Crying when hungry or cranky when feeling sleepy are common with newborns and toddlers. However, these could also be the signs of anxiety in children. Though common among adults, anxiety in newborns and toddlers is unexpected and unthoughtful. But, anxiety is rather common in kids. Studies have revealed that kids also exhibit signs of anxiety, especially in situations where they are moving away from their parents or surrounded with unknown people.
Studies believe anxiety to be a normal part of the emotional and behavioral development of a child. Presence of anxiety, such as fear of darkness, animals, loud noises or meeting strangers, indicates normal growth of the baby. However, it becomes a matter of concern if these symptoms and anxiety tend to persist as the child grows up.
Signs of anxiety in kids
Since newborns or toddlers express their hunger and concerns by crying, it becomes difficult to identity anxiety in them. Parents should be vigilant in noticing their child’s cries and other activities as these can be indicative of the existing anxiety. Below are a few symptoms of anxiety in kids:
- Clinging: Kids clinging to parents when exposed to people who are not part of the family or unknown to them could be a sign of anxiety. This could hint towards the child’s fear and insecurity of being touched or taken care by anybody else apart from his parents. The child may further bury his head or hide himself behind his parents to avoid meeting new people.
- Crying: Though crying is normal with kids, severe cries – to such an extent that crying leads to trouble in breathing – could be indicative of anxiety. Such cries often come when the child experiences discomfort, fear and feels insecure. In such cases, he becomes hysterical and starts crying.
- Sleep: Babies are usually seen sleeping for most of the day. However, a child suffering from anxiety may lose his sleep. As per the University of Maryland Medical Center, infants with anxiety tend to exhibit sleep problems, such as sleeping late and waking up early or at frequent intervals throughout the night, or crying when laid to bed for sleep.
Types of anxiety in kids
It is generally believed that only adults experience stress and anxiety. But kids also undergo stressful situations, causing anxiety in them. Though these anxieties are common and go away with time, some tend to persist for a longer time and this calls for a medical supervision. There are two basic types of anxiety that kids may have:
- Separation anxiety: It is one of the most common anxiety among kids. As the name suggests, the anxiety occurs when the child is separated from his parents. In this case, the child becomes anxious even if the parents leave him alone for few minutes or in a different room, or hand him to the caregiver. As a result, he may cry, cling or begin screaming until the parents return.
- Strange anxiety: This anxiety develops when the child is exposed to new faces. Despite the person being friendly enough, the child feels insecure and scared and hence refuses to interact with the person. In this case, the child tends to cry until the person is gone. This anxiety is more prevalent in the first year of life. However, a toddler may experience recurring episode of the anxiety.
Road to recovery
With children, their anxiety can be taken care of by talking and explaining it to them. Further, comfort and support from parents in making their children understand the cause of separation can also help them to deal with their separation anxiety. It is important for parents to ensure that their children are safe even when with people outside the family. Usually, the anxieties of toddlers tend to reside by the age three to five. However, if theses tend to persist beyond this, it is important to seek medical help.
If your child is anxious about certain things or is diagnosed with any type of anxiety disorders, get in touch with the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 or chat online for information on anxiety disorders treatment in California. Our experts will guide you to the best anxiety disorders treatment center in California.