Signs of Anxiety in Your Toddler to Watch For

Anxiety does not discriminate by age—even your toddler can face it. Watching for signs of anxiety in your toddler will help you be proactive about their well-being and get them the support they may need.

An Uptick in Self-Soothing Habits

Some self-soothing behaviors are normal as toddlers seek comfort in the familiar. For instance, one of the top reasons kids suck their thumbs is to comfort themselves. Likewise, your child might have a favorite toy or blanket that they turn to when they need emotional support. However, a noticeable increase in these habits can be a red flag. If your child suddenly seems more attached to their self-soothing item or action, or if older children regress to such habits, it might be their way of coping with feelings of anxiety.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

A clear sign of anxiety might manifest in the way your toddler sleeps. If you notice sudden challenges in either falling asleep or staying asleep, these disruptions could point to underlying anxieties. Additionally, noticing an increase in nightmares could also indicate that your child is trying to cope with anxiety. Toddlers might find it hard to articulate their fears, but these unexplained changes in sleep quality can serve as important indicators.

Unexplained Irritability or Mood Swings

Toddlers are known for their mood swings and occasional temper tantrums, so these behaviors might not seem like they should raise concern. However, an increase in these behaviors without a clear trigger might indicate more than just growing pains. Anxiety could be at the root of these mood shifts, especially if your child shows extreme distress during separations or changes in their routine.

Avoidance of Familiar People or Activities

If your usually sociable toddler starts to withdraw from playdates or shows reluctance toward activities they once enjoyed, take notice. Anxiety can make the world seem more daunting, leading to avoidance as a coping mechanism. This withdrawal isn’t limited to strangers or new environments; it could also extend to familiar faces and favorite pastimes.

Understanding and watching for the signs of anxiety in your toddler are the key to unlocking the support and care they need to cope with these feelings. By paying close attention to the behaviors we mentioned here, you can help guide your child through these challenging times with compassion and empathy. If you need to, seek help from pediatricians or child psychologists to get valuable insights and strategies to manage anxiety in young children.

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Kelly Schoessling

Kelly Schoessling is a content writer born and raised in Chicago. She is passionate about food, music, traveling, her dog, and most importantly writing. Focused on SEO, Kelly hopes to continue to grow her writing skills by connecting with fellow writers online and collaborating with innovative and outstanding publishers.

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