The outbreak of COVID-19 is stressful for many people, and children are certainly not immune to the anxiety. It is normal to feel stressed about the unknowns and the future. However, when anxiety gets too high it can have a negative impact on the brain and the body. Children can feel paralyzed and helpless. Consequently, the more knowledgeable we are in helping children cope with their anxiety, the more likely they will have a positive outcome.
At Sutton Psychology Services we provide therapy to individuals with anxiety living in the greater Tampa Bay Area. The following is a brief overview of how anxiety may present in children as well as some resources that may be helpful in your search for help for your child.

What does anxiety look like in children?

  • Irritability
  • Extreme reactions to what appear to be minor events/situations
  • Tics (commonly facial tics)
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Excessive discussion of topics
  • Tantrums (possibly aggression)
  • Reassurance seeking (am I going to be okay?)
  • The most effective treatment approaches for children with anxiety:
  • Behavioral: Reward systems, systematic exposure to the feared stimulus, coping strategies (calming corner, blowing balloons, music, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, etc.)
  • Cognitive: Recognizing and understanding feelings (how thoughts are directly related to feelings and behavior) and then changing the maladaptive thoughts.