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My 5 Year Old Son Has Panic Attacks: How Can I Help Him?

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 26 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Panic Attacks Anxiety Attacks Children

Q.

My son Joshua is 5 in Aug 09, I have four children and have never been stumped as to how to handle anything that comes along, however, I really need some advice. Joshua is a happy little boy, very good a school, mixes well with all children and lovely to be around, but he has what I can only call anxiety or panic attacks whenever he is out of his comfort zone.

He wants to go to parties and want to join in with P.E. lessons at school, but he comes over all hot and sweaty and then the diarrhoea follows which can happen 3 or 4 times and he just gets himself into such a state. He has a real hang up on halls, church halls and big play areas. It is truly effecting his lifestyle and schooling and I really don't know which way to turn. Please could you give some advice?

(T.W, 15 June 2009)

A.

Panic or anxiety attacks in young children are not uncommon, and you should be reassured that there are many, many parents going through the same process as you at the moment.

Panic attacks can be triggered by a number of things including past experiences that have upset or unsettled them, a very vivid imagination, a change in diet and learnt responses from other children or even relatives that can influence how children see things.However, it is sometimes better not to look TOO closely at the reasons behind this behaviour and instead concentrate on moving forward by trying not to get too stressed about the situation. A stressed out parent will cause their children to be stressed as well so try to stay calm about the situation.

Spend time focusing on all the things that your child is good at and enjoys. By taking this approach you will be diverting attention away from the problem and will hopefully help your child to relax and think about something else.Try and do this for a few days and do not be tempted to put your child in the situation that makes them anxious, and instead spend time having fun-painting, drawing, walks in the park and just playing with your child will all help to distract him from his worries and anxieties. It may sound basic, but also ensure your child has a well balanced diet. Changes in nutrition can have a big affect on a child’s behaviour.

Experts often say that children who suffer from panic attacks in certain situations do so because they think they are not good enough at something, after a few days of relaxed playing try to gently explore this and see if you can find out anything at all about why he is finding the situation so stressful. Do not put him under pressure to tell you too much.

Anxiety or panic attacks in children can suddenly stop, and by staying positive and optimistic and focusing on all the good things that you child achieves, you will soon see a difference. If the problem persists and you feel you need extra support, contact your GP or health visitor and talk to your child’s teacher.

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[Add a Comment]
DaddyB - Your Question:
@ Concerned Daddy Did anyone ever respond to your question about your child? My DD does the same thing. I'd like to know the answers.

Our Response:
Yes we did! It's in blue right above the original question :-)
KidsBehaviour - 27-Sep-17 @ 2:51 PM
@ Concerned Daddy Did anyone ever respond to your question about your child? My DD does the same thing. I'd like to know the answers.
DaddyB - 26-Sep-17 @ 6:45 AM
Net - Your Question:
My grandson is 8 he has been asessed for autism we are told he has autistic traits so has been given a label quirky. He is very clever at school but doesnt have a shut of point in talking in class so disrupting the class. His teacher is planning to put a screen around him in the hope it will stop him talking. I am anxious this might have an effect on him. He suffers with anxiety and if he he'd does something wrong and gets told off he has a meltdown running in a circle screaming. He had a meltdown where he kept hitting himself saying he is naughty. He is a lovely polite boy generally loved by everybody. We have asked for him to be reasessed but there is a 6 month waiting list.His father left to be with somebody else they have 2 children but my grandson isnt alowed to meet them. He sees his dad 3 hrs once a month. His grandad passed away 2 yrs ago which my grandson is finding it difficult to cope with he did have counciling. Where do we go to get help.

Our Response:
Ask to see the school's head teacher or management team member. Tell them you need advice on how best this can be treated, you need to emphasize everything you've told us here, so that the staff can see your grandson from your point of view and how he behaves outside of the school environment. A screen may be suitable for independent tasks but should not be used for long periods. Can you ask that other children are provided with a screen too, so that he doesn't feel as if he's being singled out?
KidsBehaviour - 23-Feb-17 @ 2:44 PM
My grandson is 8 he has been asessed for autism we are told he has autistic traits so has been given a label quirky. He is very clever at school but doesnt have a shut of point in talking in class so disrupting the class. His teacher is planning to put a screen around him in the hope it will stop him talking. I am anxious this might have an effect on him. He suffers with anxiety and if he he'd does something wrong and gets told off he has a meltdown running in a circle screaming. He had a meltdown where he kept hitting himself saying he is naughty. He is a lovely polite boy generally loved by everybody. We have asked for him to be reasessed but there is a 6 month waiting list.His father left to be with somebody else they have 2 children but my grandson isnt alowed to meet them. He sees his dad 3 hrs once a month. His grandad passed away 2 yrs ago which my grandson is finding it difficult to cope with he did have counciling. Where do we go to get help.
Net - 22-Feb-17 @ 9:12 PM
@concerneddaddy. Firstly, all children do this if they think they can get away with it! You need to look at the reasons, she's doing it and reassure her, whether it's a fear of being alone in the room, fear of the dark or being worried she may be missing out on something more interesting going on downstairs etc? Explain to your daughter that it's unacceptable to get up and that if she isn't in bed resting, she'll feel grumpy the next day. Ask her what she'd like to do for a bedtime routine e.g pyjamas, wash, brush teeth then story or song from mum or dad? Then say goodnight and that's it. Leaving her listening to a story CD (after your own) may work well, tell your daughter she has get to the end of the story before she's allowed up (chances are she'll be asleep before the end). A nightlight that slowly dims works well for kids who are frightenened of the dark. Make sure the routine is the same every night. If your daughter gets up, don't interact, just take her straight back to bed and walk away. This will tire you for the first few nights but eventually she will get the message.
KidsBehaviour - 22-Apr-15 @ 12:10 PM
I need advice as my 7 year old girl does not go to bed on time she fights us constantly. There is always a reason why she has to get out of bed. Toilet, forgot something, put a book back, get a new book, needs a drink and needs toilet again as did not really go first time. This puts a massive strain on us and makes getting her younger sister in a routine a nightmare. (We are hoping they will share a room. Does anyone have any advice
Concerned daddy - 19-Apr-15 @ 9:15 PM
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