Bed wetting and refusing to go
Has your potty-trained child suddenly started wetting the bed, getting constipated, or refusing to use the toilet at all? Anxiety could be to blame. According to Berry, “regression in toileting behaviours” can be a subtle but common physical sign that your child is worrying about something and their worry has spiralled out of control. Parents shouldn’t criticise a child when this happens, but instead offer an ear when they’re ready to talk. “Actively listen to their concerns, show understanding, and validate their experience of the situation and feelings,” says Berry. Your child will know that they can come to you in the future without judgment.
Making sure everything is perfect
It’s great for kids to be dedicated to school, sports and other activities or hobbies. However, when dedication shifts to perfectionism, anxiety could be to blame. Mortenson says that “fixating too much on ‘getting it right’ for the next test” that it affects a child’s sleeping patterns or willingness to participate in activities they once enjoyed could signal a problem. In this case, you might want to open your child’s view to other possible outcomes they hadn’t yet thought of. Ask, “Will getting a few questions wrong on this test hurt your final class grade?” or “Will your coach cut you from the team if you don’t make a goal in today’s game?” Helping your child see things from a new point of view could put things into perspective.
Anxiety triggers aren’t always easy to identify. Here are 15 sneaky things in your home that could trigger anxiety.
Skipping the after-school club
A child experiencing anxiety may start skipping after-school activities they once loved in favour of staying home. The child may feel secured and protected. Colangelo says that it’s important to validate your child’s concerns and negotiate a fair balance, such as letting your child cut out an activity or two while attending the ones she feels the most comfortable with.