Positive Parenting: Signs of pandemic stress in kids

Connecticut Families

The COVID-19 crisis has everyone on edge – even kids. But how your children respond to stress might be different than you expect.

Now, a new study shows children and teens may show physical symptoms when they’re stressed. Researchers in Norway studied nearly 5,000 students between ages 11 and 15.

They found kids who reported higher levels of school-related stress were more likely to experience weekly headaches, stomach pain, backaches, or dizziness. Experts say stress can cause physical changes in their bodies that lead to physical symptoms.

Here’s what to watch out for: A lack of emotion or potty regression are common stress indicators in toddlers. Trouble sleeping can signal anxiety. Canker sores are also stress-related. And, some kids complain about stomach or leg pain.

The CDC says to take breaks from news coverage, get regular exercise, consume a healthy diet, and try meditation to relax.

In this study, kids and teens who said they had lower levels of support from classmates or teachers also reported more physical complaints. If you’re worried your child is having difficulty managing their stress, contact a mental health professional.

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