Are your children struggling with anxiety?

Posted on April 25 2022 by FHPPS in Blog

What a world we have been living in in recent times. And the last two years have certainly taken their toll on many. We know as adults that it has been hard to adjust and cope and it has added to our anxieties. But what about our children?

 

Are children suffering with anxiety?

How can we support them and their growth and development?

Anxiety is a feeling that we all have and it is a necessary feeling in many ways, as it is a feeling as a basis for action. It helps us to feel unsafe, excrete cortisol and then prepare the body for fight or flight!

The difficulty that we have all been facing in recent times is that there have been so many things that have made us feel something bad is going to happen and this feeling has continued for a long time, keeping the body on high alert.

We need cortisol for us to action the next step, BUT with anxiety and the recent pandemic there is no next step. No end point. We have all, including our children, received cortisol without any payoff. No fight or flight, just continuous worry.

 

How can we identify anxiety in our children, particularly as teachers and parents of young children?

Let’s keep an eye on transition times like separating from mom or dad in the mornings at school.

Look for signs like:

*the child needs to be next to his/her teacher at all times,

*skin picking and scratching

* a rash around the mouth

*a child who is nervous of going somewhere that they usually go to and usually have no difficulties

*sleep difficulties

*changes in their behaviour

 

When children feel anxious it puts their body in a state of unease. We need to:

*acknowledge that you can see that they feel uneasy

*remind them that they are in a safe place.

*remind the child of the structures or the routines of the day

*remind them that you will be with them as their teacher, or who will be with them and for how long

*remind them that we as adults are in charge and will always keep them safe

*encourage them to explain how they feel

*ensure that there are calm areas for the children- feelings corners, music areas with headphones and calming music

*talk about active ideas for calming down our bodies- what we can do

*praise them for calming down

*provide physical reassurance, through physical contact, like a hug, a gentle pat on the head or shoulder

*create attachment relationships by:

Getting to know the child more

Getting to know their parents

Building a strong positive relationship

*notice if their parents need support and offer it or guide them to the necessary help and assistance

Be mindful of the fact that professional help may be necessary, particularly if the child is not able to self-regulate, and can’t settle for extended periods of time, and you have a constant feeling that the child is too difficult to manage.

Always remember…….No child can learn if they feel unsafe!!!!!!

 

Finally, to try and reduce the amount of cortisol that is currently in our bodies and that of our children we need to:

Drink water, sleep for at least 7 hours a night, eat more green vegetables and fruits, try to keep environments calm and tidy, reduce the visual impact and distractions and teach positive language and coping skills.

Take care everyone!!

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