Anxiety in Children & Teens (FREE ACCESS)

Anxiety In Children & Teens

Anxiety is normal but can become a problem. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time.   It alerts us to threats, protects us from danger and helps us reach important goals.

When a child does not outgrow the fears and worries that are typical in young children, there can be so many fears and worries that they interfere with school, home, or play activities. Anxiety becomes a problem for children when it starts to get in the way of their everyday life.

Anxious teens are different from anxious children. Teenagers are more likely to be worried about themselves. Often this looks like perfectionism. Teens might fear not doing well in school or sports. Or they may be very worried about what other people think about them. 

What are the signs of anxiety?

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 ruminate over the possibility of future bad things happening
  • start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, going out in public or going to school

Managing symptoms: staying healthy

Being healthy is important for everyone and can be especially important for those with anxiety. Leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of anxiety. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:

  • Having a healthy eating plan centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (for example, beans, peas, and lentils), lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds
  • Participating in physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day
  • Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night based on age
  • Practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques

Other ways to help ease anxiety – 

  • teach them to recognise signs of anxiety in themselves
  • encourage them to manage their anxiety and ask for help when they need it
  • children and teens find routines reassuring, so try to stick to regular daily routines where possible
  • if you know a change, such as a house move, is coming up, prepare them by talking to them about what is going to happen and why
  • Be mindful of your own anxiety. Try not to become overprotective or anxious yourself. 

Quick ways children and teens can calm themselves down – 

  • Imagine your favorite place – it’s like taking a mini vacation wherever you are
  • Think of your favorite things
  • Squeeze Something (play dough, clay, silly putty, your fists, a stress ball)
  • 54321 Grounding – using all 5 senses (5 things you see, 4 things you feet, etc).
  • Taking deep breaths, instead of shallow breaths, is one way to tell your body to get back to resting and digesting. 
  • Use a Journal to record and track triggers to anxiety.








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