We think of childhood as a carefree time of play and fun, but in reality, anxiety can manifest in children at nearly any age. We\u2019re taking a look at some of the causes and symptoms of childhood anxiety, along with tactics and techniques you can start using today to help your child stress less. Causes of Anxiety Many studies have been done into what causes anxiety in children. Some have looked at genetics, while others explore environmental factors. Abbe Sechrist, a counselor at Northside Mental Health in Indianapolis, says that the root cause of anxiety is likely a combination of both. \u201cOur society pushes us past our biology,\u201d Sechrist says. \u201cWe haven't evolved as quickly as our society has, and the demands it puts on children to get perfect grades, look or dress a certain way, have certain friends, play sports and master musical instruments, are extremely overwhelming.\u201d No Clue? No Worries! Unsure if your child is struggling with anxiety? Keep in mind that anxiety, even in young children, is totally normal. In fact, standard levels of anxiety are an indicator of healthy development. \u201cGood anxiety forces us to work hard, prepare and problem solve,\u201d Sechrist says. \u201cBut at times we think, \u2018This feeling is so bad; I have to get rid of it.\u2019 In actuality, it\u2019s very normal.\u201d So, when does it become a problem? Jillian Wise, Ph.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist with Children\u2019s Resource Group, says that parents need to look at the impact of their child\u2019s anxiety. \u201cIf it means that they can't function at school, or they can't make it through a trip to the grocery store, we start to feel it\u2019s affecting the child\u2019s ability to get through their day.\u201d Worry Signs You know your child better than anyone, so you\u2019re likely to be the first person to feel something may be off. However, the signs of childhood anxiety can often be mistaken for other issues. Here are some of the most common: \tTrouble with separation \tFrequent tantrums or meltdowns \tChanges in eating or sleeping habits \tRegression in some behaviors, like toilet training \tAnger, stubbornness or obstinacy Don\u2019t Worry, Be Happy There are many ways parents can be proactive in helping their children manage symptoms of anxiety and develop healthy coping skills. \tCommunicate Children often lack the ability or the vocabulary to explain to you what\u2019s wrong. Talk to them on their level, using words they understand. Sechrist says that listening is just as important. \u201cListening and being available as a non-judgmental sounding board is so important,\u201d she says. \u201cHear what they\u2019re saying, and ask if they know how to solve it. If they don\u2019t, that\u2019s when you step in to support them.\u201d \tModel With children, it\u2019s important to practice what you preach. You can\u2019t expect them to feel calm and worry-free when you\u2019re throwing off your own anxious vibes. Anna Merrill, a psychologist with Children\u2019s Resource Group, says that modeling appropriate behavior is key.\u201cParents can\u2019t expect a child to go into stressful situations if they aren\u2019t modeling for their kids how they manage their own anxiety,\u201d Merrill says. \u201cJust talking about it and modeling what your own coping skills look like can be really helpful for young kids.\u201d \tCalm When it comes to helping your kids stay calm, just remember \u201cM&M\u201d \u2014 mindfulness and meditation. Helping your children learn to be present and focused can give them the skills they need to reduce their stress and manage the anxiety they feel. It may be setting \u201cphone-free\u201d hours to keep them away from anxiety-inducing social media, it might be a family board game night, or a few moments of quiet meditation with a soothing sound machine. \tReach Out If you do feel that your child\u2019s anxiety is impacting their ability to function on a daily basis, it\u2019s time to seek help. Merrill says your pediatrician is your first line of defense. \u201cYour primary care physician is where you can talk about what\u2019s going on and how significant, frequent or extreme it is,\u201d she says. \u201cThey might then refer you to a psychologist for testing or treatment.\u201d Additionally, get to know your child\u2019s school counselor, and don\u2019t be afraid to ask for help. It can be frightening and painful to watch your child deal with the difficulties of anxiety. Remember that, at any age, some anxiety is normal and healthy. If it becomes a problem, there are many strategies you can employ to help them manage their feelings, and many skilled professionals ready and waiting to help.