5 Simple Ways To Help Your Anxious Child
Children can experience anxiety for a number of different reasons.
In some cases, it comes and goes when life feels a little bit overwhelming.
In other cases, it is a general feeling that a child carries with them throughout the day. Your child’s anxiety may be triggered by a certain behaviour or change in circumstances.
Change itself can be a really popular trigger.
If you are concerned about your child’s anxiety it is a good idea to speak to your GP to ensure that they are getting the help they need. Play Therapy or counselling may be advised.
In the meantime, here are 5 simple ways that you can help them at home.
1. Acknowledge It
Acknowledging what your child is experiencing is a relief in itself for your child. Anxiety can feel incredibly lonely and can send any adult into a panic. It has the very same effect on children. The simplest of tasks and experiences can feel like a mountain to climb. Telling your child that you understand that they are feeling anxious and trying to help them see clearly is really helpful. It’s important to remember that ignoring anxiety is not a great approach. Helping your child to manage it as well as possible is the kindest thing to do.
2. Try To Eliminate Stress
Are there certain things that tend to cause your child’s anxiety to flare up? Are any of them avoidable? For example really loud noises or raising your voice. Some children also react badly to an environment of rushing to and from places. These things can be changed quite easily with a bit of thought and consideration. The show must go on and life is busy but a small change on your end could have a great impact on the daily life of an anxious child.
3. Don’t Avoid All Things
While eliminating unnecessary stress is a good idea we just can’t shield our anxious children from everything that makes them uncomfortable. If a particular place or scene makes your child anxious the temptation to constantly avoid it will always be the easier option short term. But long term they will not develop the coping mechanism to deal with the anxiety. In later life, they may grow to consider avoidance as the only way to deal with a situation that causes them to feel anxious.
4. Focus On The Positives
When a child is feeling anxious and stressed it may go hand in hand with seeing many situations in a negative light. It is important to put a positive focus on daily experiences so the child does not get lost in a sea of negative thoughts. Focusing on the positives of any situation will help your child approach it in a more positive way.
5. Encourage Good Sleeping Habits
Sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety and anxiety can cause sleep difficulties. It’s a vicious cycle. Having a solid bed-time routine will help your child relax at the end of the day and get good quality sleep. This will affect their mindset and mood the next day also. Relaxation is really important for a busy worried mind so try to encourage relaxing baths and calm reading time before bed to put their focus on a positive calm feeling before they sleep.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.