Anxiety is an everyday term, but what do we mean by it? Anxiety involves a sense of apprehension, with accompanying physiological reactions, typically associated with worrying about the future.
How does anxiety present itself in children? There are three main ways:
physiological reactions such as increased heart rate, tense muscles, tummy aches and headaches
behavioural responses such as clinging to a parent, asking for reassurance and avoiding or escaping from challenging situations
cognitive aspects such as worrying, expecting they won’t be able to manage situations, and expecting the worst to happen
Developmental changes occur in anxiety: for example, worries emerge in infants about separation from their parents, and this worry may also become strong in toddlers, but usually reduces as children get older.