Recognizing & Responding to Anxiety in School Age Kids

We live in stressful times. And our kids notice. Unfortunately, even school-age kids are experiencing anxiety as the condition becomes increasingly common worldwide.

What about your school-age kids? Do they seem anxious? Would you be able to tell?

Often, anxiety in pre-adolescent kids can be hard to spot. Symptoms in this age group can be hard to pin down and can look quite different from those in teens or adults.

Yet anxious thoughts or irrational fears can be quite problematic if aren’t addressed early., compassionately, and productively.

Fortunately, you can tune in to your child’s emotional state with a bit of information and support. Recognizing red flags can help you develop a plan for helping your child cope confidently.

With those things in mind, let’s consider some common signs of child anxiety below:

Is Your Child Behaving Differently?

Aggression, anger, even bullying can indicate that your child is feeling worried fearful, or out of control. Particularly if your child is not prone to such behavior. Even if your child isn’t overly angry, frequent spates of irritability, annoyance, or short-tempered reaction could be a sign of their internal distress. 

On the other hand, your child’s behavioral changes could appear more fearful or seem to regress emotionally. They may have become more clingy and resist going to school or other activities. You might notice that they seem restless, jumpy, or unable to settle themselves when directed to do so.

Furthermore, you may notice that your child is increasingly withdrawn, unable to express themselves, or freezes up in social situations. At home, they may need constant reassurance or time with you to feel calm.

Is Your Child Physically Upset?

While anxiety is a mental health condition the effects can show up in the body. This is quite common in children who may not have the words or capacity to express themselves verbally. Listen for clues that might indicate that your child is struggling with the tension and sensations anxiety can promote.

Before you dismiss their bodily complaints as the usual childhood fare, consider them carefully. Are any of their symptoms happening routinely? Do their ailments come and go regularly? Below are common physical issues to look for if your child is dealing with anxiety, including:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Stomach aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Fidgety, restless movement
  • Major shifts in appetite

Of course, the first thing to do is to rule out any medical issues or underlying ailments your child may be managing. Make time to meet with your pediatrician. If it is determined that your child is physically healthy, take measures to ensure that they are mentally and emotionally healthy too. You may need to coordinate discussions with teachers, coaches, etc to get a sense of how anxiety is affecting your child daily.

Counseling Can Help You Both Cope

If you’re worried that your child is struggling with anxiety, the best thing to do is seek help. It’s tough to see your child worried, fearful, and upset. You want to be the one to make them feel safe and confident. But sometimes you and your child may need a bit more guidance and care. That’s perfectly okay.

In many cases, therapy or counseling is an important tool to help an anxious child cope and give parents peace of mind. A therapist can work with you and your child to discover the roots of their anxiety.

 Most of the time, anxiety disorders won’t go away without treatment. Your child needs to feel safe and supported in sharing their feelings. I am here to help. Let’s work together to help your child learn how to handle their anxiety on a daily basis. 

Please read more about anxiety treatment and contact me for more information soon.

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