Beat the Worry Bug

Isn’t it incredible, that in a world where we have more money, more cures, more surveillance and more safety nets… We also have more anxiety than ever before? And our kids are feeling it! – Dr John Irvine.

Do you feel your child might be suffering from anxiety related issues? Use the “Anxiety Symptom Checklist” to identify symptoms of unhealthy anxiety.

Anxiety Symptom Checklist

  • Dry mouth and swallowing difficulties or hoarseness
  • Rapid  breathing and heartbeat
  • Twitching or trembling
  • Muscle tension and headache
  • Appetite changes
  • Sweating
  • Nausea, diarrhoea and weight loss
  • Sleeplessness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Frequent urination
  • Memory problems
  • Constant seeking of attention and reassurance

If you recognise your child’s behaviour in the Anxiety Symptom Checklist, read the checklist below to help you find out what’s troubling your child.

What’s bugging my child?

  • First and foremost, take your child for a medical check-up. There are many medical disorders that have similar symptoms to anxiety, so talk to your doctor to rule out any medical causes. If you get the “all clear,” move to the other checks.
  • Do a parent self-check. If you’re an anxious person, then your little worrier may be copying your coping style.
  • Do a management check. Many panicky kids come from homes where parents reward their child’s anxiety by fixing it for them. The result is that kids don’t learn how to manage their problems, but rely more and more on a parent sorting it out for them.
  • Do a context check. Try to note where and when these anxieties are at their worst. Could it be in the morning before school or upon arriving home in the afternoon? Maybe it’s related to an unfamiliar location or activity?
  • Do a home environment check. Is the pace too fast? Is the family too busy? Is the morning routine chaotic? Is there too much going on after school? And don’t forget to take a look at what the kids are watching on TV and DVDs – some are quite scary.
  • Check for any attachment issues. Does the child feel safe and secure with you? Are you super critical of them or yourself? Can your family fix the problem when things inevitable go wrong?

These checklists have been adapted from renowned child psychologist Dr John Irvine’s new book Helping Young Worriers Beat the WorryBug. The book is an easy-to-read, practical and fun-filled guide of therapeutic ideas and activities aimed at parents and educators to help children develop strategies to effectively manage their emotions. It is available exclusively from Educational Experience at