The coronavirus pandemic is causing stress, and kids are feeling it, too.
While some children are able to talk about their concerns, research finds that parents also need to watch out for physical signs of stress from their kids.
Researchers in Norway studied nearly 5,000 students between ages 11 and 15. They found those who reported higher levels of school-related stress were more likely to experience weekly headaches, stomach pain, backaches, or dizziness.
That stress can continue into the summer with normal routines broken and major uncertainties about what to expect in the fall.
The signs of stress can vary by age.
In toddlers, a lack of emotion or toilet training regression are signs of stress or anxiety.
Older kids may have trouble sleeping, canker sores, headaches or complain about stomach or leg pain. Children may also be more clingy, withdrawn, angry or agitated.
Experts say that even in these summer months it is important to have some kind of routine for kids, even if the routines are looser. The kids benefit from knowing at least what they can expect each day.
Regular exercise outdoors as a family is also helpful.
Experts say you have to be honest about concerns about school and how classes will return in the fall. It’s important to stay open. And remember, a child’s worries about school may not be the same worries that their parents have.