Childhood anxiety can be a difficult condition for parents to identify and address. The signs of anxiety can be difficult to spot and can often be confused with typical childhood behavior. Recognizing the symptoms of anxiety in your child is the first step towards helping them manage their feelings.
Physical symptoms of anxiety in children can include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite
Emotional signs of anxiety in children can include:
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of new situations
- Avoidance of social situations
- Difficulty concentrating
- Intense worry
Behavioral signs of anxiety in children can include:
- Excessive clinginess
- Compulsive behaviors
- Erratic movements
If you notice any of these signs in your child, it is important to seek help from a medical professional. A doctor or therapist can help you determine if your child is suffering from anxiety and provide the necessary treatment and support.
If you think your child may be suffering from anxiety, it is important to remain calm and supportive. Helping your child understand their feelings and providing them with coping skills can help them manage their anxiety. Showing your child that you are there to help them can make a big difference in their recovery.
What can a parent do?
- Establish a supportive, open, and honest relationship with the child.
- Listen openly and without judgement to the child's concerns.
- Learn and understand the child's triggers and how they can be avoided or managed.
- Encourage the child to talk through their worries and fears.
- Help the child generate a list of strategies to cope with anxious feelings.
- Help the child practice relaxation techniques and mindfulness activities.
- Provide reassurance and positive reinforcement when the child uses coping strategies.
- Help the child identify and challenge anxious thought patterns.
- Develop and maintain a consistent daily routine.
- Encourage healthy sleep habits.
- Provide positive experiences and opportunities for the child to practice social skills.
- Help the child build a positive self-image.
- Participate in therapy or counseling with the child.
- Stay involved in the child's school and social activities.
- Monitor the child's use of media and the internet.
- Seek outside support and resources if needed.