Friday, August 3, 2018

Healthy Habits: How to Recognize Anxiety in Children

You want your child to thrive at home and at school. When they have anxiety, though, it can seriously disrupt their life. The fact that they may not have enough experience and insight to realize something is wrong only compounds the problem. 
Children don’t always have the verbal skills to tell you directly about their anxiety, so as an adult, you need to be alert to the symptoms of childhood anxiety. Only then can you recognize what’s happening and find ways to help them.
Watch for Physical Signs
A child with anxiety usually shows it through their body. They may have unaccounted for stomachaches, headaches, or other aches and pains. You might notice them tensing their muscles most of the time. 
Children usually have a hard time sleeping if they have anxiety. They may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or wake up crying after nightmares that a close family member has died. They might start eating less as they develop anxiety.
An anxious child may be restless or fatigued often. They might bite their nails or fidget excessively. If they’re in a stressful situation, they might shake or sweat. 
An anxious child is often an overly sensitive child. They often cry or get angry for no apparent reason. They may have severe test anxiety. They cry more often than other children.
Worry and Fear
Panic attacks and phobias are common for anxious children. They have intense worry about common problems like making minor mistakes. They also worry about rare events, such as natural disasters. 
You may notice that they ask “What if” very often. “What if an asteroid hit our house? What if a car hit ours on our way to school?” Don’t pass off these questions as an irritation to you. They’re signs your child is suffering.
Anxious children usually avoid social situations. If your child never spends time with friends after school, they may be struggling with social anxiety or generalized anxiety. They won’t speak to people at the grocery store or in restaurants. 
When they’re separated from you, they worry even more than usual. Sometimes, they have such fear of social situations that they don’t want to go to school
If they do go to school, they often stay inside during recess or sit alone at lunch. It isn’t because they aren’t popular. It’s because they’re managing their anxiety the only way they know how – by isolating themselves.
What to Do When You Recognize Your Child Has Anxiety
Childhood anxiety is a significant problem that can stick with your child for years into the future. First, you need to be alert to their needs by listening to them and watching how they behave. 
A psychologist can also help you understand what your child is going through. They can teach you techniques for helping your child deal with their anxiety in a healthy way. 
You don’t have to continue worrying about why your child is having trouble at home and at school. More importantly, your child can stop suffering so much and start enjoying life!

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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