Imagine Health

Children Experiencing Anxiety During COVID-19

For a few months now we have been in a restricted state of living due to the pandemic that is COVID-19. These restrictions may be causing an array of different emotions for people. However, it is not just adults who are experiencing this. Children have also been drastically affected.

Children’s daily routine of going to school, playing with their friends, engaging in extracurricular activities has been completely changed. This has the potential to cause overthinking and negative thoughts which can lead to an increase in anxiety, among other strong emotions.

What anxiety can look like:

Churn in belly
Problems sleeping (too much/ too little)
Unable to relax
Feeling light-headed
Don’t want to eat
Sense of dread or fearing the worst
Faster breathing
Can’t stop eating
Feeling tense
Pins and needles
Irritable/annoyed easily
Feeling others are looking at you
Faster heart rate
Need to go toilet more
Feeling the work is speeding up and slowing down
Sweating / blushing
Grinding your teeth
Feeling like you can’t stop worrying
Feeling sick
Find hard to concentrate
Worrying about worrying
Head aches
Anger outburst
Keep thinking about bad experiences/things
Trembling/ shakes
Avoiding everyday activities
Feeling out of touch with reality
Muscle tension
Restless/unable to feel content
Worrying about the future

As you can see, anxiety effects how we feel, what we do and what we think. The expression of anxiety can be different for different people. Experiencing anxiety is a normal emotion, however too much can be bad, especially when it is not managed. Good news is, there are many ways to help children manage their anxiety as a parent/guardian.

Routine: Plan the day and have a routine. Keep busy and mix it up.

Goals: Pick 1-3 things a day to achieve, keep them simple. Encourage your child to stick with it, even if they lose interest.

Positive Thinking: Pick a positive phrase every day to say, out loud or to yourself.

Healthy Living: Even though our movements are restricted; still make an effort to exercise.  Make sure to also include healthy eating and a good night’s sleep.

Connect: Just because we cannot physically see friends and family, does not mean we cannot talk or play with them over the phone or online.

Name and Tame it: It can be helpful to pause for a moment and reflect on what you are concerned about. It can be a combination of things. It is easy for issues to get mixed together into one big shadow of anxiety that feels impossible to handle. Recognise what your feeling and know that it is perfectly normal during these challenging times.

If the suggestions above are still not improving much, take the list below and ask your child to try implement at least one a day, however they can do as many as they like:

  1. Do some deep breathing.
  2. Try a guided meditation
  3. Listen to music.
  4. Journal how you feel.
  5. Take time out.
  6. Have a cup of tea.
  7. Start a worry box.
  8. Read a book.
  9. Get out into the sun.
  10. Find a reason to laugh.
  11. Try stay in the moment (focus on the present).
  12. Perspective – try to see positives in the situation.
  13. Plan worry time.
  14. Be kind to yourself.
  15. Talk about how you feel.
  16. Talk to an adult.

Written by,

Alannagh Kelly

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