More Than Tummy Trouble: Signs Of Anxiety In Young Children And The Ways You’re Making It Worse

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anxiety in toddlers

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Thumb-sucking, fingernail biting and heavy reliance on self-soothing behaviors

For me it’s nervous laugh. When I encounter situations that are awkward or emotionally charged, I‘ll often laugh to break the tension, no matter how inappropriate it may seem. We all have nervous ticks or self-soothing behaviors that help us cope with difficult or uncomfortable situations. My four-year-old will often fake sneeze followed by the claim, “I’m feeling a little sick,” when she is placed on the spot or addressed by a stranger or someone she’s not completely familiar with. Coping mechanisms can be a healthy way to handle stress unless they are completely getting in the way of your child performing or navigation through routine situations. The key is to not punish your child because of the behavior, but to identify what is causing it and providing healthy alternatives to deal with nervousness. In addition, I never put pressure on my child to perform or engage with people to put THEIR feelings at ease. My four-year-old is allowed to be reserved or withdrawn as she continues to become acclimated to new experiences and different social situations.

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