Anxiety and stress are not what just adults undergo, kids too develop anxiety or may be stressed out. Different children respond differently to stress depending upon their age or their coping skills. Stress and anxiety generally show up as physical or behavioral changes in children and hence at times go unnoticed by parents.
Parents can surely help their children manage stress and cope with anxiety but only if they recognize the signs.
Signs Of Anxiety In Children
Children do not understand when they are under stress or when they are anxious. They lack the maturity to explain their true feelings. This may lead to physical or behavioral changes. It is for the parents to understand the signs and assess the root cause. Some of the common signs are:
- Development of a nervous habit like nail biting.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- Developing fears of dark, being alone, or of strangers etc.
- Getting into trouble at school.
- Refusing to go to school.
- Hoarding insignificant items.
- Withdrawing from friends and family.
- Exhibiting moodiness, aggression, or clinginess.
Some physical changes that might appear are :
- Complaints of recuring stomachache, or headaches
- Decreased or increased appetite.
- Sleep problems or nightmares
Causes Of Childhood Stress
Causes of stress and anxiety can be internal factors that are the child’s emotions in response to a situation or could be external factors such as a situation at home or in school. Some commonly seen causes are:
Academic Pressure: Many children are pressurized by parents to be outstanding in all fields in school. These expectations put the child under huge stress and can cause anxiety issues.
Big Changes In Family: Divorce, death, or birth of a younger sibling might create a sense of loss of security and lead to confusion and anxiety in children.
Bullying: Children who are bullied often feel embarrassed and constantly live in fear of becoming the target.
Parental Instability: Loss of job, family turmoil or parental agitation may lead to the child feeling helpless. The child wants to help in the situation but does not have the know-how.
Popularity: To be liked and to be popular in school and at the playground might be the desire of a child. To fit in with the group and be liked by all can lead to a lot of stress.
Overly packed schedules: Constant classes and no self-time leave the child stressed.
Scary movies or books: exposure to violent or scary books and movies might lead to stress and anxiety in children.
A catastrophic event in the news: Recently the news of the Pandemic has greatly affected many children as it has had a direct influence on their schooling and outdoor activities.
How To Help Your Children
In the House
- Make your house a calm, safe and secure place for the child.
- Create a relaxed atmosphere and put in an effort for family dinner or games.
- Monitor your child’s games, television shows and books.
- In any major decisions being taken in the family.
- Involve them in sports and social activities.
- Take their suggestions for handling day to day matters.
Lead with Actions
- If you want your child to exercise regularly you need to set an example by doing the same yourself.
- Listen to your child without criticizing. Guide them to solve the problems that make them upset.
- Provide affection and encouragement.
- Use positive reinforcement methods to promote discipline rather than punishments.
A Word From H2FCare
Anxiety is way too common in children these days. In younger years the children are not aware of their feelings and hence can not express them. As they grow older to become aware of the reasons that are causing stress in their lives but do not want to share them with their parents. It becomes the parents’ responsibility to keep a track of your child’s behavior and any changes in them. An earlier detection helps to keep your child safe in every way.