Anxiety in Children – When Should We Get Help?

Anxiety can negatively impact children and adolescents’ mental and emotional wellbeing, potentially leading to their self-esteem and confidence. They may become withdrawn and go to great lengths to avoid situations that make them feel anxious.  

When should we get help?

While some of the anxiety they experience may be part of the process of growing up, some may require special attention and a sign that they need professional help. 

For example, for children from the age of 6 months to 3 years, it is common for them to have separation anxiety, where they can become attached and cry when they are apart from their parents or carers, but is a normal stage in a child’s development for that age. 

It is also normal for children in preschool to develop specific fears or phobias, or feel anxious when going to a new school, or before tests. 

So when should parents and carers pay closer attention and seek help for their children?

When the anxiety of the child begins to impact and impede their everyday life

Although it is common for children to feel anxious about an exam if their anxiety is so severe that they miss school that day, you may need to take a closer look. 

If your child’s anxiety is severe, persists, and interferes with their everyday life, it’s a good idea to get some help. If your child’s anxiety is including their school life, it is also recommended to talk to their school as well. Through open communications between the parents, counsellor, and the school, a safe environment can be established to help the child work through their struggles. 

Signs of Anxiety in Youth

  • Difficulties focusing
  • Difficulties sleeping or waking up in the middle of the night with bad dreams
  • Have problems eating
  • Being attached and clingy
  • Gets angry or irritable easily, and are out of control during outbursts 
  • Constantly worries 
  • Constantly have negative thoughts
  • Feels tense and fidgety
  • Crying often
  • Complaining about stomachs and feeling unwell
  • Start avoiding daily activities 

By Ashley Kim

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