During a typically frantic morning at the breakfast table, Maria Pavlou was listening to her daughter Emily tell her younger sister Christina about how she would get to ride the school bus next year when she went to primary school. Christina abruptly stopped Emily from talking and said, "OK, but I'm worried". Taken aback by her five-year-old daughter's grown-up statement, Maria asked her what she was worried about. Christina answered very matter-of-factly, "I will have too much work and I'm scared of the older children that will be on the school bus."

While not all children are as vocal or articulate about what's worrying them, you will find that most youngsters have niggling concerns. In addition to minor aggravations like running late and sitting next to someone they don't like in class, kids have to cope with major life events, just like adults do. These big events can bring about stress if the child doesn't feel he has the resources to cope with the situation. The Mind/Body Medical Institute identified the top ten sources of stress for children, and we've asked the experts for tips on how you can help your child deal with them.

1. Parents with problems

Why is this stressful?

As a parent, you are your child's source of stability. If you begin to experience problems, such as a chronic illness, this could destabilise your child. "Children need parents to be predictable," explains Tamar Chansky, author of Freeing Your Child From Negative Thinking. "Often when parents have problems, life rhythms change. Routines are disrupted and while that is stressful in itself, children also start to wonder if things will ever get back to normal"

What you can do to help?

In order to try and minimise the effect your problems may have on your children, it's advised that you explain to them how they aren't to blame, and that you will always love and be there for them regardless of what you're going through. "Parents can even enlist their kids to help out with general chores more often if the problems are making it difficult to get things done," says Chansky.

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

This could be a good opportunity to teach and model resilience for kids. "Children can see how parents aren't defeated by their problems, but can instead figure out over time how to address them and overcome them," says Chansky.

Read more: 'The invisible stress of being Mum'

2. Fighting with a friend or a sibling

Why is this stressful?

Fighting with loved ones is a natural part of growing up, however, these conflicts can result in feelings of pain, hurt, sadness, rejection, confusion and loss, making this a stressful experience for your child. "These feelings are especially stressful when children don't know how to deal with stress or how to navigate relationship problems," says Dr Saliha Afridi, clinical psychologist at The LightHouse Arabia. "It can also be stressful when children have parents who always try to protect them, rather than be objective about when their own child has been wrong. As a result, the child continues to make mistakes in relationships instead of learning from them."

What you can do to help?

Dr Afridi recommends that parents provide a space for their children to come and discuss their problems. She also recommends that instead of trying to solve the problem for your child, you should help him or her brainstorm ways to manage or rectify the situation. "This also means that parents should trust their child if she makes a decision to end a friendship," she explains.

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

While it's natural for parents to feel like they should protect their children from experiencing problems in their relationships, Dr Afridi says that a more valuable lesson can be learnt when parents become consultants, coaches and cheerleaders for their children. "Children can learn to deal with conflict, manage difficult relationships and cooperate with family members that you cannot break away from," she explains.

Read more: 'How to help your shy child make friends'

3. Taking a test

Why is this stressful?

Test anxiety is common among children. According to Dr George Everly, author of The Resilient Child, some of this anxiety comes from parents, schools, peers and from the child's expectations. "The reason tests are so stressful is that children have the belief that the test is in itself the indicator of success and failure," he says.

What you can do to help?

"Teach the child that a test is one stop on the road to success," says Dr Everly. "The test is what you do, it's not who you are. Did you study? That's who you are. Did you try your hardest? That's also who you are. Interestingly, if you study and try your hardest, you will most likely pass the test."

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

Everly says that it's imperative you teach your child that success is a journey, not a destination.

Read more: 'Dubai school assessments: What to expect and how to prepare for them'

4. Wondering if someone thinks you're attractive

Why is this stressful?

You may recall your first teenage crush as being a whirlwind of butterflies in your stomach and stolen glances across the school canteen, but the reality of it can be more stressful than you remember. "Being accepted by others, especially physically, is very important for children," explains Dr McCarthy. "Physical attraction is an important factor in today's society and often the first measure for success."

What you can do to help?

The role you play in helping your child cope with this stressor is particularly important, says Dr McCarthy. "A child's self-image is created by his parent. Try to give a positive self-image for your child if the child feels he is not attractive. It is better to boost his self-esteem, especially through certain activities that you know he will be able to excel in," she explains.

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

Children can learn that they shouldn't measure their potential success according to their physical attractiveness, and that cultivating interests and hobbies are crucial to establishing both rewarding friendships and romantic relationships.

Read more: 'Should we stop telling our kids they are beautiful?'

5. Birth of a brother or sister

Why is this stressful?

No one can really blame a child for feeling a little confused when a new addition to the family comes along. According to Dr Afridi, there are many reasons that this is a particularly stressful event for a child. "The older child's routine may be upset while the mother is in hospital and during the subsequent weeks when she may not be able to care for or pay attention to her child in the same way she did before the arrival of a newborn," she says.

What you can do to help?

Dr Afridi says that you can help your elder children cope by preparing them for the birth of the new baby. She also advises that you encourage a connection between the eldest child and the new baby prior to the birth. "Try and take the child to medical appointments and let him hear the heart beat and see the ultrasound pictures," advises Dr Afridi. "You can also involve the child in baby shopping by encouraging the older sibling to pick out clothes for their new baby brother or sister. Parents can also encourage the older sibling to help by assisting in feeding, changing and bathing the baby."

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

"There are benefits to having siblings and sibling rivalry, as it can teach a child how to deal with relationships and conflict within those relationships," explains Dr Afridi. "Children can also learn early on that life isn't fair - there will always be someone who is richer, smarter, better looking and more able. How you deal with the unfairness that is inherent in life - this is an important lesson one can learn."

Read more: 'How to prepare an older child for baby number two'

Parents experiencing problems is one of the top stressors for children

6. Starting at a new school

Why is this stressful? Change scares most adults and children are no different when it comes to the fear of the unknown. Transferring and starting term at a new school, in any level whether that be nursery, primary school or secondary school, marks a significant change to the status quo.

What you can do to help?

According to Dubai-based psychologist Devika Singh,  some children experience more severe symptoms than others. Help by focusing on the transition rather than just talking about the change. "This means taking them to see the school and their classroom," she explains. "Also, as parents, it can be helpful to share stories about personal experiences with regard to changing schools."

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

Changing schools can be a positive life experience for children, as it forces them into a new social environment where they have to make new friends. As a result, children can gain important experience in creating new social relationships and groups.

Read more: '8 Ways to prepare your child for starting school'

7. Parent remarrying

Why is this stressful?

Like divorce, the remarriage of a parent is a stressful event for children. They mainly have three reactions to remarriage: grief over the disruption of family routines, fear of an unknown future and feeling out-of-control because their world has changed.

What you can do to help?

According to Singh, children often need a combination of time and positive experiences to accept their step-parent. "They may experience stress as an emotional response to adapting to a new caregiver or missing the parenting system they are familiar with," she explains. "The process of change can be made easier for children by allowing frequent contact with familiar caregivers and maintaining as much routine as possible."

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

Remarriage brings about dramatic change. If dealt with correctly, your child will learn that positives can come from change, especially when we adapt ourselves to new circumstances.

Read more: 'What's going wrong with UAE marriages?'

8. Lack of money

Why this is stressful?

The effects of living in an increasingly material world can also be felt by children. Fitting in at school is important for them, and often this involves being seen to wear the right trainers or having the right designer schoolbag. For those who come from less fortunate economic backgrounds, not having any money can become a major source of stress.

What you can do to help?

Dr McCarthy recommends that you encourage your child to participate in activities that don't cost anything or to try and earn money by doing certain chores, such as tutoring other children and helping out in the garden.

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

It is important for children to learn early on that it's often the free activities in life that are the most rewarding.

Read more: '5 Ways to avoid raising a materialistic child'

9. Clashing with a teacher

Why is this stressful?

We've all had one at some point in our lives: a teacher whom we don't like. Sometimes, the personality of the student and the teacher constantly clash, which can lead to the student giving a poor academic performance. This poor performance may be a source of stress for your child.

What you can do to help?

Dr Everly says that having a difficult teacher may be an advantage. "You can teach your child that only through adversity we grow strong," he explains. "Muscles grow because they lift heavy weights, coal becomes a diamond because of extreme pressure. A difficult teacher, even if the teacher seems unfair at times, can motivate us to push ourselves to grow."

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

According to Dr Everly, the most valuable thing your child can learn from this is that we cannot 'make' other people like us. "Success and happiness depends mostly on one's efforts, not other people. The only thing we can control is ourselves," he says.

Read more: 'Is it OK to  discipline someone else's child?'

10. Not having enough privacy

Why is this stressful?

Children, like adults, need their privacy to be respected. You may feel tempted to search your child's room or to check your teen's e-mail, especially if you suspect that your child is hiding something important from you, but this, according to Dr Roghy McCarthy, clinical psychologist at the Dr McCarthy Counselling and Development Clinic, can lead to your child losing trust in adults. "Some children will become more secretive and they may then refuse to share things," she says.

What you can do to help?

As tempting as it may be to go rooting through your child's sent box, it's advised that you try to stop your curiosity getting the better of you. Try and talk through any concerns you may have with your child in a non-confrontational way and regard their private space as off-limits.

What valuable life lesson can you help your child take from this?

By respecting their private space, your child will in turn learn how to respect the private space of others.

Read more: 'Why you should never force kids to kiss family members'