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10 Signs Your Child Might Be Anxious, Not Just Shy

10 Signs Your Child Might Be Anxious, Not Just Shy
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A child who is described as “shy” may have trouble speaking up in school, talking with adults not familiar to them, and even making friends with peers. These behaviors all seem to be characteristic of garden-variety shyness. But how do you know if a child is more than shy, if their inability to communicate with others becomes so extreme that it interferes with their functioning in daily life?

Social anxiety — an officially recognized psychiatric disorder — can look a lot like shyness, and it can be hard to know when a child is beyond shy and needs the help of a professional mental health provider. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), used by mental health professionals, states that the symptoms of social anxiety disorder must be present for six months or more in order for a diagnosis to be made.

The 10 signs that a child might have anxiety rather than simple shyness involve not only the symptoms but also their intensity and their tendency to interrupt a child’s normal functioning.

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1. Fear Of Embarrassment

A person with social anxiety experiences actual fear when confronted with a social situation. They may fear that others will view them critically and that they will somehow embarrass themselves in front of others. Being in a social setting can feel like being on display or performing.

2. Intensity Of The Fear

The fear of social situations can hit an anxious person hard: they may experience such physical symptoms as a racing heart, dry mouth, sweaty palms, trembling, and shaky voice. The mind and the body are intertwined when it comes to anxiety.

3. Anxiety Or Panic Attacks

The anxious person’s feelings of fear about a social situation can escalate to the point that they experience an anxiety attack or panic attack. These kinds of attacks can be frightening. They can involve such intense physical symptoms as heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. Many people having a panic attack feel as if they are having a heart attack.

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4. Awareness Of The Fear Being Out Of Proportion To The Trigger

The child with anxiety may be fully aware that their feelings of fear about going to a social gathering like a birthday party are irrational, but they are unable to control them nonetheless.

5. Avoidance Of Situations Causing Fear

Children with extreme social anxiety often avoid the situations that cause their fears. School is often a setting that generates fears in the anxious child, as it places demands on the child to perform and to engage with others at a level that may feel overwhelming.

6. Interference With Normal Life

For children, going to school is a part of everyday life. If severe anxiety prevents a child from attending school, the child isn’t able to access an education or socialize with peers, both of which are important facets of a so-called “normal” life.

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7. Withdrawal From Social Activities

Aside from missing school, avoiding other typical childhood social activities such as parties, playdates, and extracurricular activities like clubs and sports can leave the anxious child feeling alone and frustrated by the inability to connect with others.

8. Six Or More Months Of Symptoms

In order for social anxiety to be diagnosed, the symptoms must have been present and have interfered with the child’s functioning for six or more months. This time frame shows that anxiety is more about how the child is “hardwired” than about avoiding certain uncomfortable situations. Anxiety is more pervasive and persistent than temporary bouts of insecurity or shyness.

9. No Other Medical Reasons For The Fears And Avoidance

A doctor could rule out the impact of medications the child might be taking, or any other co-occurring conditions, on the child’s behavior.

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10. Your Gut Tells You It’s More Than Simple Shyness

Those who are closest to a child with anxiety know that child best, and their intuition may tell them long before symptoms become intense and debilitating that the child is affected by a condition more intense and pervasive than shyness. Trust your gut. If your child seems to be hindered from engaging successfully with the world, check with your pediatrician.

Featured photo credit: AngelsWings via imcreator.com

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Published on July 22, 2021

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

    These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

    Get the recipe here.

    2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

      This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

      To try this recipe, go here.

      3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

        Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

        Check out the recipe here.

        4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

          Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

          5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

            This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

            Find the recipe here.

            6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

              The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

              Get the recipe for this dish here.

              7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                You can find the recipe here.

                8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                  Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                  Find the recipe here.

                  9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                    This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                    Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                    10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                      Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                      The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                      11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                        Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                        Find the recipe here.

                        12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                          This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                          Find the recipe here.

                          13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                            Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                            This easy recipe can be found here.

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                            14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                              Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                              Find out how to make it here.

                              15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                The recipe can be found here.

                                16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                  This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                  Find the recipe here.

                                  17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                    Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                    Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                    18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                      Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                        Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                        20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                          Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                          Get the recipe here.

                                          Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                          Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                          Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                          1. Lose the Sugar

                                          Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                          2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                          Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                          3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                          Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                          When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                          Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                          Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                          More Healthy Eating Tips

                                          Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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