All children and young people will experience anxiety at some stage because it’s a natural reaction our bodies have to a challenging or stressful event, or when we are pushed outside our comfort zone. Starting school can be a time of anxiety for children and young people especially if they are starting school for the first time, changing schools or transitioning into high school. It is a normal response for your children to feel some degree of anxiety at this time, but this anxiety should start to decrease as they settle in for the year.
For some children, anxious feelings don’t go away and may continue. For these children their anxiety can affect their ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks and this may be caused by anxiety disorders.
If you feel that you child is struggling with anxiety it is best to discuss the symptoms with your child’s teacher or year coordinator to develop a plan of support. If this anxiety persists you can also visit your family GP to develop a plan to treat and manage your child’s individual situation.
There are also some things you can do each day in addition to the this that may help your child.
- Anxious children like routines . Try to keep a calm structure and regular routines in your child’s daily life. A good night’s sleep is also really important.
- Support them through difficulties. Try to calmly talk them through their emotions to help them understand what they’re feeling and why.
- Talk through their fears. Help them to work through the worry. What is the worry? What can we do to make it less of a worry? How can I support you?
- Be there to listen. Regularly check in to see how they are going, so they get used to talking about their feelings and know you will always listen and support.
- Be involved in their life. Showing a real interest in their daily life helps them to feel secure and also makes it easier for you to spot when they need more support.
- Encourage their interests. Being creative or active, being a part of a team and learning new things can help your child learn to manage their emotions and help them connect with others which are both important for mental health.
If your child has ongoing anxiety that doesn’t seem to ease, seek the support from your local GP Or call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
If children are struggling, they can call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636