A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Anxiety: Understanding the Symptoms and Coping Strategies

by Jason on October 22, 2011

A Parent's Guide to Children's Anxiety: Understanding the Symptoms and Coping Strategies

Does your child refuse to go to school? Are you concerned that he or she may be under a lot of stress, or suffer from an anxiety disorder? Children’s anxiety, if untreated, can lead to a number of complications. Their schoolwork suffers. They refuse to go outside and play with friends. The anxiety can even make them physical ill!

You can learn strategies to help your child overcome fear and worry. Children’s anxiety IS treatable!

First, you need to make sure that he or she really has an anxiety disorder. Sometimes it gets mixed up with other problems such as a bipolar disorder or depression. Here are some common symptoms of anxiety in adolescents.

Physical Symptoms

• Insomnia

• Pounding heart

• Excessive sweating

• Upset stomach or abdominal pain

• Dizziness

• Twitches

• Shortness of breath

• Irritable bowels

• Headaches

• Muscle tension

• Fatigue

Emotional Symptoms

• Refusal to go to school

• Fear of being away from home

• Feeling unsafe

• Being overly clingy

• Throwing a tantrum whenever they’re away from their parents

• Fear of making mistakes

• Low self-esteem

• Social phobia

All children experience anxiety on occasion. However, children with an anxiety disorder experience it every single day, so much that it disrupts their lives and education.

Here are some strategies you can try if you want to help a child overcome anxiety.

1. First, you need to modify his/her diet. Eliminate all stimulants and processed foods. These include caffeine, energy drinks, junk food, and medicines such as nasal decongestants and cough medications. Only give him/her this type of medicine if he/she really, really needs it.

2. Help a child with anxiety develop good sleeping habits. Ensure that they are getting plenty of sleep at night. Naps can help as well. Getting enough rest will help a kid feel refreshed and calm throughout the day. Try techniques to help a child who is going through insomnia. There should be peace and quiet through the entire house after they go to bed.

3. Next, try to get your child to communicate his/her fears with you. You can do this through play therapy. This involves the use of dolls, toys, puppets, and drawings to help the child express their fears. Get your kid to express fears in a creative way so that they don’t become upset or frightened. If you know their fears, you can help them to better understand that those fears won’t hurt them.

4. Never belittle a child’s fear. At the same time, though, you shouldn’t cater to them. Acknowledge that they are real fears, no matter how trivial they seem, but don’t try to protect your child from them. For instance, if a kid is afraid of dogs, don’t cross the street with him/her just to avoid a dog. This will only reinforce the child’s fear that dogs should be avoided. Instead, tell your child “we are going to walk by this dog, and you will see that it won’t hurt you.” However, never tell children that they are “silly” for being afraid. Help them to understand WHY they shouldn’t be afraid.

5. Communicate with the child by opening up about your own experiences with fear. Tell them about how you overcame your fears. Explain the lesson you learned from being afraid. Encourage your kid to be brave, just like you were.

6. Establish a regular routine in your home. A lot of parents don’t pay much attention to their family’s schedule. Don’t just make your child go to bed at a certain time and to wake up at a certain time. Make them eat, exercise, and do homework at the same time every day. Also, keep your own schedule as strict as possible. Children who live in hectic households are more likely to experience anxiety.

Children’s anxiety can be alleviated with these 6 steps! You might have to make some changes in your own life if you want to help your child. Establishing a regular routine for your entire household might not be easy, but it’ll be worth it once your little one starts to feel less fear and worry.

Your child CAN overcome their anxiety, fears, and phobias faster than you think. Click below to read about the child anxiety treatment system that the top professionals trust!


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