6 Signs of Anxiety in Children
We all have bad days when we're more anxious or stressed than at other times. For adults, bad days are average. For children, they're not.
Anxiety disorders among children have steadily been on the rise. That's why knowing what to look for in your child when considering possible anxiety signs is essential.
The sooner you notice something is wrong, the sooner you can get help. Keep reading to learn more about signs of anxiety in children.
1. Irritable, Tearful, or Clingy
Signs of stress and anxiety in children can include an irritable, tearful, or clingy disposition. The child may become easily overwhelmed, show separation distress when separated from the parent, or become moody.
They may also become easily frustrated and start fights with peers. They have difficulty calming down or adjusting to change and become increasingly impulsive and impatient.
Additionally, the child may demonstrate excessive worrying and be overly focused on details or perfectionism. It is essential to have compassion and understanding toward a child exhibiting these behaviors. Watch for any additional changes that could indicate a more significant issue.
2. They Wake Up in the Night
Anxiety in children is a severe condition that can present in various ways. One potential symptom is waking in the night or sleep disturbance. Nighttime fears can make it difficult for children to go to sleep and stay asleep.
These fears can be nightmares, intense worry about leaving home or relatives, or anxiety about physical health or safety. Parents can notice signs of stress through changes in their child's sleeping behavior. If a previously sound sleeper begins to wake up multiple times throughout the night, they may be struggling with anxiety.
Parents should be mindful of the signs and reassure the child as needed. Additionally, checking in with their child's doctor is a wise course to ensure the child's mental well-being is monitored.
3. They Have Bad Dreams
If your child has trouble sleeping and frequently wakes up frightened or distressed, this could be a sign of anxiety. A child with bad dreams or vivid nightmares may struggle to relax and fall asleep. In more extreme cases, a child may experience frequent night terrors.
If these signs are present, speaking to your child and discussing their feelings of anxiety is essential to devise strategies to cope and work through the issue. Knowing your child has a safe and supportive space to express their fears can help alleviate and ease their anxiety.
4. Lack of Confidence
Lack of confidence can be a very upsetting symptom of anxiety in children and may interfere with their everyday life. It can cause them to be hesitant when faced with new situations or make them withdraw and become distant from peers and family members. It is essential to recognize when a child is dealing with anxiety and to take steps to provide appropriate resources and support.
They may start avoiding activities that put them in the spotlight, such as:
- public speaking
- raising their hand in class
- or giving presentations
They may also be over-dependent on adults and lack the confidence to try new things. They can become overwhelmed by new or challenging situations and may withdraw from activities. They may become more clingy, have difficulty settling, complain, and express worries even when there is no reason to.
These behaviors can be subtle and may not be caught by adults who are not heartfully engaged. It is essential to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior. This can be an indicator of underlying anxiety and lack of self-confidence.
5. Bed Wetting
One potential symptom of anxiety in children is a return to wetting the bed or bed wetting. Bed wetting is more common among children between the ages of 4 and 6. However, this can happen at any age if the child is suffering from high anxiety or stress levels.
Bedwetting could indicate that your child is overwhelmed by worries or fears they cannot express with words. Children in significant distress or transitioning to a new environment may also exhibit symptoms of wetting the bed.
As a parent, it is essential to be aware of any symptoms of anxiety your child may display. When dealing with anxiety, consult your child's doctor to develop an effective treatment plan.
6. Angry Outbursts
Children with difficulty regulating their emotions because of an underlying sense of anxiety may act out with tantrums or other aggressive behaviors. This can be witnessed at home, in the classroom, or in different public settings.
A typically anxious child may express their anxiety with an angry outburst. The child may lash out when feeling overwhelmed or worried about a situation. This can take the form of verbal or even physical aggression if unchecked.
Being able to identify this type of anxiety and being able to manage it is a crucial element in helping a child with anxiety. Parents and educators may be able to help create a safe and secure environment for the child, which can then aid in managing these outbursts.
If you see any of these signs, providing an opportunity for children to be more creative and to 'play' with their anxieties can help to create a sense of safety and control, ultimately reducing some of the associated stress. If you are not sure how, you can start with digital play therapy for kids. This strategy might be an excellent tool for helping them work through anxiety safely and effectively.
Get Rid the Anxiety in Children
Help your child deal with anxiety. Anxiety in children is a serious issue that can have long-term implications for their mental health. It's essential to recognize the signs of anxiety and seek appropriate help.
Early intervention can minimize the possible adverse effects and help children reach their potential.
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