Tips On How To Handle Anxiety In Children
Don’t avoid things just because they make a child anxious:
We always want to protect our children but sometimes protecting them from everything that makes them anxious is a bad thing. This action reinforces the anxiety over the long run and lets the anxiety cycle continue.
Respect the child’s feelings, but don’t empower them:
Listen and be empathetic to the child’s fear, worry or anxiety but let them hear that they CAN face their fears. Send the message that you hear them, and it is okay that they are scared but that they will get through this situation.
Don’t ask leading questions:
Allow Them to Worry:
Worrying is not a weakness, let them worry. We all know that kids and adults will continue to worry even after you tell them not too! So don’t say that! Easier said than done. Build in “worry time” for your child. This puts a limit to the amount of worrying but still lets them feel their feelings. Depending on the age of the child a worry box could be made for a great activity – decorate a worry box and during worry time there are no rules on what constitutes a valid worry – anything goes. When the time is up, close the box and say good-bye to the worries for the day.
Highlight Why Worrying is Good:
Teach your child that worrying has a purpose, there is not something “wrong” with your child. Worry is a protection mechanism. Worry rings an alarm in our system and helps us survive danger. Over the years, human danger has changed a lot but it is still important to teach your kids that worry is perfectly normal, it can help protect us, and everyone experiences it from time to time. Sometimes this worrying can be false worry and that is when we have to use techniques to deal with the false alarms.