Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. The environment, stressful situations like tests, family problems or trauma are factors that can trigger anxiety. It includes both physical and mental health problems.
Mostly all children experience anxiety in differing degrees at some point in their childhood. Depending on the child, the level of anxiety differs. Some children may have short feelings of uneasiness in the environment they are in or tasks given to them while some children may have prolonged symptoms or thoughts which can impact them in everyday life.
Dry mouth, nightmares, sleep difficulties, concentration problems, headaches, rapid heartbeat, sweating, diarrhoea are a range of symptoms related to anxiety a child can face.
It is important for schools to recognize the symptoms and provide services to children with a mental disorder. Teachers should play a role in recognizing a student suffering from anxiety disorder and work with the parents and other school staff including the nurse or psychologist to ensure that the student receives the services they require both within and outside the school environment.
A child may not be able to communicate that they are suffering from anxiety. Some children may open up to their parents describing the symptoms and some may not say anything to their parents. A child can be embarrassed or simply will not be able to realise that their symptoms aren’t a standard part of growing up. Parents have to observe their child and understand the symptoms in situations that may be stressful to their child. They should be more engaged with their children and ask them if everything is okay from time to time.
They can consult with the child’s teacher, a friend’s parent or sports coach to know if their child is anxious in situations that are often more stressful than the home environment and give them the right treatment if needed.
Seek help from other carers and professionals and get more information to ensure the child receives the correct diagnosis and treatment if required. If these symptoms of anxiety are ignored and left unchecked, a minor childhood anxiety disorder can majorly impact their everyday life and will be difficult to treat in adolescence and then adulthood.