Life can be pretty tough and stressors like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can make kids and adults feel even more worried or anxious. As a parent, you can pay attention to anxiety in your child by looking for some of the warning signs listed below.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal response to stressful experiences and situations in your world. Some worry can be helpful but too much can start to get in the way. All kinds of things can make kids feel anxious including academic problems, family conflict, bullying or stressful life events.

Anxiety warning signs

Kids may show anxiety in lots of different ways including with their body, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. You may notice the following warning signs:

  • Changes in breathing or heart rate, shaking, crying, headaches
  • Increased worry thoughts such as:
    • I keep thinking about _____.
    • Is something bad going to happen?
  • Reassurance seeking
    • Am I going to be okay?
  • Changes in mood with increased:
    • Fear or panic
    • Frustration or irritability
    • Sadness
  • Increased behavior problems
  • Decreased attention and focus
  • Trouble sleeping alone
  • Social worries around negative judgment
    • Turning off camera for video meetings
  • School refusal

What do I do if I’m worried about my child’s stress levels?

For some strategies you can try at home, check out our article “Helping Kids Manage Stress and Anxiety.” If you are worried about how your child is feeling or behaving, you should seek help and support from your pediatrician.


Lilia Mucka Andrew Lilia Mucka Andrew, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health at Children's National Hospital.
Erin Sadler Erin M. Sadler, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health at Children's National.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get free parenting tips delivered to your inbox every week!

Related Content

sad mom holding baby
Sad boy sitting in the stairwell
mother and daughter talking
Little girl using tablet computer/tablet with teddy bears in fort
house destroyed by earthquake
girl and boy relaxing on couch
family sending daughter off to college
Schoolboy crying on the street
girl talking to therapist
aromatherapy oils
Sad teen looking at phone
teen girls sitting on bench talking
mother comforting sad child
Lonely sad boy at home
girl being bullied
sad boy with backpack
kids about to get on the school bus
little girl clinging to her dad
group of boys sitting on a tree branch
0 replies

Leave a Comment

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.