Children and teens have had an exceptionally tough time coping with the uncertainty and ongoing stress from COVID-19. Children have often counted on community support from going to school and attending after school activities, and a lot of that was halted in the last year. With all of these interruptions in their daily routines, it is no wonder that anxiety has gone through the roof. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 31% of parents said their child’s mental health was worse than before the pandemic.
What are some signs of anxiety in young children and teens?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there may be signs of distress that are easily noticeable. For example, you may notice changes in mood and behavior ranging from more frequent irritability to completely stepping away from their personal relationships. Loss of interest in their favorite hobbies, changes in appetite, intense fear, and trouble falling asleep are also signs of your teens needing help.
Noticing anxiety in young children can be much more difficult. Separation anxiety, panic attacks, and intense tantrums could be more noticeable, but there could be much smaller signs such as crying more easily and general fussiness. It can also be common for young children to begin bedwetting even though they are fully potty trained. Identifying these signs of anxiety is the most important step to taking action.
How can you help your child cope with anxiety?
Doctor visits to your pediatrician will not only help keep your kids healthy, but pediatricians can also screen for major symptoms of depression and stress. The pandemic has even made it easier than ever to have virtual visits with the pediatrician so that the emotional and social health of your children can remain in check.
Outside of professional help, parents need to be the support system for their children. Asking them how they are feeling and conversing with your kids may seem like simple asks, but these are two of the most important support activities for a family to prevent anxiety. Activities that everyone enjoys can also be a great way to take their minds away from the stresses of daily life.
Why is self-care important for your children?
It is up to the parent to set the tone for the entire household. Anxiety in children and teens can often be a reflection of the environment they are growing up in, so it is imperative for the adults to stay positive despite the challenges at home.
Practicing mindfulness and yoga can be a great way for parents to bond with their children while strengthening their own mental health. The entire family should take some time every day to connect, and meditation could be a great way to do so. There are even anxiety tools tried and tested, such as the Beam anxiety necklace that can be affordably bought in pairs so that kids and parents can practice deep breathing together. The necklace reminds you to calm down, enables you to focus on your breathing, and helps break the cycle of anxiety.