Children’s mental health – signs of stress in children

It can be difficult for everyone to open up about their emotions. However, most adults are encouraged to express their emotions and talk about the stresses in their lives. This is especially important for children, who may struggle to cope with their emotions. This is due to a lack of familiarity with complex emotions, which can result in overstimulation and worry.  

To assist you in supporting your pupils, we have compiled some useful information and stress-relief tips, as well as signs of stress in children to look out for.  


Avoiding others 

Being alone is a way some pupils try to cope with stress. Stressed out children often become withdrawn from school clubs and social activities. Pay attention to how your pupil is interacting with others. Your child may start spending time alone, staying inside for long periods of time or during playtime, or stopping hanging out with friends. If you see this happening, then ensure you have a space in your classroom where they feel safe and calm, like a sensory corner. 


Physical effects 

Physical effects of stress may include headaches, frequent stomach aches, nightmares, and even bedwetting. You may also notice your child is getting sick or catching infections more often than usual. When children are stressed or anxious, their bodies release the hormone cortisol into the blood. This can trigger abdominal cramps and headaches. So, look out for these in your pupils, and if you notice it happening more often than normal, be sure to take note and offer help. 


Emotional outbursts or increased irritability 

Stress leads to stronger feelings of anger and irritability. Your children may have emotional outbursts that are inconsistent with their previous behaviour or the current situation. One sign of stress is also the inability to sit still. Children may start fidgeting—such as shaking his or her leg when sitting, tapping his or her foot, or picking up a habit like picking at his or her nails. This is often a way to try to relieve some of the pent-up energy stress can bring. To keep your pupils and children calm, try our sensory calming kit. Or, try these mindfulness activities to help them with their emotions. 


Lack of enjoyment about school 

One of the tell-tale signs of stress in kids and adolescents is a loss of interest or enjoyment in school. A heavy workload and trying to keep up with other activities can make school a big stressor, causing your child to withdraw from class participation or show decreased motivation.



If a child is stressed, there are several things you can do to help him or her deal with school stressors. If your pupil appears to be overcommitted to activities, assist them in developing a time management strategy. This ensures that school remains a priority while also balancing extracurricular and social activities. 

If your child is having difficulty keeping up with schoolwork, tutoring can help build better skills and comprehension while reducing the stress that homework and test-taking bring. 

Finally, spend time with your child and encourage discussions about their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes just talking about it can help to lighten a child’s load! 


For more information and tips on how to tackle these signs and help children with stress, check out our blog here. 

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