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What can cause stress in young children?

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Quick Answer

Starting at a new school, moving, separation from family members and worrying about things such as schoolwork and friendships can cause stress in young children, notes WebMD. Children may experience stress from their own experiences as well as that of their loved ones.

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Full Answer

Young children who are toddlers or of preschool age may suffer from symptoms of stress such as uncontrollable crying, sleeping problems such as nightmares, fear of being left alone, trembling due to fear and regression toward infantile behaviors, as WebMD indicates. Once young children enter elementary school, they may exhibit other symptoms of stress, such as the need to urinate frequently, no longer caring about school or their friends, complaining about stomach or headaches, wetting the bed, and lack of appetite. Parents and other caregivers can reduce stress in children by creating low-stress environments and helping children develop coping skills.

Reassuring children by acknowledging their feelings and showing empathy helps reduce their stress, according to WebMD. While parents and other caregivers should allow children to work out problems on their own when appropriate, they also need to be available to help them. Identifying activities that children enjoy, talking to them openly about the causes of their stress and allowing them some control over family choices may also help reduce stress in small children.

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