A Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine practising Holistic Health Care in the Woodbridge, Vaughan, Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, and Toronto areas since 2001.

Woodbridge Naturopath: How to Help Childhood Anxiety

If your child is suffering from stress, anxiety, stomach problems, or fear of school, and needs relief, read on for some insights on what you can do to help.

Over the last several years, I have seen a distinct rise in anxiety amongst children.  Their parents are bringing them in for abdominal complaints (“stomach aches”, lack of appetite, nausea), nightmares, insomnia, difficulty breathing, and increased ‘tic’ behaviours.  These are usually correlated with going to school, meeting unfamiliar people, school peers, being away from their home, etc.  Sometimes, the symptoms are very apparent (like crying), but often they are very stealth.  Children will not always talk about it, but may suffer in silence until the astute parent takes notice.

In my experience, I’ve found that unexplained “stomach” pain is a big clue to childhood anxiety, once more serious issues have been ruled out.  I put “stomach” in quotation marks because often the ache/pain/nausea are being felt throughout the abdomen, as well as the lower chest.  It’s fairly common that people will describe anywhere in their abdomen as their “stomach”, even if it’s not.

Sometimes, this feeling of anxiety is related to some traumatic event that has taken place.  An episode in a car (like an accident, a panic attack), an event in the schoolyard (like bullying), or just about anything deemed threatening by a young mind/body, can spark the effect.  I remember when I was young, an incident between a car and a train track was enough to keep me terrified and without appetite or sleep for many months, if not years.

Your child may not want to talk to you about their fears.  Or, perhaps, they’re not clear about what the fears are, themselves.

For me, the most disheartening types of anxiety to see are those that occur due to stress at school.  Fear of failure. When I see a 6 or 7 year-old unable to function because they feel they are going to fail at school, that they  won’t get an A or an A+ on their assignment, I find it very alarming.  With a life full of stress ahead of them, a 6 year old should be able to relax and enjoy their childhood.

Perhaps some day, our society will have slowed down a little in key areas, that will allow them to play and relax.  In the meantime, what can you do as a parent?

Diets have lots of sugar these days, and processed foods are full of sugar.  Taking your child off of sugar will help to calm down an already stressed nervous system.  If your child has an appetite and is eating, guide them towards whole foods, fruits and vegetables.

I’m all for simplicity.  It may be tempting to buy your 6-year old a cellphone, but do they need it?  Who do they need to call or text at age 6?  Other electronic devices may be available in the home, which is necessary these days, but do they really need one of their own?  The electronics that kids are playing with may be adding a dimension of chaos to their lives.

Tell them a story.  If they are worried about failure, why not share with them a personal story about failure (yours or someone else’s).  If it will help them to not feel alone, it may be quite soothing for them.  I was a perfectionist at school.  I remember my mother telling me a story about personal failure, and it just helped to shift my entire outlook, and seriously decrease the anxiety.

Naturopathic care for your child could be extremely helpful.  Homeopathic remedies can help to shift the anxiety, and are very gentle in young children.  Other tools are EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which is fun and easy to do, and BodyTalk, which can help to get at some of those old (or recent) memories.

Take a good look at your child’s behaviour, and look for signs of stress.  If there is acute pain, it needs to be checked out by your medical doctor or hospital.  However, if all potentially serious issues have been ruled out, then consider anxiety.  And Naturopathic Medicine.  Your child does not need to suffer in silence.

Call now for your free 15-minute consult, to see how I can help your child.

Linda Brown, ND  Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
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Dr. Linda L. Brown, BA, ND is a registered Naturopathic Doctor, BodyTalk and EFT Practitioner, and Registered BioEnergetics Practitioner. Her mission is to teach and inspire people to live in a healthier, more balanced way, so they can enjoy the life of their dreams.

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