Anxiety is one of the most common mental problems in Americans.
In the last decade, the number of people with anxiety has only grown. What is more worrying is that anxiety is present in significant numbers among school kids as well.
As expected, sleep problems are linked with anxiety in kids as well. Sleep problems are common among kids. Moreover, sleep problems among kids are more common than we believe.
Kids who are naturally more anxious, or going through a personal drama or even a transition to a new school can experience a number of problems. Anxiety is one of them, and here is how it affects them.
How to Help a Child with School Anxiety Sleep Well
Kids have problems of their own. Many believe that the only things kids should do is study, and everything else can be solved. However, kids are sensitive beings, and they can react differently to their surroundings.
Moreover, they can have a hard time processing some changes and overcoming some obstacles. Therefore, they might have trouble sleeping. They might have difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, or even waking up too early.
They can also have issues experiencing nightmares and deal with various daytime stress levels.
Kids with poor sleep quality are prone to developing the most significant anxiety and depression, and even have more trouble adjusting to new circumstances over time.
On top oft hat, ongoing sleep probes take seriously affect a child’s performance at school, as well as her or his mental and physical health.
Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to ease your child’s anxiety during the day and help your child sleep better at night. Here is what you can do.
1. Talk With Your Child
Putting fears into words is the first step to proper healing.
Words can help your child feel more of a control, and give that feeling of stable management. It’s also important how you ask questions.
Avoid direct anxiety-related questions, such as “Are you anxious about school?” This can make your child pulled back, and you will have more problems getting your child to talk openly about the issue.
Instead, try a bit different approach, and ask your child open-ended questions such as “How do you feel about the start of school?”
Questions like this can inspire your child to talk more openly about issues and create a space for mutual solutions. You are stronger together.
2. Have A Schedule
Routine is important when it comes to having a good sleep habit. Kids of all ages find routines comforting, actually.
You might believe in the opposite, but kids love to have order, and they love to stick to it.
They may not understand now why it’s important to keep the same sleeping schedule, but they will be grateful once they are all grown up. It’s important for kids to maintain consistent times for homework, after school obligations, such as sports, meals, chores, and bed.
Establish these routines a few weeks before school starts to keep your child on the right track when it comes to sleeping habits. This is a sure way to create a habit. Also, having family rituals to look forward to can be priceless.
This way, you will also work on the emotional support of your child and create essential memories forever.
Make sure that you include a day for your child to just chill.
One day do something that your child loves and enjoys. For example, you can have a game-night every Friday.
By doing so, you can help channel a child’s stress into positive anticipation.
3. Teach Yoru Child How To Relax
Various techniques can help anyone relieve some stress in certain situations. Some of the most common techniques include:
- Deep breathing
- Visualizing a calm place
- Doing gentle stretches
- Have a mantra, such as “I can handle this.”
4. Create Bedtime Rituals
Think about a digital curfew. Have kids place screens far away from the hand reach. Avoid any screening at least two hours before bedtime.
This way you will help their bodies release more sleep-inducing melatonin.
Use the time before bed to give your child a warm shower or bath, read a book, listen to gentle music, play games with toys, or engage in a moderate activity such as coloring.
School stress can be significant and can never go overnight.
By using these approaches regularly, you will slowly help your child relax, which will lead to less daytime anxiety and better sleep over time.
5. Be Active
It’s no secret that physical activity can do wonders for everyone’s health. Of course, the same applies to kids, as well. Talk with your kid about sports habits, and it would be if a sport becomes an everyday practice.
There are several different options when it comes to regular sports activities.
Sport can make you kid:
- Feel better
- Have a feeling of achivement
- Experience how it feels to ba a part of a team
- Deal with conflict situations
- Make your kid stronger, both physically and mentally
Also, regular sports activities will make your kid tired. Tired kid means a better sleeper. However, avoid heavy exercise before bedtime, because it can also disturb one’s sleep.
If you see that your child still troubles with sleep, you should contact your primary care pediatrician.
This is the only way to rule out medical causes of anxiety and sleeplessness, including:
Your pediatrician is also the only one who can provide, if needed, anxiety medication and treat uncomplicated anxiety without an immediate referral to psychiatry.
However, during the first visit, your pediatrician can refer to a sleep center for a sleep study or other tests if needed.
Some persistent sleep problems are usually related to behavior in kids.
These problems can happen at bedtime or during the night. Also, these sleep problems include your child:
- Calling out while in bed
- Getting out of bed during the night
- Refusing to sleep in his/her bed
- Having trouble sleep
- Waking up often at night
- Feeling anxious
- Sleeping at irregular times
Common physical problems that trouble adults, such as nocturia or restless leg syndrome aren’t common in children, so if your child frequently gets up during the night, you may guess that your child is anxious.
In some cases, these sleep problems can be treated with specific behavior strategies to reduce the behavior that’s causing the problem.
For example, if you child has a habit of frequently getting out of bed at night, and uses that as a way of keeping you around, you minimize the amount of talking and eye contact you give him each time you gently return him to bed.
Persistent Sleep Problems And Consecuences
Persistent sleep problems usually mean not enough sleep for a child. However, if one family member has frequent sleep problems, it will eventually affect the entire family.
Poor sleep will affect regular daily activities in a child, such as:
- Poor memory
- The need for more naps
- Difficulties waking up for school
- Poor academic productivity
- Problems with concentration
- Difficulty understanding instructions
Lack of sleep in a child can also lead to various mental issues, such as:
- Childhood depression
- Teenage depression
- Childhood anxiety
- Teenage anxiety
The Bottom Line
Sleep problems are common among anxious kids. Still, to make this an official statement, you should know if your child is anxious or not.
The best way is to monitor your child’s behaviors, take openly about the school situation, and track a child’s sleeping habits. Poor sleep can affect every aspect of life, and it can eventually disturb everyone’s sleep in the family.
Always talk with your pediatrician or doctor to rule out any medical issues. In the meantime, you can check the most frequent questions about kids and school anxiety.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep In a Child with School Anxiety
1. How Can I Help My Child With School Anxiety?
If your child is anxious, your first obligation is to help your child manage anxiety. Here is what you can do:
- Talk about the problem
- Don’t avoid things because they make a child anxious, but find a mutual solution on how to address them
- Express realistic, but positive expectations
- Always respect the child’s feelings
- Don’t ask healing questions
2. Does Childhood Anxiety Go Away?
You should know that severe anxiety rarely does aways. That’s why it’s important to notice the problem early, so you can manage it.
Anxiety symptoms are common in children after a disturbing experience, but luckily, over time and direct work with children, most children do bounce back from them.
3. What Are Signs Of Anxiety In A Child?
Children with true anxiety symptoms experience can experience the following:
- Difficulties concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Hard time concentrating