Like adults, children experience stress too. Whether it is related to their studies or relationships, stress experienced by children leads to negative outcomes. Parents may be unaware of burnout in their children because the young do not always know how to verbalise their feelings.
However, as a parent, you can spot stress building up in your child. Here are some possible signs of burnout:
#1 Changes in behaviour
Children who are experiencing stress tend to become more irritable, moody and restless. They may also withdraw themselves from their favourite activities. Children may also not be their usual selves when they are interacting with people, either friends or family members. For young children, they might become more clingy to their parents as they seek security and assurance.
#2 Excessive trips to the doctor’s
Stress can also manifest in physical symptoms in children. Such symptoms can include stomach pains and headaches. Stress is usually the cause when the frequency of these symptoms increases near tests or exam periods.
#3 Having a negative mindset
Children may become very critical of themselves, chastising themselves excessively for not being “good enough”. When they are stressed up, they may also start saying negative things about people around them or the world.
#4 Worrying excessively
Some children might become become very preoccupied with deadlines and exam dates, worrying out that they might not study hard enough or have not enough time to study even though they have been buried in their books for the past week. This routine expression of worries might indicate that their stress level is building up.
#5 Change in eating habits
There are two extreme cases for change in eating habits when children are stressed out. Some children may experience an increase in appetite when they are experiencing stress because they see eating as a way of relieving stress. On the other hand, some children may lose their appetite during stress periods as their minds are preoccupied with deadlines and schoolwork. Observe the change in your children’s eating habits to see if they are experiencing burnout.
#6 Changes in sleeping habits
Some children may experience insomnia as they cannot stop worrying about matters that are causing them stress. This will cause difficulties in falling asleep at night thus becoming extremely lethargic the next day. At the other end of the spectrum, some children may require more sleep than usual. This may be due to fatigue arising from daily tasks that are stressing them out.
A burnout should be identified early to prevent further negative effects due to increased stress levels. Communicate and talk to your child to render the support and give the assurance that they need. We hope this article has been helpful in identifying the early signs!