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Kids and teens these days may be living their best life: attending school at home, staying in their comfy clothes, eating snacks all day, and playing with their toys. They are also getting the chance for more quality time with their parents and immediate families, which is something we all crave, even as adults.

But what about those kids and teens who rely on a routine every day, those who worry about what is happening in the current world and wonder why can’t they see their friends for a playdate or have a visit from their grandparents? These may be temporary fears that subside over a few days with some reassurance and being comforted by a family member, but these fears may also linger and evolve into anxiety.

Mental health is an important part of overall health, and is just as crucial for kids and teens as it is for adults. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children, and children with anxiety disorders are at a higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse. 

Kids and teens these days are under pressure to succeed in all aspects of their life - school, sports, extracurricular activities - and these feelings only continue to grow with each passing year. In 2016, 41% of incoming college freshmen said they felt overwhelmed by all they have to do, compared to 28% in 2000. Not to mention, the world can be a scary place. Not only are we currently dealing with COVID (which is altering all of our lives somewhat drastically), but there is slightly more turmoil in the world these days, which makes it easy to not feel as safe. 

Anxiety and poor mental health affects your body, whether you may realize it or not. This is also the case with children and teens, as common symptoms include headaches, stomachaches, fatigue and trouble sleeping.

So what can us as parents, family members, friends and teachers do to help the kids and teens in our lives if we see them experiencing some moments of lingering anxiety?

First, know the signs. 
Just like with any sort of physical illness, anxiety in children and teens can manifest itself in many different ways - from being afraid and worried about the future and bad things happening, to feeling sad or irritable a lot of the time. 

Help them feel secure
When we as adults experience some form of anxiety we may crave a feeling of safety, alerting our brains that everything is ok. Kids are the same way - so give them a hug and snuggle them tight, give them warmth and love, time to play and learn, and celebrate the little wins. Being able to get outside these days to take a walk around the block is a win in our book! 

Create new practices 
Help children and teens feel less stressed through eating nutritious foods, trying new physical activities like taking a bike ride around the neighborhood, providing social support such as scheduling FaceTimes with their friends and family, and most importantly, getting sufficient sleep. 

We at Gravity know the importance of sleep and how a good night’s rest resets the body and mind. Gravity Blankets utilize ‘deep touch pressure stimulation’, which stimulates the feeling of being enveloped in a warm hug, and increases the hormones responsible for relaxation.

We have seen the effects of weighted blankets on adults; users have seen a reduction in anxiety and stress, while naturally improving their sleep as well as their physical and mental wellbeing. But we want our weighted blanket to be inclusive to all users - kids and teens included. Their mental health and wellbeing is just as important, and it starts with a good night’s sleep. Therefore, we have created Gravity Kids. It provides the same stress-reducing and sleep-enhancing benefits of our world-famous blanket, but in a safe format for children ages 7 and up.

So when you are getting your kid ready for story time before bed or telling your teen to get off their phone and turn out the lights, take a few extra minutes to appreciate these small moments in these uncertain times. It’s all we can do. Of course, if you see some symptoms of stress and anxiety in your child or teen and their symptoms persist and worsen, don’t be afraid to call a doctor for a check-up.

Helpful resources if your child or teen is experiencing any signs of anxiety: