What is Anxiety and How Often Do Children Experience it?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress or a feeling of fear of apprehension, and just like adults, children can suffer anxiety. It is something that most children will experience at one point or another in their lives, but there are different types of anxiety and the child may experience one type more than another.
Childhood anxiety can be present in many forms – sometimes it can be hard to identify which one it is because there are so many symptoms to look out for. Some common symptoms include: excessive worry, long-term worries about things like death or school performance, social interaction issues (like not wanting to go out), difficulty controlling emotions (like anger), difficulty sleeping, stress related stomach aches and more.
How do you know when your child is suffering from anxiety?
As parents, we know that it is our responsibility to make sure that our children are safe and happy. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your child is suffering from anxiety. Here are some signs that your child might be suffering from anxiety:
- Uncontrollable crying or tantrum-throwing
- Headaches, stomach cramps, and other physical ailments without a clear cause
- Difficulty sleeping, staying asleep, or both
- Irrational fears and a sense of dread even in the absence of any threat
The Complete Guide to Managing Children’s Anxiety
Childhood anxiety is a complex issue which you have to be able to identify the various signs of. This will allow you to provide your child with the best possible care.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses that children suffer from. It can affect them both emotionally and physically, and it can seriously interfere with their daily life. The way you know if your child has anxiety is by looking for certain signs, some of which are physical while others are behavioral. When it comes to recognising anxiety in children, there are plenty of misconceptions about what causes it and how it affects them. Understanding these misconceptions will help combat some false beliefs about why this disorder happens.
Steps to Help Managing Children’s Anxiety
As a parent, helping your child to deal with big feelings is important. It’s important to remember that helping your child avoid scary situations can lead to reinforcing their anxiety – if your child is scared of dogs, and you teach them to avoid dogs can fuel their fear into adulthood. Helping your child avoid scary situations is also a missed opportunity to teach your child how to manage big emotions such as anxiety.
Steps to help support your anxious child include:
- Slowing down and trying to become calm and present
- Set aside time to talk about their worries
- Create mini-goals to help them overcome worries
- Encourage positive thinking and giving new things a try
- Talk about and show your child how to overcome fears or worries
- Be upfront, honest and manage your own behaviour
How You Can Help Your Child Cope with Anxiety
Anxiety can be a difficult thing for parents and children to navigate.
If you think your child is experiencing anxiety, help them to recognise it; remember the goal is to recognise anxiety and manage it, not simply to eliminate it. Talk to your child and help them take steps to manage their worries.
If your child has anxiety, separation issues, school refusal or if bed time or getting ready in the morning can be a nightmare come along to our workshop Supporting Children with Anxiety to learn some practical skills to support your children and yourself.
Women’s Health and Wellbeing services also provides children’s counselling for children from 3 to 12 years of age, helping to cover issues including:
- socio-emotional difficulties
- sibling conflict
- trauma related symptoms
- grief and loss due to bereavement, separation or divorce
- the facilitation of a healthy parent-child attachment relationship.
You can find out more about our services online or feel free to get in touch if you need assistance.