Particularly when they’re young, it can be difficult for our children to articulate their thoughts, and they’ll often express them through their behaviour instead of words. This can make it difficult to understand how they’re feeling at times. But when it comes to anxiety in children and teens, there are certain things you should be watching out for. Here are four common symptoms to be aware of to ensure your child doesn’t suffer in silence.
Finding it Hard to Concentrate
Whether you’ve had a report back from teachers at school, or you’ve noticed it at home, struggling to concentrate on tasks is a potential sign that your child is struggling with anxiety. Particularly in a school setting, it can become easy for children to be overwhelmed by the workload being given to them, especially during exam seasons. As a result, you might find them mentally checking out of their classes, creating further problems down the line.
Negative Thoughts and Feelings
Whilst it may be harder to identify when your child is having negative thoughts, these thoughts will often manifest themselves into real life situations. For instance, they may be feeling they’re not good enough, or they aren’t liked by their peers. This could result in your child avoiding certain social situations, such as meeting up with friends after school, or joining in with extracurricular activities.
They may also verbalise these thoughts to you and display these feelings of anxiety in everyday situations. For example, if you don’t answer your phone, they may automatically assume the worst and fear that something bad has happened.
Having trouble drifting off at night is a common symptom of anxiety in people of all ages. This sign could be harder to spot in children, since restless nights are common – particularly for younger children.
There are a few things you can do at night time to help an anxious child relax and fall asleep more easily. For instance, finding a bedtime routine that works for you and your child can help to take some of the stress out of going to sleep. You should also consider limiting their screen time too close to bedtime, since digital devices can cause chemical reactions in our brains that keep us awake longer.
Loss of Appetite
Anxiety can cause an upset stomach, which could result in your child losing their appetite or refusing to eat. As with many other symptoms, insufficient food intake will likely exacerbate the situation, and only make their anxiety worse. If children don’t eat enough food over a long period of time, this can affect their development, and could lead to serious physical health concerns further down the line. Therefore spotting the signs early is so important.
To Sum Up
As we’ve discussed, whilst it can be challenging to spot the early signs of anxiety in children, it’s important not to overlook any that you do notice. Addressing the problem with your child or with a professional as soon as possible will help to reduce the risk of them developing further health issues as they grow up.