It’s normal for you and your child to feel worried from time to time. Children tackle huge milestones in the early years of their lives. Things like that first separation from parents when they go to crèche or big school often presents itself in stressful behaviour in the child. This is normal, and it should pass as the child gets used to the new situation they find themselves in. But sometimes it can continue and that can be worrying and upsetting for parents.
Here are some of the signs that your child might be suffering from anxiety.
Sometimes children can be quiet and withdrawn when they’re feeling anxious. They will show this by not engaging in group activities, perhaps preferring to work on their own. Someone joining them in their game or work will disturb and upset them. They will often remove themselves to a solitary part of the room and do their own activities quietly.
Anxious children may avoid doing things they don’t want to do. This can present itself in eating habits, using the toilet and completing activities or games. They may continuously ask to postpone activities asking if they can do it another time or later.
One of the first signs of stress or anxiety in an adult is getting a poor night’s sleep and it’s similar with children. Sleepless nights or trouble falling asleep can be due to worries or anxieties overtaking their thoughts.
Lack of focus
When children are anxious they can exhibit a lack of focus or concentration, perhaps wanting to ‘rest’ in a cosy corner or lie down throughout the day. They may start activities and not finish them, constantly wanting to move on to the next thing.
Sometimes anxiety can present itself in perfectionism or the need to ‘get it right’. In children, this can show itself in ‘mistakes’ made when drawing a picture or practising their handwriting. An undue amount of frustration and sadness when a letter isn’t quite right or a colour goes outside the line, could be a sign that your child is feeling anxious.