Anxiety can affect children of all ages. The symptoms can be the same yet differ developmentally.
Physical signs can include, “My tummy hurts. I have a headache. My heart is beeping, little ones say beeping…. beating. There is chest pressure. I’m dizzy, I can’t get up. I’m tired all of the time,” says Sarah Dillon a pediatric nurse practitioner with Deaconess Gateway.
A big clue to spot anxiety in your child, “Those things go away on the weekend. So they come back on Sunday night when it is time to go to school,” says Dillon.
Social media can also contribute to the problem.
“They worry about, “I have to get my streaks, how many people are liking what I am doing, how many people are following me,” and that creates such a level of inferiority,” says Dillon.
Anxiety also comes with being bullied.
Some students may wonder, “What is going to happen. What are these kids going to do to me today?” asks Dillon.
Some school counselors suggest changing how you respond to a perceived bully.
“How can they make it into a joke so it takes away the power? It takes away the authority, or the perceived authority that the bully has over the child,” says Dillon.
Experts say the first step is opening the lines of communication.
“We don’t want parents to be helicopter parents, hovering, or the new one is the lawn mower parent. They are just bull dozing through everything,” says Dillon.
When kids come home from school, “They just need a little down time. “I need a snack, I need some me time. And then come back to me in 45 minutes,”” says Dillon.
Some students have anticipatory anxiety meaning they worry about what the first day will be like and how they will navigate.
“Take them to the school,” says Dillon.
“Let them play with that locker and get it open a half dozen times, or however many times they feel like they need to do it so that they are comfortable with it. Help them go through their schedule.”
“For you somebody who isn’t as nervous tell me how you go about making friends and including others at school,” asks 44News reporter Amanda Porter.
“Because pretty much I just like to be nice to people, give love to to other people,” says student Camden Foster.
“I make friends because I am nice to them and helpful,” says student Emily Risinger.
“A week before I just pack everything, and then I just get ready,” says student Larissa White.
Almost any emotion felt about a new experience is okay.
“There are so many norms within the developmental stages and yeah you’re right. We’re all just floating around in the normal somewhere,” says Dillon.
Click here for a link to youth counseling services in Indiana.