Here’s what to look out for

Coping with stress is difficult, even for adults. But with kids, it can also affect their behaviour. Here are a few signs to look out for.

Being a child (and a parent for that matter) during an international healthy pandemic is tough. Everything is uncertain. And with every new wave come a completely new way of life.

“Often parents explain tantrums as a child being naughty, or those teenage mood swings. However, just as stress can negatively impact adults, the effects of stress on children can cause moodiness, emotional swings and acting out,” explains Rashmita Davechand, brand manager for Stress-Away Tibb Health Sciences.

Children, especially younger ones, do not know how to handle their emotions and when they are stressed behavioural and habitual changes can be indicators for parents to step in.

Here are a few indicators to look out for:

  • Short term behavioural changes such as mood swings, acting out and changes in sleep patterns can occur, while physical effects such as headaches and stomach aches are also indicators. 
  • They can have trouble concentrating in school, or even withdraw themselves completely from social interaction.
  • Younger children can revert back to thumb sucking and hair twirling.
  • Older children can start bullying behaviour, lying and taking a stand against authority.
  • A child will over-react to small problems when they become stressed.

The onset of COVID-19 brought on even more stress to children. Not being able to focus on schoolwork, hand in assignments, receive work due to lack of internet connection and keep up with their classmates was one of the biggest stressors that children are facing.

Here are a few stress-relieving options to try:

  1. Children don’t often understand the emotions they are experiencing and how to express what is wrong and how they are feeling to their parents. Being able to identify it and give it a name shows your child that you understand and will also allow them to be able to identify that emotion the next time they feel that way.
  2. Listen to your child patiently and calmy when they are acting out, without interrupting and judging. Give them the opportunity to voice their frustrations instead of feeling alone. React positively to what they tell you and show constant support. Sometimes being able to talk to someone about how they are feeling is all that they need to move on.
  3. Think of ways, together with your child, how they can deal with these feelings. If there is one situation that is causing their stress, talk about how to handle it, and get rid of their negative feelings. Encourage your child to be part of the brainstorming process and offer be support and constructive commentary on their ideas. If there is a way to limit situations that your child finds stressful, try and do so.
  4. Just be there. Knowing that they have the support and strength of a parent to turn to helps children cope better.

“Children often choose not to speak to a parent when they are feeling stressed, thinking that they can cope on their own.  This is common with older children who are more reluctant to seek out a parent to talk to,” explains Rashmita.

So what to do?

Other options such as proper rest with good nutrition and a stress support supplement can help with managing your child’s stress. Tibb Stress-Away is available in syrup form suitable for children and can be given to children as young as six months. Tibb Stress-Away syrup can manage stress, restore calmness and help with sleeping patterns through its multi-herbal formulation. 

Tibb Stress-Away syrup is available for R156.95 (100ml) from tibbherbals.com. It is also available from Dis-Chem, Wellness Warehouse and selected pharmacies.

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