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Most Common Symptoms of Anxiety in Children

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New places and new faces can make any child nervous. Parents must learn to provide comfort and support and guide their children through their fears so they can learn from new experiences. However, some symptoms are cause for greater concern. Learn common signs of anxiety in children.

“I Have A Tummyache”

Children with anxiety quickly learn that being sick allows them to stay home from school and avoid tasks they find stressful. It’s easy to see why some children use minor ailments as excuses to avoid situations that make them feel anxious.

Never discount your child’s report of physical discomfort: anxiety can cause real nausea or muscle aches, and kids can be sick even if they’re not feverish. But try to determine whether your child’s complaint is due to a genuine illness or if it is caused by anxiety. Talk to your child about what’s making them feel nervous, and provide reassurance that whatever it is, it won’t be so bad, and you’ll be there for them.

If the physical complaint nearly always correlates with a specific upcoming event, your child may be suffering from anxiety. Consult your pediatrician to rule out disease and to get a referral to a pediatric therapist for more help.

Poor Sleep or Nightmares

Frequent waking or insomnia is a common sign of anxiety in children. Kids with anxiety disorders may wake up terrified from upsetting dreams and may need lots of reassurance before they can back to sleep. If your child has been suffering from a lack of quality sleep or frequently complains of bad dreams, it may be time to consult a pediatric mental health professional.

Extreme Tantrums

Every parent knows that kids have meltdowns. Tantrums can usually be quelled with a change of scenery, a nap, a snack, or a comforting stuffed animal. But sometimes meltdowns become aggressive, destructive, or so disruptive that it interferes with the child’s schooling, recreation, or routine. That is when it’s time to talk to a child psychologist, counselor, or therapist.


When a child reverts to thumb-sucking behavior after breaking the habit, it could be a symptom of anxiety. Whether they are anxious because of a new school, a new caregiver, or tension between parents, kids will do what they feel is necessary to comfort themselves and relieve their fears.

Thumb-sucking carries the risk of dental deformation, skin damage to the area around the thumb, and infection from dirty hands. If your child resumes thumb-sucking or starts doing it when it wasn’t a habit before, your must address what might be making them feel the need to suck their thumb. Then, you can gently introduce a proven method to stop the thumb-sucking habit.

Anxiety comes in several forms. Separation anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, and phobias are all forms of anxiety disorders. It’s painful to see your child in distress. Don’t hesitate to ask for help; find a pediatric practitioner who takes your concerns seriously, and ask them questions to get the answers you need to help your child.