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Understanding and Addressing Kids' Anxiety

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Kid with plastic heart
Kid's Anxiety

In today's fast-paced and often overwhelming world, anxiety has become a common concern not only for adults but also for children. Kids, too, experience anxiety due to various factors like academic pressures, social interactions, and personal challenges. As parents, caregivers, and educators, it's crucial to recognize the signs of anxiety in children and implement strategies to help them navigate these emotions effectively.

The Growing Concern: Kids and Anxiety

Anxiety in children is more prevalent than many might realize. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), one in eight children experiences anxiety, which can significantly impact their emotional well-being, academic performance, and social interactions. While it's natural for children to feel nervous or worried at times, excessive and prolonged anxiety can hinder their development and overall happiness.

Identifying the Signs

Recognizing the signs of anxiety in children is the first step towards providing them with the support they need. These signs can manifest in various ways, including:

  1. Physical Symptoms: Children may complain of stomachaches, headaches, or other physical discomforts without an apparent cause.

  2. Behavioral Changes: Watch for shifts in behavior, such as increased irritability, restlessness, avoidance of certain situations, or a sudden decline in academic performance.

  3. Sleep Issues: Anxiety can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing nightmares.

  4. Social Withdrawal: Children might avoid social interactions, isolate themselves from friends and family, or become unusually clingy.

  5. Excessive Worry: If a child constantly expresses worry about a wide range of topics, it could be a sign of anxiety.

  6. Perfectionism: While a desire to excel is healthy, an excessive need for perfection may indicate underlying anxiety.

Addressing Kids' Anxiety

The good news is that anxiety in children is manageable, and there are several effective strategies parents and caregivers can employ to help children cope:

  1. Open Communication: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings. Create a safe and non-judgmental space where they can express their worries and concerns.

  2. Validate Emotions: Let your child know that their feelings are valid. Avoid dismissing their worries and instead, acknowledge their emotions.

  3. Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Teach your child simple breathing exercises or relaxation techniques to help them manage moments of anxiety.

  4. Healthy Lifestyle: Ensure your child gets enough sleep, eats a balanced diet, and engages in regular physical activity. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind.

  5. Establish Routines: Predictability and routines can provide a sense of security for children, helping to reduce anxiety.

  6. Limit Exposure to Stressors: While it's impossible to shield children from all stressors, be mindful of their schedules and commitments. Overloading them with too many activities can contribute to anxiety.

  7. Professional Help: If anxiety significantly impacts your child's daily life, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. Therapists can provide effective coping strategies tailored to your child's needs.

  8. Encourage Expression Through Art: Sometimes, children find it easier to express their feelings through art, drawing, or writing. Encourage these creative outlets as a means of emotional release.

  9. Promote Problem-Solving: Teach your child problem-solving skills. Helping them break down challenges into manageable steps can alleviate anxiety.

  10. Lead by Example: Children often mimic the behaviors of adults. Model healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety in your own life.

Anxiety is a natural part of life, but when it becomes overwhelming, it can impede a child's development and happiness. As parents, caregivers, and educators, our role is to provide a nurturing environment where children feel safe expressing their feelings and where they are equipped with effective coping strategies. By identifying the signs of anxiety, fostering open communication, and offering the necessary support, we can empower our children to navigate life's challenges with resilience and confidence. Remember, understanding and addressing kids' anxiety is a collective effort that can lead to brighter and emotionally healthier futures.

Kids can overcome and learn the tools to cope with anxiety symptoms at Strategies For Success. Visit for more information and to book an appointment with one of our providers. We have both in-person and virtual (telehealth) appointments and can work with parents to give their kids their best chances in school this year. We have five locations in Chandler, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Anthem and Goodyear.


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