Children may not recognize their own anxiety and often lack the maturity to explain their real or imagined stressful issues. This can cause a variety of physical and behavioral signs to emerge, and parents may be unsure whether these are symptoms of anxiety or a health problem.
Behavioral or Emotional
- Behavioral changes, such as moodiness, aggression, a short temper, or clinginess
- Development of a nervous habit, such as nail-biting
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fears (such as fear of the dark, being alone, or of strangers)
- Getting into trouble at school
- Hoarding items of seeming insignificance
- Refusal to go to school
- Withdrawing from family or friends
Stress and anxiety can also manifest in physical complaints.
Some of these signs include:
- Complaints of stomachaches or headaches
- Decreased or increased appetite
- Other physical symptoms
- Sleep problems or nightmares
Common Causes of Childhood Stress
- Academic pressure
- Big changes in the family
- Catastrophic event on the news
- Parental instability
- Overly-packed schedules
- Scary movies or books
How to Help Your Child
There are healthy ways in which your child can cope and respond to stress, they just need some help and guidance.
You can help in the following ways.
- Create a relaxed home atmosphere and commit to a routine. Family dinners or game nights can prevent anxiety and help relieve stress.
- Make your home a calm, safe, and secure place to come to.
- Monitor your child’s television shows, video games, and books.
Keep Them Involved
- Allow for opportunities where your child can have control over a situation in their life.
- Give your child a heads up on any anticipated changes and talk through the new scenarios with them.
- Involve your child in social and sports activities where they can succeed.
- Adopt healthy habits such as exercise and self-care to manage your own stress in healthy ways. Children often mimic their parents’ behaviors.
- Keep an eye out for new signs and behaviors of unresolved stress.
- Learn to really listen to your child without being critical or solving problems for them. Provide guidance to teach your child ways to understand and solve the problems that upset them.
- Provide affection and encouragement.
- Use positive reinforcemen
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