It very common and normal for children to feel anxious from time to time. This can be due to starting school, a move, separation of their parents or any other new situation. The most important thing is to understand your child and these feelings of being worried or anxious and helping them cope with them appropriately.
Anxiety like many feelings can feel extra big for children and come out in unexpected ways. Symptoms of anxiety in children can present as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping or waking up in the night
- Changes in appetite or diet
- Getting angry or irritable quickly
- Constant worrying or intrusion of negative thoughts
- Prolonged crying
- Fidgeting or feeling tense
- Feeling unwell or complaints of stomachaches
- Being clingy
Separation anxiety is something more commonly seen in younger children while situation related stress is more commonly seen in older children. Stress and anxiety in older children can largely be social anxiety.
As with feelings of sadness, it is important to talk about feelings of anxiety with your child. Try to identify why they are feeling anxious and help them with coping mechanisms, such as conscious breathing, meditation, and continued support during these difficult times.
You should be aware that some children are just born more anxious than others or some are less able to deal with stress. Other children develop anxiety following an event such as: frequently moving or changing schools, parents fighting or arguing, the death of a family or friend, falling ill or being injured, bullying, abused or neglected. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are also more likely to have problems with anxiety than other children.
Some exercises to try with your child are helping them breathe through stressful or anxiety-filled times. Ask them to breathe in for 3 seconds, hold it, and release slowly. Try closing your eyes and counting to 10 as well when things seem overwhelming. Meditation is also a good practice, especially
before something that might cause anxiety (i.e. a test, the first day at school, etc.). Find a quiet and dim place and sit with your child, maybe play some relaxing music and practice breathing deeply. Remember to keep communication open with your child too, so they will confide in you when they are struggling and you can help them during tough times.
In the case of continuing or prolonged anxiety it is good to seek professional help from a general practitioner, doctor or child psychologist. It is possible your child has an anxiety disorder such as: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, specific
Storybook has a wide music library at your disposal to help you and your little one relax. It also has meditation stories which not only help your child calm down but provide quality family time. Storybook doesn’t just aid with a good night’s sleep but provides a space to both bond and talk with your child. Remember you are your child’s greatest ally and Storybook is yours.