1 in 4 toddlers show signs of stress

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 26 May 2014

I’m Tom Meyers Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters. Where I take a closer look at the S word that has become one of the biggest challenges in our modern-day society: Stress.

Stress doesn’t know age it effects everyone even toddlers do not escape it. A recent study demonstrated that 28% yes 1 in 4 toddlers shows signs of stress. In primary school this number goes up to 68% and in secondary school 91%. Let me repeat that 91%.

No wonder that depression has become the top global cause of illness and disability in adolescents as stress and depression are very much linked.

The signs of stress in toddlers and children manifest themselves in stomach pain, headaches, nervousness, fatigue, depressed mood and eating disorders.

Before I like to shed insights in the question why toddlers and children suffer from stress lets look at the possible consequences from a biological perspective, when stress in the generation of the future, isn’t taken seriously.

As stress not only affects digestion, muscular tensions and headaches but it also changes brain structure and function, yes it alters neurological structures that result in learning difficulties and can have an impact on various developmental stages children have to go through, can alter.

Did you know that the brain isn’t fully grown until you’re 25!!! Stress due to the interaction of cortisol alters vascularisation in that part of the brain that is last in line of development, the prefrontal cortex so if that part of the brain’s nutrition and energy and oxygen supply is altered what do you think happens yes it doesn’t develop as well… resulting in well seems that depression is one of them.

The question is why? Why do toddlers and children today suffer from stress?

Parents… when parents are stressed, short-tempered or agitated it rubs of unto the children.

Another factor is that kids don’t have any down time anymore with school, extra classes, music lessons, sport clubs etc to attend to the needed time to rest is reduced to a minimum. To be bored has become taboo. Children also sleep less than before.

I’m also always amazed that when parents call me to ask for a consultation for their kid that sometimes it can only take place 2 or 3 weeks later because on the suggested times the kid has this or that activity to go to and I’m usually very flexible. That list seems never-ending and secondly what even is more shocking to me is that the activities take priority then taking care of their health. If parents call then there is a health issue but no they will still make sure that non of the extra curricular activities are missed before they come with their child for treatment.

There are many more reasons why stress is making children sick but I just like to point out one more today as personally I think that the type of computer games children play have also a big impact. When I visit families with children and see them play computer games all these games seem so violent and aggressive… and the children seem in a constant hyper vigilant state. If you could see right through them you would see that their heart rate and blood pressure is constantly raised in that time not to speak of the constant tension in their muscles. The body isn’t made for this hour upon hour of tension and leave a detrimental impact on their biology.

It’s time for action it’s time for taking a new look at the health and wellbeing of our children, our future generation.

I’m Tom Meyers Osteopath and Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to your health and wellbeing.

Would you like to know more about my work or Understanding & Managing Stress presentations then go to tommeyers.be

Article’s figures based on:

http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/35/Seks-Relaties/article/detail/1886826/2014/05/15/1-op-4-kleuters-heeft-al-stress.dhtml

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