Ontario public health measures
COVID-19 Info | Information sur la COVID-19 | COVID-19 Vaccine Vaccine Receipt | COVID-19 Self-Assessment

Middlesex-London Health Unit

Inner Nav

Stress - Infant and Child Mental Health

Kids feel stress, too. Stress is a normal part of everyone’s life including children.


There are temporary stressors, like:

  • disappointment from not getting what we want
  • meeting new people
  • pressure to pass a test

Short periods of stress teach us how to cope with stress later in life.

More serious stressors

There are also more serious stressors that can result in chronic stress. This kind of stress can be caused by:

  • a loss in the family
  • mental or physical illness
  • separation
  • neglect
  • conflict or abuse.1

It is important to be aware of stress and to find support.

Too much stress:

  • Makes it harder for children to get along with others
  • Gets in the way of children being able to focus, think and ultimately learn
  • Effects children's physical, emotional and mental health1
  • In the absence of a caring adult to support a child through stress, the body can go into a constant state of stress. Chronic stress can disrupt the development of the brain and lead to problems with learning, memory, and emotional regulation. As a result, the child will be at greater risk for physical and mental illness.2

Warm, caring adults can have a very positive impact on a child who is dealing with stress.1

  • Help your child by providing a supportive, stable, loving, environment
  • Teach your child healthy coping skills
  • Be sensitive to your child’s emotions and always respond in a caring, sensitive way when they are emotionally upset (i.e. scared), hurt or ill.
  • Help your child create a list of people they can talk to when they are upset (family, friends, teacher, healthcare provider).
  • Talk to a professional about how you can help
Young boy with stress


Health Connection

For more information, call Health Connection to speak with a Public Health Nurse.

  • Monday - Friday 
    8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • 519-663-5317 x2280
Date of creation: April 18, 2017
Last modified on: April 26, 2018


1U.S Department of Health And Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan. Retrieved from