How to identify stress in children with Dr Margaret DeJong and Dr Jeyda Ibrahim-Ozlu
What does stress look like in a child?
- A change in behaviour (withdrawn, irritable, sad, angry, wetting bed)
- A change in sleep pattern (trouble falling asleep, nightmares, waking up often)
- Signs of anxiety (fearful, clingy, excessive worrying, nervous habits)
- Panic attacks (extreme terror, shallow breathing, shaking, chest pain, dizziness)
- Signs of low mood (not enjoying usual activities or friends, reluctance to go to school, crying, comfort eating or eating less, self-harming behaviour, irritability, trouble concentrating)
- Aches and pains (tummy ache, headache)
What causes stress in children?
- Difficulties in friendships
- Tensions at home (arguing, parental illness, financial stresses)
- Grief/significant loss (a pet or family member or friend)
- A traumatic event
- Stress at school (exams, learning difficulties)
- Big life events or transitions (divorce, changing school or starting secondary school, moving)
- Bullying (physical, verbal, through social media)
- Physical health problems
Dr Margaret DeJong and Dr Jeyda Ibrahim-Ozlu have identified 7 top tips parents can implement into their daily lives to ensure their children do not become stressed.
- Talk to your child. (Ask how they are. Show understanding and offer comfort. Encourage them to talk but don’t force it.)
- Talk to school (Have they noticed a change? Are they concerned? What can they do to support?)
- If behaviour has become difficult, praise and reward positive behaviour and ignore undesirable behaviour if possible.
- If sleep is a problem, make sure a bedtime routine is well established and remove all technology/phones/computers for an hour before bedtime.
- Try and keep calm around your child and do not show your own anxiety and stress
- Encourage your child to relax and do things they enjoy. Try and find time for relaxed family gatherings.
- If difficulties continue or worsen seek professional advice. Speak to your doctor.
Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
This form is the first step in the process to refer a child to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Please complete the form below, providing as much information as you can. Please note that to progress with a referral, we require a medical report for the patient. This can be submitted by the parents rather than directly from the child’s doctor.
What happens next?
After you complete and submit the form, one of our team will contact you within two UK working days.