All children, of whatever age, experience powerful emotions. The world of young children can be a frightening and uncertain place especially when they have just faced a prolonged period of time at home.
Fear and anxiety are possibly the most common emotional responses that your child may feel and it’s really important to acknowledge that these feelings are reasonable, and to expect them.
It’s only by building up tolerance gently that we can move ourselves and our children through these fears and emotions as we reintroduce them to situations again or introduce them to new ones they haven’t experienced before.
It may not always be easy to spot the signs of anxiety in children and it may present itself in different ways. But here are a few that you may notice:
• finding it hard to concentrate
• difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or repeated nightmares
• having a hard time coping or opening-up
• not eating properly – avoiding eating or comfort eating
• quickly getting angry or irritable, and being out of control during outbursts
• constantly worrying, having negative thoughts or afraid of something happening in the future
• difficulty in breathing, or a lot of sweating
• feeling tense and fidgety
• frequent meltdowns or tantrums, or other behavioural challenges
• avoiding crowded places or becoming distressed when approaching/within them
• often upset or tearful for no apparent reason
• being clingy
• complaining of tummy aches and feeling unwell during stressful situations
• needing the toilet more frequently than normal
• avoids meeting new people
However, there are many things that parents can do to help children combat any anxiety they may have, when facing situations again after this period at home: