Anxiety – Young/School-Age Children

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. In fact, anxiety is normal.It alerts us to threats, protects us from danger, and helps us reach important goals.

However, it is also one of the most common mental health concerns for children, adolescents, and adults.  One in four people will experience significant anxiety over their lifespan. Recognizing anxiety – how it looks, how it works, and what we can do about it – will help us recognize if it becomes a problem.

Anxiety is often felt in all parts of life. It can be felt physically and emotionally and is experienced through our actions and responses to situations and how we function throughout the day. Do we make decisions or rely on others? Is the day focused or disorganized? Are there activities avoided or missed altogether?

Anxiety might be a problem when behaviours and responses are stronger or more frequent than you would expect, last longer than expected, or feel out of control. To lead a healthy, happy life, it’s important to deal with anxiety before it become a problem or causes significant disruption . Learn more about anxiety.

How to support a child’s mental health

Children and youth often have more fears than adults when trying to make sense of their world. Anxiety can even be identified in young children.

Common causes of anxiety in children can include:

It is essential to consider the child’s age and expectations when considering anxiety. Rewarding brave behaviour and coping skills can help children face fears, take reasonable risks, and ultimately gain confidence.

  • Let your child experience the challenges of life rather than shielding against them. Be there for guidance, but try not to solve every problem for them. Use positive discipline rather than harsh techniques (i.e. yelling).
  • Adjust your parenting style to your child’s temperament.
  • Provide structure and support for your child in a reliable and calm environment that allows your child to explore.
  • Help your child understand and express their feelings in positive ways.
  • Encourage and help your child to make friends.
  • If you have questions or concerns about your child’s mental health and wellbeing, reach out for help.

Services related to this information:

  • Doorways: rapid ‘one session at a time’ counselling services.
  • Bridge the gapp
    Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘go-to’ website for mental health information. Bridge the gapp offers self-help resources, links to local services, and invites people to share their personal stories. Bridge the gapp is free of cost and available to every resident in the province. The site is divided into adult and youth sections, however many services are appropriate for both.
  • Strongest Families Children and Youth Programs
    Free skill-based educational programs for children, youth, adults, and families seeking help to improve mental health and well-being.
  • Mental health and addictions services
  • Contact your Public Health Nurse
  • Contact your physician/nurse practitioner
  • 811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555
    • 811 is free and confidential. 811 is available 24/7 and can provide support with mental health and addictions issues and more.
    • Services formerly offered by the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line are now offered by 811. Call 811 to speak with a registered nurse who is also a trained crisis intervener.
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Last updated: 2022-06-09