Prior to the Covid pandemic, about one in five children have struggled with feelings of fear, hopelessness, and sadness at some time during their development. When children feel anxious, their brains are flooded with feelings of danger or future threat. These powerful feelings and anxious thoughts can lead to emotional dysregulation with physical and behavioral outcomes such as:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dizzy or shakiness
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Stomach aches, nausea, vomiting
- Anger, defiance
- Tantrum outbursts
Sometimes these symptoms that involve children’s thoughts and feelings are called internalizing disorders. For many children these fears or worries won’t last. However, when the symptoms are intense or persist longer than 1-2 months, they can interfere with the child’s ability to attend school, to be away from parents, to focus and concentrate, to get adequate sleep, or to make friends and engage in social activities.