While anxiety is a natural and expected emotion for all children at some point during childhood, speaking to your child about anxiety will help them feel better. Most anxiety in kids stems from usual fears or changes they are going through as part of growing up. Sharing information and reassuring them that they’re not alone can go a long way towards reducing anxiety and preventing anxiety attacks.
13 Tips To Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety
1) Offer reassurance
Anxiety tends to make children more fearful, so be patient and try to offer words of encouragement that will ease their minds. Teach your child coping mechanisms such as deep breathing, which can relieve anxiety quickly when practised often enough. Reassure them that they have the power to control their own emotions by taking slow, even breaths.
2) Talk about anxiety
While anxiety is a normal part of life, children can have trouble distinguishing between warranted feelings and those that aren’t. Some anxiety may be related to unhealthy thoughts which result from anxiety, but sometimes anxiety attacks come out of nowhere, causing physical symptoms such as breathing problems or nausea. As a result, anxiety in children can become a serious issue if it’s not managed properly. How you handle anxiety with your child will significantly impact how your child deals with anxiety later in life, so take the time to talk with them about these issues openly and honestly. Reassurance that what they’re feeling is normal can go a long way towards reducing anxiety and preventing anxiety attacks.
3) Be an anxious parent
Anxiety and anxiety attacks can be contagious, especially in children. If you don’t handle anxiety problems or anxiety attacks, your child will pick up on this. They know how to read people’s emotions at a young age, and if they see that anxiety is normal, they’ll grow up with different feelings about fear than those who were taught it was wrong.
Don’t ever force your kid into doing something that makes them uncomfortable because anxiety will always win in the end when it feels overly pressured to do something despite its better judgment.
4) Don’t try to convince them anxiety is wrong
Telling your kid anxiety is not real, or that anxiety makes up things can worsen anxiety. Its actual anxiety might be extreme and the fears it brings up don’t seem rational, but this doesn’t mean anxiety isn’t real at all.
5) Educate your child about anxiety
The more you tell your child anxiety is expected, the better they will feel about anxiety when the time comes. Anxiety is an easy thing to talk about with kids because kids are always anxious in one way or another, so it’s almost comforting to know other people experience similar feelings.
6) If your child has an anxiety attack in public, tell them they’re doing fine
Your kid will need reassurance that anxiety is okay now and then, so be sure to offer it whenever fear arises. Your reassurance will help them feel normal and better again, which will also not affect their confidence.
7) Reassure anxiety will pass
Just as anxiety always seems to come and go, anxiety always passes. It’s a matter of understanding anxiety long enough that we can see the anxiety we thought would last forever is nothing more than a time frame. Take anxiety for what it is – a temporary state of mind – and things get more accessible from there.
8) If your child has an anxiety disorder make sure you tell them they’re not alone
A little empathy goes a long way in easing any child’s worries about anxiety disorders. Knowing other kids have been through this helps us feel less alone and eventually frees us from anxiety.
9) Create a soothing bedtime routine
Establishing a calming practise that prepares you for bed is a test to keep anxiety from creeping up on your child at night. Keep within a reasonable hour, make sure it’s quiet and calm, and allow enough time for your child to unwind before hitting the hay.
10) Let your anxiety speak for itself
Anxiety in kids is usually expressed through easily noticed behaviours, like tears, tantrums, or clinginess. Anxious kids might often feel that they’ll be punished for their anxiety, so it’s important to offer reassurance and understanding.
11) Find anxiety-fighting outlets
There are plenty of options for anxiety-fighting activities in kids, including art classes, dance lessons, singing lessons, or sports. Anything with a bit of thrill helps stress melt away. Even just having an anxiety-driven kid throw themselves into music practice is helpful because the tempo of the treble clef calms them down throughout the day.
12) Don’t insist they face their fears
Many anxiety sufferers have an irrational fear of something as seemingly harmless as a spider or as common as heights. Kids with anxiety often need to take it slow, and the anxiety will fade naturally over time, so you shouldn’t insist that they face their fears right away.
13) Help kids find their support group
To help anxiety in kids, make sure they feel like they can talk and feel safe around someone. Kids who suffer from anxiety might also be dealing with another issue such as bullying at school, so it’s important to let them know there’s always someone on their side.
An anxious child is common, but anxiety in kids is something everyone needs to understand. If you’re reading this, chances are you want to know what anxiety looks like and how to notice it. This article has provided some great tips for helping anxiety in kids that even worked with my child. If anxiety persists over time, discuss options with your doctor or paediatrician since anxiety can lead to other issues if not handled properly.
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