Anxiety is not just an issue that impacts adults—it’s also often experienced by school-age children.
There are different kinds of anxiety disorders that can affect children and teens: generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, specific phobia and selective mutism. Fortunately, there are ways we can help our children cope with or overcome anxiety.
It’s important to remember anxiety can stem from many different things, like genetics, brain chemistry, life situations and learn behaviors, so it’s always wise to reach out to a trained professional for a definitive diagnosis and advice for addressing your child’s situation.
Common Signs of Anxiety in Children
While some signs of anxiety may not be easily picked up on, there are plenty that can be quickly identified.
Some of common signs of anxiety in children include:
- Inattention (poor focus)
- Somatic symptoms like headaches or stomach aches
- Refusing to go to school
- Emotional meltdowns
- Difficulties with transitions within school and between school and an activity
- Difficulty settling down for bed
- Having excessively high expectations for school work, homework and extracurricular performance
How You Can Help
One of the first things you should consider doing is taking your child to talk with a trained and reputable therapist. He or she will be able to talk and listen to what your child says and will know the best way to handle the various aspects of anxiety and anxiety disorders.
There are also many ways you can help your child outside of seeking professional help. You can work to anticipate situations that may cause anxiety for your child, and may find that gradually exposing your child to the cause of his or her anxiety can help ease the situation. Unfortunately, avoiding anxiety-causing situations is usually not the long-term answer.
Be sure you are not downplaying your child’s anxiety and be self-aware about how you’re reacting to it. You mean well, but there could be a circumstance where your reaction is still making things worse for your child. Don’t forget to also make sure that your own needs are met, as your anxiety level could be impacting that of your child’s.
Some other suggestions to help kids cope with anxiety are:
- Practicing relaxation strategies such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation
- Having them write down their worries and anxious feelings
- Teaching them to “talk back” to anxious thoughts, which ultimately helps give them control over the situation
At Drama Kids, we welcome children with various anxiety disorders. In fact – our classes and programs are designed to offer ALL kids great benefits, including helping kids who are experiencing anxiety overcome their fears and anxieties and “come out of their shells”. Shy, introverted children soon gain in confidence and are able to express themselves more fluently. They learn to relax and interact more easily with other people, thus paving the way to a happier, more fulfilling life. Energetic extroverts learn the importance of being able to focus their energy and enthusiasm into controlled situations and so produce worthwhile results.
For more information, visit our website at www.dramakids.com.