Hyperactivity or anxiety upon going to new places or facing new situations
Anxiety and hyperactivity in children can be a cause of concern for parents, but with the right treatment and support, most children can learn to manage their anxiety and behavior.
It is not uncommon for children to feel anxious or hyperactive when faced with new situations or environments. However, if your child's behavior is impacting their daily life and functioning, it may be cause for concern. Read on to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for anxiety and hyperactivity in children.
What Causes Anxiety and Hyperactivity in Children?
There are many reasons why a child may feel anxious or hyperactive when faced with new situations or environments:
Sensory processing difficulties
Changes in routine
Sensory seeking behavior
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety and Hyperactivity in Children
Here are some common signs and symptoms of anxiety and hyperactivity that parents may observe in their child:
Feeling overwhelmed by the sensory input in new environments
Difficulty adapting to changes in routine
Seeking out sensory input when faced with new situations
Struggling with the social and communication demands of new situations
Here are some possible scenarios where a child may feel anxious or hyperactive when facing new situations or environments:
A child with sensory processing difficulties may feel overwhelmed by the sensory input in new environments. For example, the bright lights, loud noises, and unfamiliar smells of a new shopping center or crowded restaurant may trigger anxiety or hyperactivity.
A child who struggles with changes in routine may feel anxious or hyperactive when faced with new situations. For example, a child who is used to a strict routine at home may have difficulty adapting to a new school schedule or a family vacation.
A child who is sensory seeking may become hyper or seek out sensory input when faced with new situations. For example, a child who enjoys jumping on trampolines may become hyperactive when they see a new trampoline park.
A child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may struggle with the social and communication demands of new situations. For example, a child with ASD may feel anxious or overwhelmed when faced with a new social situation or when they need to communicate with unfamiliar people.
Treatment for Anxiety and Hyperactivity in Children
If you suspect that your child is experiencing anxiety or hyperactivity, there are several treatment options available:
Seek professional help: Consider seeking the help of a professional such as an occupational therapist or behavioral therapist who can provide guidance and support.
Prepare your child in advance: Talk to your child about what to expect in the new situation or environment. Use pictures or visual schedules to help them understand what is happening next.
Offer sensory breaks: Provide opportunities for your child to take sensory breaks throughout the day, especially during times of transition or when they seem overwhelmed. This may include activities like deep pressure, movement, or tactile input.
Practice exposure therapy: Gradually expose your child to new situations or environments in a controlled and supportive way. Start with small steps and build up to more challenging experiences.
Use calming strategies: Teach your child calming strategies that they can use when they feel anxious or hyperactive. This may include deep breathing, visualization, or mindfulness techniques.
Anxiety and hyperactivity in children can be a cause of concern for parents, but with the right treatment and support, most children can learn to manage their anxiety and behavior. If you suspect that your child is experiencing anxiety or hyperactivity, seek the advice of a professional for further evaluation and treatment. With the right support and guidance, your child can reach their full potential and thrive in new situations.