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Your Child Is Nervous About the New School Year, Which May Be Normal — or Not

If your child has jitters about starting the new school year, it’s really not something to be too worried about. But, if they display symptoms of anxiety that are severe, persistent to the point of phobia or even panic, you may want to enlist the aid of your pediatrician in exploring options to help, The Denver Post reports. Before you do that, however, you can help them adapt to the new situation by talking with them about what it is they’re worried about, and by addressing those fears with positive approaches.

The problem with anxiety, depression or other mental disorders with children is that, often, the symptoms of these disorders mimic normal childhood behaviors. For example, irritability or frequent bursts of anger may be considered as a bad attitude or disrespect. Having low energy and lack of interest may seem like the child is not trying.

This is why, as a parent, you should be very vigilant when it comes to these telltale signs. For example, some of the common hallmark symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are:

  • Being sad or irritable for most of the day. The child may say they feel angry or sad, or may even appear tearful or cranky
  • Lack of energy — not being able, or feeling as if they're unable, to do simple tasks
  • Poor performance at school
  • A noticeable change in their eating patterns (either eating too much or too little); may also lose or gain weight in the process

Whether your child needs professional help or not in dealing with their feelings, you can help by making sure they have the proper nutrients in their diet to nurture good mental health. Begin by eliminating sugars, wheat and processed foods — which are linked to a greater risk for anxiety and depression — and loading up on superfoods such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, foods high in tryptophan (such as eggs), spinach and other high-folate foods such as broccoli, asparagus and turnip greens.

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