Understand the symptoms of childhood anxiety and learn practical tips to deal with this feeling that affects children.
The feeling of agitation and fear in the face of a situation that has not happened yet has been part of many adults’ lives. But what can we do when anxiety starts to manifest itself in children too?
As with any other emotion, anxiety is also present in little ones, with events such as the expectation of the arrival of a birthday or a family outing, for example.
Furthermore, it is necessary to understand that technological changes and advances around the world have led the Alpha generation to be born naturally faster and with less patience. These factors, added to the isolation of the pandemic, can trigger new emotions, such as children’s anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Children
Unlike adults, children are often unable to express their emotions verbally but show various signs that they are anxious. Therefore, parents or guardians must pay attention to changes in behavior.
The symptoms listed below are the most common when it comes to childhood anxiety:
- Difficulty sleeping, in addition to waking up several times at night
- Constant nightmares
- Irritability and aggressiveness
- Excessive crying
- Excessive preoccupation with some routine activity, such as attending class
- Difficulty concentrating
- Regression to already-experienced habits, such as peeing your clothes or going back to thumb-sucking
- Changes in appetite, both increased and decreased
- Decline in school productivity
How to deal with children’s anxiety?
Knowing what the main indicators of anxiety in children are, it is essential that parents and guardians do not neglect these symptoms, seeking instead to explore what may be behind anxiety in children.
For this, it is interesting to map all the child’s habits and also the family routine. It is also important to consider the emotions of adults who are around your child, as it is possible that this emotional charge has some relationship with childhood anxiety.
Furthermore, some practical attitudes by parents and caregivers can help reduce anxiety levels in children. See what they are.
1 – Encourage dialogue
Talking daily with children about their daily lives is simple and very effective. Through dialogue, they are encouraged to develop speech, communication skills, and also active listening.
In addition to these factors, the conversation with the little ones also shows them the family life as a safe environment, where they can share good and bad moments. One way to start a family conversation is through quality time together.
2 – Name the feelings
With open dialogue, children will feel more comfortable saying how they feel. At this stage, it is important to explain in a simple way the names of the feelings that provoke the sensations described by them.
By knowing the names of their feelings, children will be able to develop the ability to associate the corresponding names to the sensations, facilitating the exposure of their emotions.
See also: How Socioemotional Intelligence Helps Parenting
3 – Use playful resources
One way to combat anxiety in children is by using playful and fun resources to explain the different types of sensations. In this sense, the family can use personalized books and games to help in assigning the names of feelings.
The personalized book “Getting to Know The Little Monster of Anxiety”, available on the Playstories website, addresses this feeling in a playful and educational way.
4 – Practice relaxing activities
Regularly inserting moments in their routine that leads the child to slow down and enter a state of serenity helps to prevent childhood anxiety. Give preference to activities that put the little ones in contact with nature, such as a walk outdoors or gardening.
Yoga and meditation also help children to cope with anxiety, according to experts in this research conducted at the University of Washington (USA).
5 – Talk to experts
In some cases, anxiety can be more severe in children, making it necessary to go to the doctor and specialized places.
Pediatricians, psychologists, and pedagogues are specialists who can help identify childhood anxiety and provide the best solutions for each case, taking into account the dymamics of each family.