Parenting Child Psychology and Behaviour

Does your child have anxiety? Watch out for these signs

Ambili S Kartha
3 to 7 years

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Jun 09, 2020

Does your child have anxiety Watch out for these signs
Reviewed by Expert panel

Anxiety and stress are not only for adults. Studies say that many children aged 3 to 17 years experience anxiety issues.. Also, the rate of intense anxiety among children is increasing markedly.  It is common for the child to get anxious when they come across new situations and experiences. More often, they get adjusted to the situation after the initial confusion.  However, there can be instances where anxiety among the kids gets in the way of their normal thoughts, emotions, social, and physical development.  

Presently, as we all know, COVID-19 changed a different aspect of our life. As nowadays, the discussions about the virus dominate the news. Schools and all entertainment areas like malls are closed.  Children are more or less locked up at home. All these are found to elevate the anxious level of children, especially if they already have an anxiety disorder.

I myself witnessed increased anxiety in my child during this COVID-19 outbreak. Even children without anxiety normally could develop it in these trying times. Now, this does not necessarily mean that your child has anxiety, but it is better to be safe than sorry. How can you know if your kid has anxiety? And what can you do to help them? Well, this blog will shed some light on most of your doubts.

When Should Worry About Anxiety In Child?

As already mentioned, fear and anxiety are quite common among children. However, if the child fails to outgrow those fears and worries, or if their anxieties intensify and interfere with school, home, play activities, or socializing, the child may have an anxiety disorder that needs to be addressed by a specialist. 

However, your child needs some extra support if: 

  • The child exhibit more anxiety than other children of the same age group

  • The anxiety restricts the child from getting involved in social activities or activities at school

  • The anxiety gets in the way of their ability to do things that other kids of same age group do

Types Of Anxiety Common In Children

There are different kinds of anxiety issues among children. 

  1. Separation Anxiety: If the children exhibit an excessive fear or anxiety about being separated from people they are close to, they may have separation anxiety. The fear will be very intense that the child may experience regular physical complaints. 

  2. Specific Phobia:  Some severe, unreasonable fear can set off anxiety in children. If your child exhibits extreme fear of thunderstorms, heights, injection, insects, vomiting, etc. or any other relatively harmless situation or events, he might be having an anxiety disorder.

  3. Social Anxiety: If the child is afraid of school and other public places where there are people or always exhibit discomfort, anxiety, fear, or worry about social situations. He is experiencing social anxiety. 

  4. General Anxiety: If the child has excessive, uncontrollable, and unrealistic worries about a variety of events before it happens, like some of their past actions and its possible consequences in future, the fear of being judged by friends, doing school activities, etc. the child might be having general anxiety.

What Are The Factors That Trigger Anxiety In Children?

Different circumstances can trigger anxiety in children.

  1. If the child is living with anxious parents or family members or if people with whom they spend more time are having anxiety issues, the child may also develop an anxiety problem. 

  2. Children may develop anxiety issues after some stressful incidents. Some of those incidents that may trigger anxiety issues in children are:

  • Death of closely attached people or even pets

  • Parents who always fight or quarrel each other

  • Anxiety can appear as an aftereffect of serious illness or accident or traumatic experiences.

  • Abuse or negligence at home or school

How Do I Know If My Child Has Anxiety?

I know many parents who wonder why their seven-year-old, who is the teacher’s pet, is ill-behaved when they reach home. The one who turns the home upside down, screams at parents and siblings, is a very well mannered child at school. On the other hand, some of my friends used to complain that their child is very soft-hearted and calm at home but throws uncontrollable tantrums the moment they have to leave the house. Other parents talk about their kids starting to complain of bodily aches and pains and many other excuses the moment something important, like exams, comes up at school. Do you know what the common thread that binds all these unrelated challenges the parents face is? It's anxiety in the child. 

Here are some signs to watch out in child for anxiety

  • Always cry or throw a tantrum for silly reasons.

  • The child gets upset and needs reassurance more often.

  • The child always try to get others to do the kinds of stuff they are worried about or seek help to do things that they can do easily for themselves

  • The child is having lots of fears and worries. The child may have uncontrollable fear for darkness, being alone, animals, insects, etc. they may refuse to sleep alone. 

  • The child depends on you to talk to him.

  • The child often complains of stomach pains or headaches (without any underlying health issues)

  • The child always shows a tendency to cling to you.

  • The child always sees the negative side of each and everything they come across.

  • The child not able to eat or sleep well

  • The child often prefers social isolation and tries to be in the warmth of their house than going out.

How To Tackle Anxiety Among Kids?

Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. If ignored, it may lead to a severe anxiety disorder that significantly affects their health, studies, and social life. Therefore it's important to deal with the anxiety of the child wisely. Here are some simple and effective ways to tackle the anxiety of your child.

Tips To Tackle Your Child’s Anxiety

  • Talk to your child about their anxiety or worries. Patiently hear what he wants to share. Support the child and show them you understand how they feel. Also, help them to find solutions. Remember, nothing can replace a mother’s support.

  • Encourage positive thinking

  • Teach the child coping skills to deal with anxiety. This depends on their age. You can teach them to take deep breath or count backward from hundred, use stress ball, or urge them to engage in activities like drawing, painting, reading, or writing

  • Encourage the child to stay connected with friends. Even in this COVID situation that demands social distance, you can make the child connected with his friends through video calls and emails and chats.  

When To Seek Medical Assistance For Anxiety In Children?

Seek professional help:

  • If your child is constantly anxious in spite of all the measures you took to bring down it

  • If the child’s anxiety is getting worse

  • If the anxiety issue of the child is affecting their normal life significantly

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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