Everyone has experienced anxiety in the last several years. That includes kids. It was painful to stay indoors, not be able to go to school or participate in after-school activities, and have limited time with friends. You can’t turn those feelings off with a switch. Now that the pandemic and its restrictions are behind us, there are still anxious feelings underneath. Kids & anxiety: what is normal and when to talk with a doctor.
When Anxiety Is Normal
There are certain situations where a child should be anxious, such as being approached by a stranger when alone. Normal age-appropriate anxieties in children can be fleeting. They go through a period where costumes scare them, like a clown. They may be worried about starting school. Fear of new places, new situations, germs, plus insects and large dogs are mostly normal, and many kids just grow out of it.
It becomes a problem when these fears or anxieties disrupt their normal activities.
When Anxiety Isn’t Normal
When a child’s fears and anxieties are out of proportion to real or significant dangers, they can become a problem especially if they don’t go away with time.
Watch out for some of these signs:
- Fear of being separated from you
- Worrying that you or someone in the family will get sick
- Not wanting to go to school or even play outside
- Being irritable more than normal
- Having physical symptoms like headaches and an upset stomach especially associated with going to school or some other activity
- Focuses on what could go wrong
- Distress despite being reassured
- Trouble sleeping at night
One of a parent’s main responsibilities is to help your child cope with life and all its ups and downs. If your child begins to have emotional outbursts and physical complaints to get out of normal activities, it’s time to take notice.
If this continues over a period of time or becomes severe, it is not normal and you should contact Genesis Pediatrics for help and perhaps a referral to a child therapist or psychologist.