A lot of children may experience abdominal pain before an exam at school or an important sports game. This is due to the increased stress level and it is a sign of anxiety which is a cause for concern.

According to Dr. Nicole Sawangpont Pattamanuch, who is a gastroenterologist, there is a link between abdominal pain and anxiety. She explains that stress and anxiety are quite common conditions in children who are also prone to various other mental disorders which affect the way they learn, behave, and express their emotions. Such disorders include ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), behavioral disorders, and depression.

Unfortunately, these disorders are often overlooked and untreated. This is because many parents believe that only adults can be stressed or depressed about something. They are even shocked to find out how many children suffer from such mental disorders. This lack of understanding may additionally affect the children because they don’t know how to differentiate between what is normal and what is wrong.

As a parent, you have to learn how to recognize the signs of anxiety in your children. There are three types of anxiety signs: behavioral, emotional, and physical ones. Here is how to identify them:

  • Behavioral signs of anxiety
  • They often say “I can’t do it”
  • They always seek approval from their parents, teachers, and friends
  • When separating from their parents or loved ones they become very emotional or angry
  • They avoid speaking to strangers or peers in stores and restaurants
  • They avoid socializing
  • They refuse to go to school
  • They are either preoccupied or silent when they are supposed to work with others
  • They refuse to participate in school activities

Emotional signs of anxiety

  • They often have meltdowns or tantrums
  • They display hypersensitivity
  • Sometimes they may experience obsessive thoughts or compulsive behavior
  • They cry quite often
  • They are afraid of making mistakes
  • They become grouchy or angry without any reason
  • They often experience nightmares, especially about losing someone they love
  • They are worried about the future
  • They are afraid that others will find out about their learning or attention problems
  • They usually have phobias or exaggerated fears
  • They have panic attacks

Physical signs of anxiety

  • They have a hard time staying asleep or falling asleep
  • They experience muscle tension
  • When facing intimidating situations they usually shake or sweat
  • They are often fidgety, hyperactive, distracted, and restless
  • They avoid using restrooms, except at home
  • They avoid consuming food at school

They quite often complain of experiencing headaches or stomachaches even if there is no medical reason.
You should note that some children may always display some of these signs which are quite normal for them.

However, if you notice that your children suddenly withdraw from their personal interactions that can be a matter of concern.

In that case, make sure you build a comfortable environment for your children and talk to them about the changes in their behavior. It is also recommendable to teach them some breathing techniques to help them calm down and try some outdoor activities to stimulate their brain and increase their mood. Outdoor activities can improve the hormone balance which enhances both physical and mental health.