So, Rebecca, we're gonna talk about anxiety,
and how it doesn't just affect adults,
it affects people of all ages,
and that includes children as well.
Should we start off by defining what is anxiety,
and how does that differ from, I guess, normal feelings
of being anxious that we get from time to time?
So, we all get feelings of worry,
or fear in response to certain situations.
Where it starts to go into anxiety
is where you're getting those feelings regularly,
even though you don't have that external pressure.
And where it's having an impact on your life,
and you're getting symptoms more often than you're not.
You know, when we talk about anxiety,
the reason why we want to address it early
is because longer term,
it can lead to behavioural and physical problems.
So it's best to address it as early as possible.
Thinking about children,
what might be some of the common triggers
or some of the causes of anxiety in children?
Children can be really disrupted
by things that adults may not find traumatic.
Things like a house move, for example,
or a change in school, addition of a new sibling.
But also, you know, some children will be,
unfortunately, affected by very traumatic experiences,
such as a bereavement in the family.
So those can also be triggers.
And I think finally, you know,
it's difficult as a family, but family conflict,-
Can be really upsetting for children,
and can all be triggers.
And how might it present itself in a child?
It's very variable, isn't it?
Because actually we are talking about a wide age range.
But broadly a change in the child's behaviour
either at home and/or at school.
You know, we should be aware of those as symptoms.
So a child that suddenly becomes really clingy,
doesn't want to go into school at all,
is anxious if they, you know,
can't hold your hand when they're walking along the street.
A child that becomes more irritable or really tearful,
and changes in sleep in particular.
You know, a child that's waking up
in the middle of the night, can't go to sleep
or even a regression in terms of behaviour,
such as suddenly wetting the bed
when they were dry before can all be red flags.
So what's some of the ways
in which we can start to manage anxiety in children?
I think first of all,
how can we have the conversation with them?
How can we talk to them, like you said,
children of all different ages.
I'm sure there'll be different techniques.
And then what are some of the strategies we can try
and put in place to manage anxiety with our children?
So when we're talking about talking to your child,
it may not just be a single conversation.
It might be multiple conversations
over a long period of time
to kind of really uncover what's going on.
And sometimes, depends on the age of the child,
but sometimes having a conversation
that's not directed at the child.
Yeah. So, you know,
talking about their favourite cuddly toy.
You know, "Do you think Teddy might be a bit worried
Do you think Teddy might be having some symptoms
that are actually because of worries that Teddy is having?"
Do you think watching TV programmes together as well
Or sometimes even,- Yeah.
In children's TV programmes,
helping them sort of start to recognise what anxiety is
by talking about other people on shows or TV?
And I think definitely when we are also talking about,
you know, a family that might be going through a divorce,
or a traumatic event like a bereavement, you know,
reading books that address that,
or watching TV programmes about those particular events,
and how children have coped with it
could be really helpful as well.
What about slightly older children?
So, I think with them you can start
to have that conversation about that link
between the thoughts and worries that we have in our head
and the physical symptoms,
to try and make that connection for them.
And you know, a lot of that is about role modelling.
You're talking about your own experience
and what has worked for you,
and actually just spending the time
to be able to deal with coping mechanisms with them.
And you mentioned about being a role model.
I think it's important we remember
that we're such important role models for our children,
and self-care is important for the parent as well.
Especially, it's very difficult if you have a child
who is experiencing any mental health problems.
So, that self care is crucial.
You know, and I think there's ways of role modelling,
ways to deal with the anxiety as well,
you know, things like creating a worry box
that your child can put worries into could be something
that you do as a family.
Breathing exercises like breathing in for three seconds,
holding for three seconds,
and then breathing out for three seconds could be something
that you do with your child.
And if families feel like they need more support
than that, where can they go to access it?
So, it's really important
that families seek help sooner rather than later.
There's lots of resources out there.
I think it's really good to contact the child's school,
you know, linking with their teacher.
It may be something that, you know, you are not experiencing
at home that actually the teacher's able to add to.
There's often counselling or pastoral services at school
who can also support a child in that setting.
And I'd always recommend people to go and speak to their GP.
They're a great first port of call,
and they can, you know, support you
with the talking therapies, with the meditation,
with all of those things, not just with, you know,
referral and medication options, et cetera.