Early Signs of Childhood Anxiety


Signs of anxiety in children can develop at almost any age, but most children who develop an anxiety disorder show signs before puberty.

There are several types of anxiety disorders. Each one is characterized by its own set of signs and symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders involve thoughts of fear or worry that interfere with daily life. Below are some signs that a child or teen may have an anxiety disorder. All of these feelings and behaviors can and do occur in youth without anxiety disorders; for those with anxiety, these feelings are more intense, more persistent, and they interfere with day-to-day functioning.

Youth with anxiety disorders may be:

  • Uncomfortable in social situations or in front of others
  • Worried constantly or having thoughts of “what if?”
  • Resistant to meet other kids or go on playdates
  • Emotional or angry before or during separation from parents or loved ones
  • Short of breath or suddenly panicked
  • Desperate for reassurance and approval from parents or others
  • Fearful of making mistakes (even little ones) and fixated on perfection
  • Experiencing frequent headaches or stomachaches without medical reason

These are only some possible signs of an anxiety disorder. Remember, if you are concerned that your child may have an anxiety disorder, you should consult a mental health professional for a diagnosis.