In my next life I would like to be a psychodermatologist and research how our mood affects our skin. This is because I have only recently and in hindsight noticed the impact of stress on my three year old’s eczema.
When you have two children with eczema, being on high alert for anything which triggers a flare up is part of everyday living, and now I have added stress to my list of triggers.
What happens to the skin during stressful times?
During stressful times the skin becomes more sensitive and its natural inflammation increases to protect the skin from danger. So, if you have eczema any increase in inflammation will make it worse.
Signs of a stressed toddler
Like us, any change in your toddler’s normal behaviour may be a sign of stress. Some of these are:
- change in sleep habits
- change in eating habits
- changes in anger or sadness
- being more clingy or withdrawn
- having an anxious cough
- changes in bowel habits
These signs don’t always mean your toddler is stressed. If any behaviour worries you please speak to your doctor.
What causes stress for toddlers?
Looking back on my eldest toddler’s eczema flare ups they got worse when he started daycare.
This could have caused stress resulting from separation anxiety. Longer periods of separation from their primary caregiver can make toddlers feel anxious, uncertain and nervous, all of which can cause stress. Find out ways to ease separation anxiety here.
Really busy schedules
Toddlers live in the moment and planning too many activities takes away from the time they need for creative play. Like us, without downtime toddlers can become tired, stressed and uncooperative.
Sync your family calendar with your partner so outings aren’t over-scheduled.
Toilet training can become a stressful time for both toddlers and parents. If you find when you start the process of toilet training it becomes more of a disciplinary exercise then reassess and maybe start the process again in six weeks time. Pop over here for some good tips on toilet training.
3 ways to help your toddler’s stress:
1) Make sure they get enough sleep
Managing your toddler’s eczema will also help them to sleep better because they won’t be needing to scratch during the night.
It is also important your toddler isn’t kept too warm. I use only cotton blankets, never a doona or quilt, layering them if the night is very chilly.
2) Exercise exercise exercise
Exercise improves mental and physical health at any age. Every day we fit in some outdoor play. My toddlers ride their scooters to and from the park and we never go anywhere without a ball to throw around.
3) Do more of what your toddler enjoys doing
I have lost count of how many times we have designed a new track for Thomas and his Friends to explore or how many times I have raced matchbox cars in the hallway. These activities bring stress levels down for my toddler so the more of it the better.
Do you have a child with eczema, do you find that stress makes their eczema worse? Please SHARE in the comments below.