Anxiety in children is often unnoticed or gets labeled as a ‘clingy issue’ or a ‘crying issue’.
Anxiety of a Child
We don’t see that they are really suffering. Sometimes the anxiety may stem from the inability to express themselves properly. It may show up as ‘shyness’ or as tantrums or defiance.
Whatever the cause, here are some good tips for helping children deal with anxiety
1. Children thrive in environments that are structured.
If they have a set routine for every day, they know what to expect and when. This gives them a source of comfort.
For a child who suffers with anxiety, any break in routine can bring on undue stress. Help them by making sure their routine is not interrupted. If there are moments when interruption is unavoidable, try to prepare the child ahead of time about it, by telling them, and describe what will be happening, so it will not be a shock. Include in their routine plenty of exercise and opportunities for them to approach you. Perhaps have a bedtime routine, ask them if there is anything they would like to tell you, or pray with them, read a story, the point is, you are spending time with them, focused on them.
2. Help your child to express their feelings.
Direct them to the proper expressions and give them suggestions on how to deal with anger, stress, and fear. Ask them where they have their feelings. Is the feeling in their hands, feet, head or stomach? Explain to them that what they feel is normal; help them to feel at ease about it. Coloring, drawing, playing with play doh or clay are additional ways for them to express their feelings.
3. Make sure you give your child time each day talk or express their feelings to you.
Perhaps sit down with them right after school or after supper and ask them how their day went. Discuss any issues they have, accept what they say and never brush off what they tell you.
4. If the anxiety is especially bad, try to do things that will help to calm the child, like holding them while rocking, singing to them, give them a nice quiet bath. Do whatever you can to help them calm their nerves.
Since children have a great deal to learn, it is best for you to show them, Demonstrate How to behave and act. You need to be able to teach them how to whisper, how to ask questions, how to go from being upset to being calm.
More Tips for Dealing with Anxiety in Children
5. Do not belittle their fears.
If they have anxiety over something that seems silly to you, do not express this to them. What seems silly to you may be real to them. Remember they are children. Talk to them about their fears, and try to explain the truth about it in a nice calm way, never belittling them about it.
6. Children observe their parents;
they will see how you react to your own anxiety and stress.
Give them a good example by learning how to best deal with your own stress and anxieties.
7. When your child acknowledges their fears and when they handle the anxiety, praise them for doing so.
This is a great way of encouraging them to continue with this kind of brave behavior.
8. Teach your child how to relax.
Explain how they can sit down and close their eyes and imagine something better, a calm scene, a brave scene. Tell them their imagination helps to strengthen them. Let them color, draw, play with ‘play doh’ or clay. Teach them how to stop and take a couple of deep breaths until the anxiety leaves.
9. Encourage your child to play and be active.
Exercise is one of the best ways to help a body to feel good,
10. Read a book about a character that is facing some of the same fears and anxieties.
It helps children learn when they see a character in the book doing the same.