Anxiety or worry can be a healthy emotional response to performance and new situations. It is considered problematic when it becomes chronic (more often than not) and impacts functioning (social life, academic performance, home life).
Signs of Anxiety:
- Finding it difficult to control worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Changes in sleep, especially the ability to fall asleep
- Changes in appetite
- Avoiding everyday activities like seeing friends or going to school
Things you can do at home are talk to your child about their anxiety, focus on what they can do to address the anxiety (vs. avoid). Anxiety often can be managed by problem-solving or approaching the situation.
In the case of performance-based anxiety: reviewing what they have already done to prepare for the anxiety producing situation can help. This also can lead to them identifying what else they might do to prepare. Remind your child that anxiety is often a helpful cue to make and have a game plan.
If your child’s anxiety is chronic and or severe and is impacting their daily life please consider contacting a professional.