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Many children deal with anxiety and worry in daily life. It’s usually perfectly okay. However, more and more children are suffering from more severe anxiety problems. This is often due to problems at home, pressures from social media and their peers and stresses over school work and exams. Children today have a lot more to worry about than in previous generations.
Recognizing there is a problem and seeking help is always the first step to fighting mental illness and as children can’t always do this for themselves, it’s imperative that their parents are aware of the symptoms. Here are some common signs of anxiety in children.
Changed Sleeping Patterns
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Children suffering from anxiety may have trouble getting to sleep. They could be lying awake thinking about the day ahead, getting themselves more worried and wound up. You may notice them being tired in the morning, or seemingly over-sleeping as they start napping or have trouble waking up.
Eating More or Less
Children comfort eat when they are suffering, just like adults. But you could also notice them eating less, binge eating or displaying other signs of an eating disorder. Weight is a common concern for children in modern society, especially as they start getting a little older. So, if you have any concerns at all, contact HeadFirst Counseling who may be able to help.
One of the first signs parents notice is that their usually chatty and open child has become withdrawn and quiet. This doesn’t necessarily need to be about them opening up about problems, you may just notice them being much less lively and talkative than usual. This could be because there is something on their mind, or they want to tell you something but are struggling to find the words. In these situations, it’s important that you find ways to let them know you are there, without pushing and pressuring them to talk.
Change in Behavior
You know your child better than anyone and will be the first to spot any changes in their behavior, small or large. Keep an eye on them, if there is anything that concerns you, either gently speak to them, or get advice. When it comes to your children and their health, physical and mental, it’s important to trust your instincts.
Not Wanting to Do Things
Another common symptom of anxiety in both adults and children is a loss of interest in doing things they used to enjoy. In children, this often manifests as not wanting to go to school, to extracurricular clubs and classes or out playing with their friends. Try to look for a pattern in this behavior; it may give you a clue as to what it is that is causing them such anxiety.
Spending More Time Alone
Children suffering from anxiety often retreat to a safe place. This could be their bedrooms, a den, or anywhere they feel comfortable and safe. While it’s normal for children to seek out some space of their own, if you are having to force them to come out, it could be a sign of a problem.
While on their own, these things shouldn’t be too much of a concern, if your child is exhibiting several signs and symptoms you should contact your GP or a counselor for help.