What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or panic. Feeling generally anxious sometimes is normal. Most people worry about something – exams or money etc… – but once the difficult situation is over, you feel better and calm down.
If the problem has gone but the feeling or fear or panic stays or even gets stronger, that is when anxiety becomes a problem.
With as many as one in six young people experiencing anxiety at some point, it is very common to have anxiety. (YoungMinds)
What are the signs of anxiety in children?
When young children feel anxious, they cannot always understand or express what they are feeling. You may notice that they:
- Become irritable, tearful or clingy
- Have difficulty sleeping
- Wake in the night
- Start wetting the bed
- Had bad dreams
In older children you may notice that they:
- Lack the confidence to try new things or seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
- Find it hard to concentrate
- Have problems with sleeping or eating
- Are prone to emotional outbursts
- Have negative thoughts – this could be about themselves or they could keep thinking that bad things are going to happen
- Start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, attending school or going out.
Ways to ease anxiety in children
- Teach your child to recognise signs of anxiety in themselves and to ask for help when it strikes.
- Children of all ages find routines reassuring so try to stick to regular daily routines where possible
- If your child is anxious because of distressing events such as bereavement or separation, see if you can find books or films that will help them to understand their feelings.
- If you know a change, such as a house move is coming up, prepare your child by talking to them about what is going to happen and why.
- Try not to become anxious yourself or overprotective – rather than doing things for your child or helping them to avoid anxiety-provoking situations, encourage your child to find ways to manage them.
- Practice simple relaxation techniques with your child, such as taking three deep, slow breaths, breathing in for a count of three and out for three. You’ll find more relaxation techniques for children on the Moodcafe website.
- Turn an old tissue box into a “worry” box. Get your child to write down or draw their worries and post them into the box. Then you can sort through the box together at the end of the day or week.
(Taken from NHS website)
If you are concerned about your child’s anxiety, please seek support and advice through taking your child to their GP’s and contacting school so support can be put into place.
The following website links have valuable information to help support your child: