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Anxiety and fears in children

2 April 2022

What are anxiety, worries and fear in childhood?

Anxiety, worries and fear are normal reactions that every child experiences in their lifetime. It is common for children to experience anxiety about new situations or events and with changes in their lives. Different types of anxiety can include separation anxiety, social anxiety, school-related worry and generalised anxiety disorder.

It is important for parents to recognise the signs of anxiety in their children and to help them cope with these difficult emotions. Signs of anxiety in a child can include physical symptoms such as changes in sleep patterns, being easily startled or having difficulty calming down after an event. Behavioural signs may include excessive clinginess, avoidance of certain situations and meltdowns or tantrums.

Parents should provide emotional support to their children and help them understand their feelings. It is important to talk openly about the issue, listen without judgement and be patient with your child’s emotions. Encouraging healthy habits such as physical activity, adequate sleep and proper nutrition can also help reduce anxiety in children.

How do I support my child with anxiety?

One of the most important things you can do to support your child with anxiety is to create a safe and supportive environment. Make sure that they know that it’s ok to feel scared or worried, and talk openly about their emotions. Let them know that they are not alone in feeling anxious and encourage them to share their worries with you.

It is also important to provide reassurance and structure. Spend time with your child, help them set realistic goals, and create a daily routine that includes activities they enjoy. You can also encourage positive coping strategies such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises which can help reduce stress levels. Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself too – it’s important to practice self-care so that you can be present and supportive for your child.

When should I be concerned about childhood anxiety?

If your child’s anxiety persists or is impairing their ability to function, it may be time to seek professional help. Speak with your paediatrician or an experienced mental health clinician who can provide guidance and support for your family. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can be especially helpful in managing childhood anxiety.

It is important to remember that anxiety is treatable, and there are many resources available for children and families. With the right support and guidance, children can learn to manage their anxiety so that it does not interfere with their lives.

What are the signs and symptoms of childhood anxiety?

Signs and symptoms of childhood anxiety can vary from person to person, but may include physical signs like trembling, nausea or headaches. Behavioural changes such as avoiding situations that cause fear or worry, difficulty concentrating and extreme perfectionism are also common in children with anxiety. Emotional signs can range from feelings of fear or dread to uncontrolled worrying or sadness. If your child is exhibiting any of these signs or symptoms, it may be a sign that they are struggling with anxiety.

How is childhood anxiety diagnosed?

Childhood anxiety is typically diagnosed through a clinical evaluation done by a mental health professional. During this evaluation, the clinician will assess your child’s symptoms and their severity to determine the diagnosis. Depending on the situation, additional assessments may be recommended such as psychological testing or laboratory tests.

It is important to remember that childhood anxiety can be successfully treated with a combination of therapy, lifestyle changes and/or medications. With the right support and guidance, children can learn to manage their anxiety so that it does not interfere with their lives.

What professional help and treatments are available for children with anxiety?

There are a variety of treatments available for children with anxiety. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most common and effective forms of treatment, as it helps children to understand their thoughts and feelings and develop healthy coping skills. Other types of therapy such as family or group counselling can also be beneficial in managing childhood anxiety. In some cases, medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be prescribed. It is important to work with a mental health professional who can provide an individualised treatment plan for your child.

What is psychology therapy for children with anxiety?

Psychological therapy is a form of treatment that focuses on helping children understand and manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviours. It can include individual counselling sessions as well as family or group therapy. During therapy, your child will be encouraged to explore the root causes of their anxiety and develop strategies for managing it. This may involve learning relaxation techniques, developing positive self-talk, and challenging negative thoughts. With the right guidance, your child can learn to manage their anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.

What financial support is available for children with anxiety disorders in Australia?

In Australia, there are a variety of financial supports available for families with children who have anxiety disorders. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be eligible for the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS), which provides access to mental health services and treatment. You can also apply for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if your child has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Additionally, you may be able to access financial assistance through community organisations and charities. It is important to research the options available in your area so that you can find the best possible support for your child.

How do I look after myself and my family?

Looking after yourself and your family is essential when dealing with childhood anxiety. Make sure to take time for self-care, as it can help reduce stress and give you the energy to support your child. You should also create a calm home environment by avoiding arguments or criticism, providing emotional support and setting clear boundaries. Additionally, try to maintain regular routines and schedules, and provide opportunities for your child to engage in activities they enjoy. Finally, it is important to stay informed about the latest research and treatments available so that you can make decisions that will benefit your child’s mental health.

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