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  • Lisa Van der Wielen

ANXIETY IN CHILDREN

The rates of Anxiety in children of today's modern world are extremely alarming. Some recent global studies suggest that around 1 in 4 children are suffering with some form of Anxiety. Why are the rates of Anxiety in our younger generation climbing and more importantly, what can we do about it?





Today's modern world is full of Technology that allows our children to find information at the touch of a button. In many ways, our world is more connected than it has ever been, yet out children are still craving meaningful connection. We now live in such a fast paced world and our children are being raised in a society where everything is instant and based on likes, shares and followers. Social Media, Apps and online games have become a normal part of a child's life, but what impact has that had on children's emotional well being? As a Parent and Educator, I have experienced first hand, the effects of Social Media and the pressures it places on children. I think there needs to be greater research in this area and more educational programs to help children and parents navigate Technology whist prioritising mental health.



Mindfulness needs to made a priority in our daily life and this needs to be taught to children at a young age. Whether it be in the form of reading, meditating, drawing, exercising, beach walks, gardening, getting out in nature, painting or swimming, it is important to find what helps you relax and be mindful that this is different for all of us. Parents and Educators need to model Mindfulness to children and encourage them to find their own strategies that help them feel at peace in today's modern fast-paced world.


Anxiety symptoms in children can vary from anger, behaviour problems and frustration, to withdrawal and avoidance. It is important for Parents and Educators to be aware of the various symptoms in children and to seek help and implement strategies as soon as possible. Symptoms of Anxiety in Children include:

  • finding it hard to concentrate

  • not sleeping, or waking in the night with bad dreams

  • not eating properly

  • quickly getting angry or irritable, and being out of control during outbursts

  • constantly worrying or having negative thoughts

  • feeling tense and fidgety, or using the toilet often

  • always crying

  • being clingy

  • complaining of tummy aches, headaches and feeling unwell

  • needing a lot of reassurance

  • wanting things to be perfect and getting upset if they’re not

Where do parents go for help if they suspect their child is suffering from Anxiety?

  • Your Local GP to get a referral to a Psychologist, Paediatrician, and/or Psychiatrist to develop a Mental Health Care Plan

  • Your child's Teacher and School

  • Child and Mental Health Care Services (CAMHS)

Waiting times to for Mental Health Services for Children are increasingly high due to the extreme demand for these services and increasing rates of Anxiety and Mental Health Conditions in Children. Having to wait over a year to get help is totally unacceptable but unfortunately the situation in many countries at the moment. The whole COVID situation in the world has likely increased Anxiety in children and put further strain on our Health systems.


I believe our Mental Health Care system and our Education system needs a complete reform to deal with the increasing rates of Anxiety and Mental Health issues amongst our growing population. We need to encourage and model the expressing of feelings and our society needs to prioritise creativity and expression in all its forms! My passion to advocate Mental Health for children is what inspired me to write my latest book DUNE.



Dune is a sweet and endearing story about how one little girl learns to conquer her anxiety.


Sometimes, it’s hard for Grace to overcome her anxiety. She tries and tries, but nothing ever seems to help. But one day, when she visits the beach with her family, she finds a cute little surprise in the sand dunes that might change everything… Put your toes in the sand, you will be okay. Let the ripples of water wash your worries away. A wave is a worry, a worry’s a wave, Stand up and face it, and learn to be brave.


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