Stress in Young Children
All parents feel stress, and so do little ones. Toddler tantrums or fussiness in babies can seem like misbehavior, but they’re very often the result of a child dealing with more stress than they can handle. In this episode of FTF’s pArentZ pod, we talk about stress in young children with Susan Hopkins, an expert in self-regulation, and about how parents can recognize the signs of excessive stress in young children and help their little ones through the big emotions that come with it. We’ll also talk about how important it is for parents to regulate their own stress levels.
Dr. Susan Hopkins is the executive director of The MEHRIT Centre, an educational organization based in Canada. She was also a featured speaker at the 2018 First Things First Early Childhood Summit.
In this episode:
- Some stress is normal, but excessive stress can negatively affect behavior, learning, mood and long-term child development.
- Be a stress detective to recognize the signs of a stress response in your child.
- Common sources of stress include their sleep, nutrition or even the demands of being around other kids at child care. Less obvious sources of stress can be things like allergies. All make demands on your child’s energy.
- The idea that you can spoil a baby is a myth.
- Try to soothe and calm your child through the strong emotions that come with too much stress; your voice, your words, your hugs can help, but each child’s needs are different.
- Your own reaction to your child’s stress can either escalate the situation or calm it. Remember that “they’re not trying to drive you crazy.” And also remember that no parent is perfect, but when you recognize your own reactions to stressful moments, you may be able to take a moment to calm yourself and be more available to your child’s needs.
Now you can listen and subscribe to FTF’s pArentZ pod on Apple Podcasts or Google Play.