These challenging times can put pressure on your children’s mental health. Especially now that they cannot go out and see their classmates in school or enjoy freely outside with their playmates. Also, they are forced to face a new way of learning, such as taking classes online. With the change to their routine and being stuck at home with limited and repetitive activities, these can surely take a toll on their psychological thinking, which can incur fear and anxiety to your little ones. Although the feeling of fear is part of their cultivation stage, it can be chronic and severe if disregarded and overlooked.
In our article today, we will talk about our children’s mental health, focusing on anxiety. How can you know that your child needs to take a breather? As a parent, how can you support your child as they go through distress? Keep reading as we give you the scoop of what anxiety is, the indicators, and what you can do to help!
Once we are faced with a fearful situation, our mind and body reacts and gives us a feeling of stress and wanting to escape. This feeling is called anxiety. It is a natural response or an emotion of fear or worries about a stressful condition. Although the feeling of fear is common with children, particularly when they are confronted with non-familiar faces or experiences, they still need your parental support. Yes, anxiety can usually go away on its own, notably if the pressure has passed. But in some cases, the feeling can stay longer, and it can affect your kid’s day-to-day activities and quality of life.
The symptoms are sometimes not obvious and can be mistaken as part of the developmental stage of a child. But recognizing the early signs is a crucial stage as it can prevent it from becoming long-lasting. Of course, you do not want the feeling of fear to grow on your child, don’t you?
Are your curious if your kid is anxious? Take the test below!
If you have answered “YES” in most of the items, then your child is possibly having anxiety or is in a distressed condition. These are just some common indicators that your little one needs to be attended to. Anxiety affects them physically, emotionally, and mentally. They fear and worry about the smallest situation, which results in mood changes, sleeping and eating problems, body aches, and sometimes, over fatigue. Plus, you may also notice that your child avoids doing his daily routine, which includes initiating conversation with family, going to school, and socializing with friends.
But hey, mommy! The good is news is with proper intervention and support, you and your little one can cope and manage the situation together. It is imperative that you keenly watch the signs, so you can catch it early and step in. Troublesome feelings like these are not to be ignored and neglected as it can lead to a severe case such as depression. Now that we have identified the signs, let us move on to what you can do as a parent!
Reach out to your child and initiate the conversation. Get to know what the problem is, their feelings, and let them know you are there to support and walk them through the journey. It is also important that they speak up, let it out, and you sensibly listen to them.
Do not be afraid or embarrassed to reach out for help if you do not know what to do. Talk to their teachers, your mommy friends, or your pediatrician and seek advice on how to move forward with the situation.
Serve appetizing and hearty meals to entice them to eat. Make time to do daily exercises with your little one, even by just walking with them to the park or playing an active game at home. This is also a good time to introduce new experiences and habits that they can do regularly. Having a healthy lifestyle can improve eating and sleeping habits, and clear their mind.
Teach them how to acknowledge their feelings and worries, and compliment them for being aware of it. Tell them to just take deep breaths and slow down. Comfort them by reassuring that everything will be alright; it is okay not to be okay and this too shall pass.
Educate them on how to find the ‘silver lining’ in every challenging situation. I know sometimes this is hard to do, especially when the situation is bad. But this would be a beneficial trait to impart, as they can bring it with them when they grow up. Teach them not to dwell on the feeling, and how not to stay or get stuck in the situation. Help them shift the negative thoughts to a positive and helpful mindset.
Advising them what to do is not enough for your child. They have to see it; hence, you have to lead by example. Recheck yourself and how you behave in front of your kid. Show them how you handle stressful and hard situations. Teach them of resilience. For sure, they will mirror it in no time!
They need all the support they can have right now so, maintain that loving and caring relationship with them. Always check in, and be there for them. The warm affection and company that you and your family can give them can comfort and ease their symptoms.
If have tried these tips and still see no changes, or if in doubt, then seeking for medical intervention may be necessary.
- Lexi Wright, Signs of Anxiety in Young Kids, N.D
- Claire Haiek, How To Identify The Signs of Anxiety in Children and What To Do About It, May 2020
- Beyond Blue, Mental Health Conditions in Children: Anxiety, N.D
- Kimberly Holland, Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety, September 2020