Signs of Prolonged Stress:

  1. Children may have headaches, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, or other mental fatigue

  2. Children might be nervous, easily startled, or have a rapid heartbeat

  3. Children may sleep too much or too little

  4. Children may experience aches and pains, muscle tensions, illness, digestive problems, or nausea

  5. Children may have problems with self-regulation (ex. anger outbursts or reckless behavior). Includes irritability, edginess, or agitation

  6. Children may struggle to describe feelings, communicate what they want, or have difficulty establishing social boundaries

  7. Children may be anxious, distrust others, expect maltreatment, be depressed or isolate themselves

  8. Children may re-experience the stress (ex. nightmares, flashbacks, and disturbing thoughts)


Any of the signs above can impact a child’s ability to behave, learn, or heal. Children in kinship care experience a lot of feelings of uncertainty. They need to be reassured that they will be safe, stable, and taken care of in their new environment. Be honest with your grandchildren and encourage them to ask questions and talk through their feelings. By allowing a child to connect the dots between their thoughts, feelings, and actions overtime they can learn how to develop appropriate behaviors and responses to future situations.