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Food, sleep and physical symptoms

There are various signs to look out for regarding a child’s wellbeing, especially after a separation. Perhaps the child is having difficulty sleeping or has lost their appetite. There are many things you can do to show extra support for your child, like cooking their favorite meal for dinner or letting them come over in the middle of the night. It’s also good to talk to your coparent. Children often feel extra secure when their parents can communicate with each other.

A summary of this article below.

Help your child understand its body and feelings

Your physical and mental health are closely connected. Worry or stress can be expressed through pain, loss of appetite or difficulty sleeping. They are still in a learning process of understanding themselves and being able to use their emotions as messengers of what’s going on. It can be comforting to help them understand that the headache may be related to worry after the divorce or stress over school.

How you can help your child

Massaging can be a way to get closer to someone who has tense shoulders, a stomach ache, or a headache. It’s important to remember that the pain is real, regardless of whether it is physical or psychological in origin. Having a bedside chat or offering a cup of tea in the middle of the night can help those having difficulty sleeping. In treating adult sleep problems, it involves writing down what worries them and making lists of what’s stressing them out. Having a chat at bedtime or a cup of tea in the evening can serve the same function for children. Instead of the worries whirling around in their head, you as a parent can help carry the burden. Perhaps the one who has been sleeping in their own bed for a while needs to sleep with their parent again. It can also help to take away from what is stressing them and give the life structure so it feels more predictable and understandable.

Can you and your coparent help each other?

If you have a reasonable atmosphere of dialogue within your parenting team, you can discuss how to best support and help your child. A coordinated approach to parenting can increase your child’s sense of security.


  • Body and emotions have a close relationship. Headaches, stomach aches and sleep problems are signs of stress and poor physical and/or mental well-being.
  • Spend time with your child and be aware that your child may need extra care in different ways in the future. Have patience.
  • Talk to your coparent and support your child in both homes. It warms the child’s heart to know that the parents can talk and cooperate even though they are no longer a couple.

Malin Bergström
Child psychologist