Help Kids Cope With Stress

Anxiety for many continues as we live with COVID-19

September 30, 2022  

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. Families have been forced to cope with job loss, the loss of loved ones, and an overall loss of routine and support. Parents are dealing with more anxiety and so are our kids.

Helping kids deal with anxiety is more important than ever. Some kids may be going through a difficult phase. Others may have an anxiety disorder. Either way, understanding anxiety and the support that is available for our kids can help them be their best selves.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an overwhelming thought or fear that gets in the way of life at home or school.

Anxiety is common. But some children have an anxiety disorder. In these cases, the anxiety is more persistent and disruptive. And it’s not uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 6% of children between 6 and 11 years old and over 10% of children between 12 and 17 years old have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders in the United States.

What are the signs of anxiety?

Children can have behavioral and physical symptoms.

Behavioral signs:

  • Worrying about things that are far in the future
  • Fears that create distress or interfere with activities
  • Fears of making a mistake

Physical signs:

  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Sweating or shaking in frightening situations
  • Difficulty focusing and being still

What can you do?

Talk with your child’s primary care provider

Before getting treatment or finding a licensed professional, you may want to talk about your child’s symptoms with a provider you trust. A PCP can recommend a treatment based on what your child is going through. Treatments for anxiety often include therapy and medication.

Take time to listen to your child

Allowing your child to talk to you about their fears may help them find ways to escape cycles of anxious thinking. You want to send the message that while fears are real, your child can overcome them. This attitude can help your child build up their tolerance of stress.

Model healthy ways of handling anxiety yourself

Think about how you can better manage the stress in your life, knowing that your child watches what you do. Respond to your own stress in ways you can feel good about. Your choices can help build your child’s stress muscles.

Many kids are learning to manage their feelings and cope with fears for the first time. With help from caring adults, they can learn to overcome anxiety and adapt to the ups and downs of life.