Toddler Anxiety

Call it naivety or call it ignorance, but I had no idea that toddler anxiety was a thing! Now, I knew that kids naturally develop phobias and fears, but anxiety? When I think back to when I really noticed that I was anxious person, it wasn’t super apparent until I had real worries (i.e. bills, safety of my children, job security, etc). But who am I to decide what a real worry is? Who am I to say that my kids don’t have anything to worry about just because they are young.

Out of respect for my children’s privacy, I won’t get too specific, but recently we have been having problems with one of our sweet babies. We thought it was simply a behavior issue, so we started to crack down significantly on discipline. Our next thought was that they were showing out because of boredom, so we started looking into possible activities for them to participate in. Then I talked to my dad, and he said that I used to have the same behavior problems. I was angry a lot, and would act out pretty badly. Apparently, the child therapist they took me to said that I had anxiety. In my dad’s opinion, the child in question was also showing signs of anxiety.

I began reaching out to child therapist’s and psychologist’s in the area to see what their professional opinion was. They all agreed that anxiety sounded like it may be the culprit. Naturally, being the research freak I am, I started researching it. Toddler anxiety is a lot more common than we may realize, so I want to share my findings with you all in the case that it may be affecting your family.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Change in sleep pattern
    • If your child is sleeping more often, or maybe refusing to sleep, it may be a good indicator.
  2. Change in eating habits
    • It could be eating more or less, but it can also be aversions to foods they typically LOVE or cravings for foods they have always HATED
      • We all know that toddlers are funny with food, so keep in mind that showing one of these symptoms does not automatically mean your child is battling anxiety.
  3. Sudden changes in emotions (mood swings)
    • Their mood swings could be anywhere on the broad spectrum, but take note especially if they are abnormally sad, angry, clingy, or withdrawn.
  4. Increased crying or tantrums
    • Especially if your child isn’t very vocal about their feelings, this may be the only way that they know to express how they are feeling. As an adult, I sometimes want to scream and throw stuff, so we shouldn’t really be surprised if our child does it sometimes.
  5. Nightmares and fears at bedtime
    • Monsters in the closet or under the bed? HAVE to have a nightlight or TV on at night? Wake up periodically throughout the night with nightmares? Absolutely has to have a parent lay down with them at night to go to sleep? These are ALL signs of anxiety.
  6. Physical ailments
    • These are typically presented as headaches or stomachaches.
  7. Anxious tics, coughs, or body movements
  8. Frequent reliance on habits such as hair chewing or thumb-sucking
    • My personal habit is tapping my fingers on the table or whatever surface is near me.
  9. Change in bowel movements
    • This is typically seen in children whose anxiety is related to potty-training (more on that later).

If you notice these signs and symptoms in your child, and feel they are getting worse, please seek the advice of a professional.


  1. Separation Anxiety
    • Perhaps the number one cause of anxiety in toddlers, can develop as early as 7 months old. Some children don’t develop separation anxiety until 18 months-2 1/2 years old. If an older child is showing sudden signs of separation anxiety, it is likely caused by another issue, such as bullying or abuse.
  2. Changes in Family Dynamic or Big family changes
    • While a new sibling is a positive thing, and a move can be beneficial for everyone, a toddler has to readjust everything that they know. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for a toddler.
  3. Potty Training
    • Beginning the process before a child is ready can be a HUGE stressor in your toddler’s life! (See my potty training tips HERE!)
  4. Overwhelming Schedules
    • Toddlers love to stop and smell the roses. And lick them, taste them, pull them apart to see the insides, etc. They are little explorers trying to take everything in! When planning your day, try to allow time for them to do what they are wired to do! I can tell a huge difference in my kids’ temperaments if we are bustling from appointment to appointment versus letting them move at their own pace.
    • Don’t try to involve them in too much as far as outside activities are concerned. One sport is more than enough for a toddler to process at a time.
  5. Unexpected World Events
    • Our babies feed off of our emotions. They also feed off of their surroundings. Be careful about what you listen to or watch around your kids. The evening news nowadays is mostly negative, and if you watch the news with your sweet baby in the room, they are taking it in the same way that you are. However, because of their innocence it can be detrimental to their mental health. This goes for movies, music, TV, etc.
  6. Genetics

How to Treat Toddler Anxiety:

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health physician or other licensed professional. Always seek the advice of your child’s pediatrician.
  1. Stay calm and ACKNOWLEDGE their feelings
    • First and foremost, the last thing they need is to be told how terrible they are behaving or that they are crazy. Their feelings are real, and they look to us for validation. Let them know that you are there for them, you want to help them, and that you understand.
  2. Stick to a schedule
    • Toddlers in general do better when they know what is going to happen throughout the day. If they know “nap time comes after lunch” then it won’t be a surprise to them and they can process it easier. Anxious toddlers thrive on a schedule! If you don’t have one, and don’t know where to start, be sure to subscribe to the Mama of Kings Weekly Newsletter for exclusive tips in the upcoming newsletter (3/25/18)!
  3. Set aside time for breaks
    • Whether it be nap-time, a break from home school work, family movie time, or a designated quiet time during the day, make sure they have time to de-stress and do what they want! We have an hour of quiet time every day where everyone goes to their own special place in the house to read or play with dolls quietly. They LOVE this time they get to themselves!
    • Self-care is just as important for them as it is for us. I think that teaching them the importance of taking time for themselves at such a young age will benefit them as adults also. Whereas I struggle to find me-time as an adult, and often ignore the importance, my 4-year-old knows how to effectively tell us that she needs me-time.
  4. Plan ahead and allow them time to process
    • Like I said earlier, toddlers are little explorers and want to take everything in. Try to allow time for them to do so. When scheduling appointments, try not to schedule them back to back. If you know you have to be somewhere at a certain time, allow enough time to get ready without rushing.
  5. Monitor TV exposure
    • Watch their TV shows with them so you can determine if they really are appropriate or not. Be careful what you watch around them.
  6. Extra hugs, kisses, and tickles
    • Sometimes the best medicine is love. Loving on my babies ALWAYS makes them feel better. And a good tickle session never hurts. 🙂
  7. Seek professional help
    • If you feel that nothing is helping your baby, you have exhausted all other options, or their condition worsens, find a good therapist or counselor that specializes in the children’s mental health. Play therapy is typically recommended for children ages 5 and under.


Mama, DON’T BLAME YOURSELF. I know how easy it is to assume that you somehow damaged your child or are the cause for their problems. Don’t beat yourself up. If you need someone to talk to, my inbox on any of my social media accounts is always open. Feel free to reach out to me, even if it is just to vent. As mamas, we have to support each other through the trenches. So if no one else is, I will be there for you! Don’t give up!

Piggy-backing off of my post from yesterday, God gave me some revelation through prayer and some spiritual authority He has placed in my life.

As I mentioned before, I have been dealing with the same stone for almost one year. May 3, 2017 was my first hospital visit with this particular stone. On May 4, I went to church and a man laid hands on me and prayed. I wasn’t in pain at the time, so I wasn’t sure if anything had come of it or not.


Surgery recovery

First off, before I get too far into this: be sure to check out the blog post that I wrote for Seats For Three the other day on Baby Led Weaning! If you are interested in reading it click HERE.

And THANK YOU ALL so much for your kind words, prayers, and encouragement!

It seems that every time my aunt and I get a chance to talk, I start out with, “this is my life.” You see, there is hardly anything that ever happens in my life that is NOT crazy. Naturally, with three young children, my home and life are bound to be chaotic. But this is totally different. So much so that if you didn’t know me, you would think I was making everything up.


Since I have begun publicly promoting my new lifestyle of veganism, I have received TONS of questions. A lot of them have been asked SEVERAL times, so I want to give just a little insight to this radical life change.


So, with it being Valentine’s Day, I could be all sappy and tell you all about how my husband and I met. I could tell you how his first words to me were, “I’m going to marry you one day.” And I could tell you about how I had him friend zoned for years before finally giving him a chance. But I’m not.

There are so many more important things in this world than a naked baby flying around shooting arrows at people. Sorry, not sorry.