What should adults do if they observe signs of anxiety in children?

Worried parents

When children show signs of anxiety, experts say it is important to reassure them without denying the feeling.

"Don't say everything is OK," said Mary Benischeck, an elementary school counselor and member of the Antietam Education Association. "Don't deny the feeling because obviously [the child] does not feel OK. It's better to ask, 'What are you worried about?'"

Caring adults should listen and explain that they will help the child work through their anxiety, Benischeck said. It's also important to set a routine and stick to it as much as possible.

Parents or guardians should also monitor questionable behaviors in children closely.

"Understanding the frequency, duration, and intensity of the behaviors will help to determine how serious the problem is," said Charlene Koretz, a certified school nurse and a member of the Colonial Education Association.

"Seek outside help if the problem continues or worsens," added Rosary Pennington, a high school counselor and member of the Clarion Area Education Association. "Turn to the school counselor, teachers, or nurses for recommendations or contact a local mental health provider."

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