Children feel stress just the same as adults do, the worst part for children is that they don’t have the language skills or adaptation skills to cope with these incidents. As adults we know that finding a friend or therapist willing to lend an ear can help us, we know how to find resolutions to these situations no matter how long it may take. Children don’t have these skills yet and hold everything inside. This happens every day even if you have a close relationship with your children; most fear disappointing their loved ones and sometimes won’t communicate during stressful times.
This is absolutely OK! Make sure that you still talk and explain that you know they may not be able to tell you exactly how they feel, but open your arms for them because that physical contact does more than any word can do at a young age.
Many times stress can come in different forms for children too, some things we would consider minor are extreme for their minds to comprehend. Often I hear other teachers and parents tell a young child to use their words instead of hit, bite, yell etc…this makes no sense when they have limited verbal communication. Observation is significant in guiding children in the right direction. You want to be prepared for what your child is going through in order to manage your own stress properly.
Give gentle reminders through reading stories together that may have similar story lines, take a walk together, go to the shore, whatever it is that they want to do, go and just listen. Show them you respect them by listening without criticism and they will be more apt to open up to you during a stressful time. Make sure you’re able to manage your own stress too since they are often inclined to tense of from that as well.