What are the Signs of Anxiety in a Child?

Childhood Years

What are the signs of anxiety in a child? As you think back on your happiest times, you probably recall your childhood. There is always a yearning for youth and carefree times, without the burden of responsibilities.

On the other hand, there are moments when childhood can be a difficult time. Perhaps not enough attention has been paid to it.

Children are subjected to stress just like adults. Anxiety disorders are quite normal in children, be it the young adult /teenagers or even younger children.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorder can affect even the youngest of children. However, how do you tell if your child is suffering from it? The answer depends on several factors. Although back-to-school is a time of excitement for students, for many kids and teens it is a time of anxiety.

When children think and learn at different rates, they often feel anxious about school and making friends. There is no particular age at which a child will show signs of anxiety affects. Overwhelming worry and fear are quite common in both young children and adults.

COVID-19 has disrupted almost every kid’s and teen’s “day-to-day” life over the past year, causing stress and uncertainty. An additional situation has recently led to an increase in children’s anxiety. 

Generally, anxiety-like the ones mentioned above will diminish over time, but sometimes small fears can turn into major mental health issues down the road. It is vital for you to acknowledge and manage anxiety symptoms in your children and attend to their mental health.

what are the signs of anxiety in a child?
Anger Management

Why Do Children Get Anxious?

Children and adults alike are adversely affected by experiences. Bad experiences can negatively affect a child’s mental health. Small fights with friends or children being scolded, children pushing each other or losing some games, etc. are just a few examples that can cause anxiety disorder.  Anxiety in children has to be diagnosed at the earliest.

Perhaps the pain of a vaccination triggered a child’s fear of going to the hospital/clinic for their first appointment. As a result, they do not attend any more appointments. If the child expressed concern for their parents or loved ones, perhaps they feared the death of their pets. Abusive or violent behaviour can also make children anxious. When children grow up in an abusive household, they can carry those fears with them through life. 

There is also the possibility that anxiety disorders are caused by learned behaviours. In the aftermath of an injury, children may fear seeing their parents or siblings.

Parents with children who suffer from anxiety should never believe that they are responsible for their children’s distress. In no way does this imply they were bad parents or did anything wrong while their kids were growing up.  Children develop anxiety over time.


Having their own experiences apart from their parents is a big part of growing up for children. People are shaped by their experiences, and sometimes these experiences can negatively affect them. 

No matter how hard it is to notice, never disregard anxiety symptoms as child behaviour. Treat anxiety just as another disease. There are many treatment plans, and also consult paediatricians for better advice.

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Young teenage black girl using laptop computer at home, close up

Signs of anxiety in children

Stress and panic attacks are common anxiety symptoms for most children, varying in severity from one child to another. It is possible to determine whether your child suffers from an anxiety disorder, or if their fear is passing, by knowing the warning signs. These symptoms are common among those who suffer from anxiety.

Physical symptoms/signs of anxiety

  • Even when there’s no medical reason, usually complains of headaches and stomach aches
  • Children who refuse to consume snacks or lunch
  • Will only use the bathroom at home
  • Has restlessness, fidgeting, hyperactivity, or is distracted
  • Starts shaking or sweating
  • Muscles are tense all the time
  • Sleeping problems

Emotional symptoms/signs of anxiety

  • Crying all the time
  • A sudden feeling of intense fear
  • Has a high sensitivity
  • Angry or grumpy for no apparent reason
  • Even the tiniest mistake scares him
  • Is prone to stressful attacks 
  • Worrying about future events, 
  • Always nervous or fearful
  • Experiences frequent nightmares 

Behavioural symptoms/signs of anxiety

  • Is always asking questions constantly 
  • Takes no part in-class activities 
  • Outburst and constantly worrying
  • Stays silent or distracted while working with others
  • Has refused to attend school
  • Keeps to himself during break time
  • Attends no birthday parties or after school activities with other kids
  • Is always seeking approval 
  • A tendency to meltdown or tantrum

There are different types of anxiety that children experience

In children and young adults, anxiety can take many forms. The symptoms differ slightly for each disorder, but they all pertain to anxiety disorders in children.

The majority of children with generalized anxiety disorder worry excessively about a variety of issues, such as their schoolwork and sports performance. This disorder is often characterized by children striving for perfectionism or being extremely strict with themselves. 

At least two unexpected panic attacks occur every month in children with a diagnosable panic disorder without obvious cause. Panic disorder can cause many children to experience a feeling of losing control.

When a child has separation anxiety disorder, they fear being separated from their parents. Young children are more prone to separation anxiety. A child suffering from separation anxiety may refuse to attend school, have sleepovers, or even participate in normal social activities. This affects the child’s life.

An individual suffering from a phobia has irrational fears related to certain situations or things. Among children, dog phobia, storm phobia, height phobia, doctor phobia, and flying phobia are all common. This is also a type of child’s anxiety.

The condition of social anxiety disorder refers to a child’s fear of social situations and activities, such as conversing with a stranger or spending time with friends. Creating and sustaining relationships and performing well at school can be affected by it.  Social anxiety can later affect in older children, leading to an introvert behaviour.

Treatment for Anxiety

Treatment for anxiety disorders in children is the same as for an anxious adult. The two common therapies for anxiety disorders are exposure and talk therapy.

Before you can treat a child’s anxiety, you must first understand what causes it. Identify the symptoms of anxiety carefully.

Provide consistent support, encouragement, and love. Let them know how much you appreciate their openness and that you take their concerns seriously.

Contact us at the centre to see how we can help you.

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