Identifying Early Anxiety Symptoms in Children

As the effects of the ongoing pandemic continue, we are all looking for ways to adapt to tough restrictions and fears surrounding the coronavirus. Although there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel, it is clear that there will be a long-term effect on mental health. Identifying early anxiety symptoms to find out if your child may be struggling is incredibly important in supporting their wellbeing. Take a look at what you should look out for below supported with information from the NHS website.

When young children feel anxious, they cannot always understand or express what they are feeling. You may notice that they:

  • become irritable, tearful or clingy
  • have difficulty sleeping
  • wake in the night
  • start wetting the bed
  • have bad dreams

In older children, you may notice that they:

  • lack confidence to try new things or seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • have problems with sleeping or eating
  • have angry outbursts
  • have a lot of negative thoughts, or keep thinking that bad things are going to happen
  • start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, going out in public or going to school

Physical symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • shaking
  • shortness of breath
  • butterflies in the stomach
  • a hot face
  • clammy hands
  • dry mouth
  • a fast heartbeat

Younger children also:

  • stop playing with the toys they usually enjoy
  • become withdrawn
  • are more tired
  • eat more or eat less
  • seem to put in less effort or give up more easily in usual activities that they would show enthusiasm for
  • become over-excited or they may change their behaviour to get attention
  • start talking louder to be heard

It is important to reach out and seek help if you think your child may be struggling, take a look at the NHS website for more information.

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Posted in: Advice, Coronavirus updates, Parent and colleague support