Anxiety in children?

Anxiety in children is difficult to differentiate from anxiety bound to a developmental phase. It is namely normal that children experience some amount of anxiety, because a lot changes during childhood. Especially during puberty anxiety can be experienced, but younger children too experience anxiety, such as anxiety caused by strangers.

Thus, it is not always easy to know what excessive anxiety is and how one as a parent should deal with this. To help you with this, this article sums up normal anxiety and when anxiety becomes a disorder. Furthermore, we inform you about what treatment of anxiety in children entails.

What is normal anxiety in children?

At the hand of the different developmental phases there are normal forms of anxiety to be found, which simply belong to the phase in which your child is. Below, examples can be found about what normal anxiety in children can be per age phase.

Between 0-6 months of age it is normal that children are anxious about loud noises, sudden approach by other people or the loss of support.

Between 6 months to 1 year of age it is normal that children are anxious about height and/or depth, strange people and object, as well as the fear of being separated from a parent.

Between 1 and 2 years of age children can be anxious about things from nature, such as a storm or a large wave.

Between 2 and 4 years of age, many children are anxious about touching animals or seeing blood.

Children aged 4 to 6 years old can be anxious about sleeping in the dark, monsters, or something changing about their body (for example when they have to go to the doctor’s or get their hair cut).

Children aged 6 to 12 years old are generally anxious about being judged by people their own age. Performance anxiety occurs here sometimes. They might be anxious about failing. Also, children at this age start to anticipate negative situations. For example, they think about what they should do if their parents were to divorce.

Youths aged 12 to 18 years of age are still anxious about being judged by same-aged peers, but now with more focus on judgement from the other sex. Also anxiety of dangers, which do not have to do with the child directly, start to occur, such as fear of war.

When do children have anxiety disorders?

We consider anxiety in children to be excessive if the child has been anxious from a young age onward. If this continues, we can speak of a generalized anxiety disorder A certain form of anxiety in children is normal, but if it happens too often and starts to rule their life, we consider it to be an anxiety disorder

In that case your child has difficulties with staying in control of the situation. Also, your child might start to avoid certain situations after a while. Even thought your child might know that there is no real cause for their anxiety, they cannot calm themselves down either way.

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder in children?

The following requirements should be met in case of an excessive form of anxiety in children and thereby an anxiety disorder (if the symptoms are present for an extended period of time):

  • Your child experiences a constant level of anxiety or even panic.
  • The anxiety will lead to avoidance behavior, which in turn can lead to depressive complaints after a while.
  • Your child is constantly tense and nervous.
  • Your child is exhausted due to the constant tension and anxiety.
  • Because of the anxiety, little energy is left for daily activities. This means that your child often is tired, causing certain tasks not to be performed anymore.
  • Your child often also experiences muscular tension.
  • Your child experiences issues sleeping.
  • Your child cannot properly focus any longer.
  • Your child often responds in an irritated way.
  • Your child looks for reassurance from its environment a lot.

Anxiety in children can be very exhausting and affect the child in disproportionate ways. All areas of the life of the child can suffer from this.

Anxiety in children: treatment?

Anxiety in children can be treated. For this, there are several instances. Depending on the age, different approaches will be taken to treat the anxiety in children. Each age category namely requires a different approach of the therapeutic techniques on which many anxiety treatments are based.

“” offers a treatment of anxiety in children in the shape of an online self-help program. Children with a broad vocabulary can follow the program daily, with some help of their parents, to thereby reduce and treat anxiety.

Anxiety in children: testing it?

Do you want to know if your child experiences an excessive form of anxiety in children and is your child’s vocabulary broad? Then they can always fill out the free anxiety test here.