My 6-year-old seems to feel anxious in different situations. What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety in young children and as a parent, how do I manage it from day to day?
Anxiety is a common mental health concern in children. Symptoms may occur as headaches, tummy aches, restlessness, sleeplessness, fear of being alone, etc. Children respond differently, so here are some tips to help understand and manage it together.
1. Teach your child how to identify and express their emotions. To enhance their self-awareness, help them understand their body’s response to emotions. Try asking: “How does your body feel?”
2. Identify anxiety triggers together by listing activities and situations that make them feel anxious.
3. Together, brainstorm mindfulness and coping strategies (relaxation breathing, music, sports, etc.), to discover which activities lessen their anxiety. Try Coping Strategy Bingo or a Calm-Down Checklist.
4. Using a Worry Box encourages conversation about what worries your child. Empower them by teaching problem solving skills and how to ask for help or how to raise For more information about tools like the Worry Box, visit our blog.
5. As children can mirror their parents’ actions, be sure to regulate your emotions and remain calm. Establish consistency, be empathetic and praise them for using their coping strategies and skills. If these strategies are not working, or if your child’s anxiety is interfering with everyday life, seek additional advice from your doctor or mental health professional.
Written by Bessie Dudu, CTH Volunteer