It's perfectly normal for children to have anxiety. In fact, that anxiety is often what keeps your curious toddler from doing something that could land him in the emergency room. But in some cases, a child's anxiety can take over and become debilitating. If you're worried that your child's stress may be getting in the way of his development, there are some early signs your toddler has anxiety that you should be aware of.
As Parents mentioned, separation anxiety, potty training, and even exposure to the evening news can cause stress for many toddlers. And since they may not totally understand what's going on or have the words to tell you how they're feeling, you need to watch for unusual behaviors to give you a clue that something more serious may be going on. Irregular sleep patterns, difficulty accepting change, and reliance on habits are just a few of the signs your toddler is dealing with anxiety.
And while some anxiety is natural, it is important to know when it's something more serious. As Parents pointed out, when stress interferes with your child's daily life and development, you may need to consult your doctor.
More than likely, your toddler will grow out of some of his anxieties as he matures, as Baby Center suggested. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help him manage his emotions. As Parents mentioned, monitoring media exposure, following a consistent schedule, and offering extra affection can help your toddler cope with his feelings of anxiety.
1. Routine Rules
Most children thrive in environments where there is structure in place. But toddlers with anxiety simply cannot live without it. As Hey Sigmund mentioned, an anxious toddler will melt down in the face of a change in plans or routine.
2. Trouble Sleeping
Worrying about an important meeting, a stack of bills, or a sick loved one can prevent most adults from getting a restful sleep. While it may seem like they have it easy, toddlers have their own things that can keep them up at night. As Kids Health mentioned, toddlers who have chronic sleep issues at night, may be dealing with anxiety.
3. They Don't Like To Get Dirty
To some kids, there's nothing better than splashing around in a muddy puddle. But toddlers with anxiety think dirt is a dirty word, and go out of their way to keep themselves clean, according to Hey Sigmund. They may also insist on washing their hands several times per day.
4. Mums The Word
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, children dealing with anxiety may refuse to speak in certain situations. They may also choose to avoid eye contact or withdraw from the situation all together. This behavior can come as surprise to caregivers, who are used to their child being talkative and comfortable at home.
5. Reliance On Habits
If you find that your child has a habit that she turns to when she's feeling uncomfortable, it may be a sign that she is trying to cope with stress. According to Parents, your child's reliance on habits such as thumb sucking, hair chewing, or nail biting can mean that she is experiencing anxiety.