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Anxieties and Fears in Children-Part 2

Recognizing Signs of Anxiety:

Even though childhood fears change with age, they will still include the fear of strangers, heights, darkness, animals, blood, insects and being left alone. Usually, an unpleasant experience can lead to a fear such as a cat stratching or a dog bite or a simple accident.

If anxious feelings continue, they can take a toll on the child’s sense of well being.  For example: a child with fear of being rejected can fail to learn important social skills, causing social isolation.

Here are some signs to be aware of when a child may be anxious about something from a lecture I heard:

  • becoming clingy, impulsive, or distracted
  • nervous movements, such as temporary twitches
  • problems getting to sleep and/or staying asleep longer than usual
  • sweaty hands
  • accelerated heart rate and breathing
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • stomachaches

Apart from these signs, parents can usually tell when their child is feeling very uneasy about something.  Listening is always helpful, and sometimes just talking about the fear can help the child move beyond it.

As adults, these fears sometimes still continue from those childhood experiences.  It’s important for parents and teachers to recognize and identify the signs and symptoms of their children’s anxieties so that fears don’t get in the way of everyday life.

Part 3 is looking at Common Fears of Toddlers and Preschool Children

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