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  • being more clingy or withdrawn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?

Separation anxiety

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

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.

 Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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  • I suffered from eczema as a child but it cleared up when i left home at age 18. I then discovered that it was the washing powder that my Mum used that caused my problems.


  • I never realised there was a link between eczema and stress, thanks for the article.


  • Something new I have come across recently. If you have a child with eczema, take them to the beach for a swim. The improvement in their skin will amaze you


  • My soon to be four year old has had a terrible flare up on his face with the recent change of season. That said I have also noticed a change in his mood (always hungry and sooky due to growth spurt and waking too early due to early sun rise). I would never have thought the two would be related. Thanks for enlightening me!


  • That is interesting! Thanks for sharing this!


  • Yes I have noticed that. If I see the eczema worsening, I start looking for what could get stressing him out. It’s usually there


  • so glad you find these tips useful :)


  • My 3yo has it very bad at the moment an I do get it as well I’m a big believer in thAt the way u feel is shown though ur skin as I do find if I’m stressed its flared up but it I’m happy an normal it’s great, but as I find it hard not to stress mine always seems to be bad.. An ad for my daughter I’m not sure yet.

    • It’s so true that often what we are going through internally is expressed through our skin. I hope your daughter escapes eczema. Take care, Julia


  • yes there aren’t a whole lot of baby safe treatments so these tips are great


  • Good tips, they are easy steps to incorporate.


  • It didn’t even occur to me that eczema out be mood related. Thanks for the prompt. I will investigate the further.

    • Hi Deb – it didn’t occur to me at first either… my little boy turns four next month and I’m still learning so much about his eczema. Take care, Julia.


  • Thank you for the helpful tips.


  • Julia thank you. There’s a history of eczema in my family and it’s really made my think to keep a diary of any flair ups my little one has.
    Great to see that there are you’ve gone to the effort of creating natural product too, there’s a real shortage of them out there. I’ll be swinging by your website to check them out.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Keeping a diary of any flare-ups is such a good idea – that way you will be able to make connections with any eczema triggers. Thanks also for the encouragement. Wishing you well. Julia


  • Such good ideas. Thanks for the article.


  • Not my toddler but myself when I was younger and stress definitely makes it worse


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