My first experience as a mother was quite traumatic as my baby would often cry and I was confused about how to help and keep her calm. I had so many restless days and sleepless nights, sometimes worried and frightened, and expressing fear of losing a child. Owing to this experience, I became challenged and began to carefully study my child to assess the causes and how to provide solutions to her anxiety. To a large extent, I was able to achieve success and my discoveries helped me in raising my other children with ease and fun
Related Article: How do I Soothe a Crying Baby?
Undoubtedly, every human exhibits some level of anxieties but its causes vary with age. What causes anxiety in toddlers differs from what causes anxiety in preschoolers, teenagers, and so on. However, if any of the causes are not properly managed at an early age, it may extend to older age; thus, it will affect a child’s life and create worries for the parents. Therefore, to prepare mothers for soothing and successful parenting, I bring to you the causes and ways to which you can address anxiety in your child at a different age.
Anxiety in infants/toddlers
This happens to be a common cause of restlessness in all toddlers. The need to feed is often expressed by crying since, at this age, they are unable to express their needs by talking. Although rocking a hungry child in your arms may help her calm for a while, the only way to indeed calm her down is to feed her (breastfeed or formula) depending on her feeding style.
- Feeling sleepy
When your baby wants to sleep, she’ll expect some level of attention and cuddle from you to keep her warm and feel safe to sleep. Not getting the attention at that time may result in crying and uneasiness. You should know that your toddler will cry for each of her needs, so it sometimes becomes difficult and frustrating to determine her need when she cries and become restless. However, cuddling, rocking, and breastfeeding your child will calm her, and then she will fall asleep.
Many factors may contribute to your child’s discomfort that makes her anxious. Some of such factors may be a wet diaper, bad lying posture, preparing to poo, and so on. Attend to her accordingly, carefully position her on your chest (chest to chest), and gently pat her on the back. With all these, she’ll find comfort in your warmth and she’ll be just fine.
This seems to be a tough development stage every child must pass through. Teething in toddlers is usually accompanied by high temperature, loss of appetite, and frequent pooing. Owing to these effects, your child requires undivided attention as she will often feel weak and restless, and your comfort will be enough to keep her calm, free of pain, and safe. For the temperature, a cool water bath will do the trick.
If perhaps your child has an unbearable high temperature or becomes very weak as a result of the frequent pooing and loss of appetite, it is recommended you take her to see your midwife or doctor for medical attention.
Anxiety in preschoolers
- Separation from parents of caregiver
Every child learns indelibly who their parents or any caregiver are and they get used to such persons at around six months old. From this stage upward, any form of separation between you and the child will generate fear and anxiety in your child’s mind. She won’t feel safe in the hands of anyone else other you. If such a child is taken to Nursery school for the first time, she will cry and may develop a high temperature for the entire school hours or even the entire day. Afterwards, she would get used to the school environment as she enjoys the company of her new playmates.
Although your child may overcome separation anxiety as she grows older, it can be easily dealt with at an early age and I recommend this as it may negatively affect you (parents) as well as your child if it is not quickly controlled or managed. As your child becomes unnecessarily attached to you at all times, you may lose concentration on your job especially if you are a working-class mother. I am sure we know what that can be translated to.
So help your child to manage this separation anxiety at an early stage by gradually leaving her with someone she knows and see often so that she still feels comfortable and safe while you are not around. When you leave, give her toys or any comforting items she’s familiar with. Make saying goodbye seems fun and positive so that whenever you are about to leave her and you say goodbye, she will be happy and at peace to say it to you as well. With these few tips, be sure that she will happily get used to not having you around occasionally and you won’t have to worry about her crying over your absence.
- Phobias or fear
Many children have something, insects, animals, or someone they fear. So whenever such a thing is around them, they get nervous and uneasy. In such situations, make yourself available at that time and give your child a warm embrace as that will reassure her of being safe. However, in my experience I haven’t discovered a measure to overcome these fears; they happen to go away on their own as your child grows.
- Meeting new people
New place, new house, new school and meeting new people she’s not familiar with can also make your child anxious. This cause of anxiety is quite common among children of this age range and beyond, so there is no cause for panicking, it is normal. When anxiety is not normal is when it starts affecting her everyday life negatively as some children may insist not to attend the new school so as not to meet up with new pupils.
Inviting her friends to your home with you and her other siblings around can help her get along with the new environment. Taking her out for adventures with her mates can also be effective and also ensure to often discuss with her.
I have observed that there is no “one size fits all” in helping your child overcome anxiety, children’s response or adjustment rate through these measures differ depending on a child’s personality. In essence, the best measure is to study your child well, understand her needs, and deal with her needs accordingly. What can be better than this?
Thank you for your time and don’t forget to comment and ask questions, we will gladly respond to your questions to the best of our ability and welcome any comments made.