Could your child be anxious? | Great Health Guide
Could your child be anxious?

Could your child be anxious?

This article is a preview of the many articles from our upcoming magazine in Issue 3. For more articles like this, please subscribe to the Great Health Guide magazine – (subscription FREE for limited time only)
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Could your child be anxious? written by Leanne Allen

We often hear about anxiety in adults, with feelings such as fear about going to the shops and an inability to go out. Even just a feeling of fear for no particular reason perhaps a racing heart or sweaty palms.

Do you know that children get anxious too and it can present in very different ways? Some of the ways children show us that they are anxious or fearful are listed below:

  • Refusing to let you go, screaming or crying when you drop them off at school

  • Refusing to eat, or are really fussy eaters (but more than just not liking it)

  • Nightmares

  • Refusing to go to bed (note that many kids go through this phase

  • Suddenly wetting the bed after a prolonged period of dry nights

  • Physical signs with no explanations such as stomach aches, headaches, constipation or diarrhoea

While these are just some of the signs that could be present, you may also notice tantrums or other behaviour that could be labelled as ‘attention seeking’. This could include conduct such as crying, not listening, not doing school work or an increase in what is labelled as ‘bad behaviour’.

The best way to handle a child’s anxiety is to talk to them calmly. Ask them what it is that they are afraid of and offer reassurance that they are safe (don’t do this in the middle of a panic attack though!). Talking with the school teacher can be a very valuable way to help your child. They can let you know if there is anything happening in the class room that could upset your child and you definitely should let them know if there is anything going on at home that could be causing the child to become upset.

Remember that if they are genuinely not safe due to bullying at school or other reasons, ensure that you address the issue with the school.

So what could be creating the anxiety?

There are so many things that can lead to anxiety in children. And it is important to identify what the problem is and alleviate it or work with the child on the problem. Here is a list and it is by no means a complete list, but it may help you to start to think about what is causing your child to be fearful…

  • Bullying at school (This website has information on bullying and sibling rivalry)

  • Sibling Rivalry

  • Not coping with the learning environment due to learning difficulties

  • Issues related to domestic issues including violence, alcohol and drug abuse

  • Too much screen time (television and computers) and not enough play time

  • Scary movies: even if they tell you they want to watch scary movies, it is up to us as adults to decide if it is suitable or not

  • Health concerns within the family (if a parent or sibling is very sick)

  • Death of a friend or family member

  • The News. Yes, many children became very anxious if they see the news or hear about stories such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, murders or even car accidents. You may not even be aware that they are paying attention to such stories

As you can see there are many reasons why a child may feel anxious. So what can you do to help? There are loads of apps that you can download free or for a small fee that can help. I particularly like ‘I think I Am’ by Louise L Hay. It’s a great story book to help kids learn about the effects of negative thinking and how to change it to more positive thinking. It is best to read the book with the child so you can explain and make sure they understand it, however the app does have a ‘read to me’ feature.

Other things that can help:

So if you see your child having symptoms of anxiety,
below are a few ideas to help you and your child during this time.

  • Slow down. Go back to basics with reading a story at night and creating a good routine

  • Playing some quiet music in the car on way to school, at night and in the home

  • Talking them through a calm meditation by asking them to close their eyes and imagine being somewhere amazing (like the beach or a forest), have fun and slowly guide them through it

  • Playing fun games with them

  • Talking to them calmly

  • Telling them to stop and breath in slowly through the nose and out through the mouth (great for adults too)

  • Be very aware of what you are talking about in front of children and how you are behaving. If you are stressed, angry and anxious on a regular basis consider getting help for this yourself

  • Taking the child to see a psychologist or counsellor, or school counsellor

  • For older children you can give them the phone number to Kids Help Line, 1800 55 1800 which is a confidential telephone counselling line

Anxious children can often be helped quite quickly when the environment changes and improves. Also you can help them to change the negative way they think about their environment. So if your child is particularly negative in their thought processes and the anxiety persists, professional help may be required.

Author of this article:
Leanne Allen (BA Psych) is the principle psychologist at Reconnect Psychology and Coaching Services. See her Website. She has trained in Sandplay Therapy, NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) and CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) and just completed training as a life coach. Her approach is to look forward whilst releasing the trauma of the past. If you would like to talk to Leanne or arrange an appointment in person or via Skype, you can reach her on 1300 132 252. Please feel free to leave a comment on the Facebook page.

This article is a preview of the many articles from our upcoming magazine in Issue 3. For more articles like this, please subscribe to the Great Health Guide magazine – (subscription FREE for limited time only)
iTunesor Androidstore

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