Billie Eilish recently opened up about her childhood anxiety, telling the world how she shared a bed with her parents until the age of 11 and how emotionally distraught she would be if she couldn’t.
when talking with Sunday times magazine, they said, “I couldn’t be far from my parents. I was worried about what would happen to them, I was worried about what would happen to me, I was worried about being forgotten… I couldn’t sleep alone. If I woke up and my parents weren’t in bed, the lights were off I’d scream until they got to the door.”
Children tend to display anxiety in different and similar ways to adults, especially due to the fact that they may not always have the words to express that what they are feeling is anxiety. Oftentimes, they will show it through their actions, crying and screaming as Billy mentioned, but also in ways that may not be obvious.
in “9 surprising physical symptoms of children’s anxiety“, we see that anxiety can manifest as what might be considered a common physical ailment or symptom. What is actually a symptom of anxiety can sound like a physical ailment, like a stomach bug.
Some of these symptoms can look like this:
- Digestive problems
It’s important to know these signs of anxiety in children because unlike an adult who can say, “Hey, I’m dealing with some serious anxiety. I need a minute,” kids may not be able to communicate the same.
Fortunately, however, there are ways to help manage anxiety in children as caregivers and adults.
As we have seen in5 anxiety-reducing tools to use with childrenThere are different exercises we can do to support children with their anxiety such as:
1. Dragon breath.
A creatively framed breathing exercise because you teach the kids. When you ask a child to breathe the dragon, you will ask him to take a deep breath through his nose for a few seconds straight, hold it in, then release it and slowly “inhale the fire.”
Anxiety can be physical and live in the body, so doing yoga or something similar that involves moving your body during deep breathing also can be excellent for helping them get through periods of anxiety.
3. Spaghetti body or progressive muscle relaxation.
This is an exercise where your child exercises pulling and releasing his body back to back, but in a fun way by telling your child to act like “uncooked” spaghetti, which is hard, hard pasta, and then “uncooked” pasta which is loose goose. The idea is for your child to be able to be aware of where the anxiety is hiding in the body, and to become more aware when he or she is feeling irritable.
Billie Eilish isn’t the only one who’s struggled with childhood anxiety. It’s nice that they have their parents to support them through that too. At the end of the day, this is what makes the biggest difference for a child with anxiety – supportive, loving, and engaging parents.
Main image provided by Billie Eilish’s Instagram account