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Is your child anxious?
Stress and anxiety does not only affect adults. Today anxiety has a significant impact in the lives of our children, often as a result of added pressure at school, home and from their peers. Prevalence of stress and anxiety in children has increased markedly over the last decade and is now considered to be the most common mental health disorder in school age children affecting 1 in every 8.
Anxiety in children can lead to physical difficulties and inability to cope with every day stresses. The child can develop problems with sleep, headaches, stomach aches and digestive disorders as well as lack of concentration, increased irritability and tiredness amongst other signs. If ignored, anxiety can become the trigger for more serious problems.
How do you know if your child may be struggling with anxiety? Anxious children are often quiet and well behaved and thus their anxiety can frequently go unnoticed by loved ones. Alternatively, some children can be disruptive and misbehave in an attempt to gain attention.
Causes of stress and anxiety in children include peer/family pressure, increased schoolwork demands, neglect at home and even terrible news on TV. With all of these pressures on children it is important to take time out to talk with your child regularly and be involved in what’s happening in their lives so that they do not feel alone. The best medicine that a parent can give to help their child deal with stress is fulltime encouragement and support.
So what else can parents do?
If your child is stressed or anxious there are a number of ways that you can help your child to better cope with stress.
- Prioritise sleep. Sleep is crucial for decreasing anxiety and improving physical and emotional wellbeing so make sure your child gets enough sleep to help them recover and recharge for the day ahead. The amount of sleep your child requires is age dependent but ranges between 9.5 to 11.5 hours every night.
- Making your home your child’s happy place where they feel safe and secure is essential. If you have stress at home, do your best to improve the situation or talk to your child about it.
- Listening to your child’s problems empathetically and keeping channels of communication open will encourage them to feel comfortable enough to let you know about any issues going on in their lives.
- Allow your child some downtime away from technology to do things that they enjoy whether it be reading quietly, playing with friends or spending time outdoors.
- Mineral supplementation can be beneficial to support the nervous system and promote relaxation. Look for a formula which combines magnesium, zinc, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin C to nourish the nervous and adrenal systems and help the body better cope with stress and anxiety.