Kids are always learning and experiencing new things, which sometimes can be stressful for them. They may hide their feelings, then complain of stomachaches, headaches or flu like symptoms. They might wet the bed again, cry a lot or exhibit clingy behavior.
Other possible signs of stress include anger, unusual quietness or sudden poor grades. These behavior changes may show a child is unable to handle what’s happening.
Building a strong family unit and setting a good example for your kids are the first steps in preventing and managing stress. If your children see how you handle what happens each day, they will take cues from you for their own behavior. You can start by eating healthfully and encouraging healthy eating habits. This makes it easier for kids to have the energy to handle things, and helps keep them healthy so illness isn’t masking any symptoms of stress.
Exercise — a good stress reliever — gives kids a chance to unwind after a busy day. Go out and play for 20 to 30 minutes before meals or settling in for homework, and you might also get a chance to talk about what’s going on in your child’s life.
Set clear rules, and be consistent in discipline. Kids get confused if there are different rules or guidelines each day.
Allow your kids to make mistakes, and help them learn from and not repeat them. Saying “I goofed” and showing kids how to make it right again sets a good example and takes the pressure off to be perfect, which they may feel once they’re back to school.
Listening is another good way to find out what’s happening with your kids. Asking “How do you feel about that?” may help get them to talk and resolve issues.