How to Help Your Child Learn To Cope With Anxiety

How to Help Your Child Learn To Cope With Anxiety

Photo via Pixabay by Bessi

Childhood Anxiety

Watching your child go through something like anxiety is difficult, and many parents find themselves at a loss for ways to help. It can be stressful for the entire family, especially when changes have to be made for one child in particular and his needs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that although some forms of anxiety never go away completely, they can be treated and coped with. The key is trying new methods and being open to learning how to handle those feelings--not just for your child, but for you as well.

Because anxiety is so nuanced, there are many different causes (school pressures, issues with friends, moving to a new school, etc.), symptoms, and treatments for it. The ones that work for your child may not be the same as the ones that work for another child, and that’s okay. Remember to keep an open mind and try to be patient with your loved one, since childhood anxiety may not be something your child even realizes he has.

Here are some of the best ways to help your child or teen get through stress and anxiety.

Childhood Anxiety Tip 1: Stay calm

This may prove difficult, especially if you are worried about your child’s wellbeing or if the anxiety has manifested itself in a particularly challenging way, such as a screaming meltdown. Remember that your child may not understand what is happening to him, and these feelings can be very confusing. Take a deep breath and, if your child is having a hard time controlling his emotions, remove him from the situation as soon as you can to get him calmed down. It’s a good idea to keep snacks and a couple of small toys in your bag for smaller children to help them take their mind off the matter at hand and get the situation under control.

Childhood Anxiety Tip 2: Don’t ask leading questions

Helping your child figure out what he’s feeling and why is very important, so try not to ask questions that will lead him to give you the answer he thinks you want. Instead, be a little vague and simply ask what’s upsetting him. After he’s calm, talk to him to find out why he reacted the way he did. This will go smoothly if you remain calm and show him that he’s not going to get into trouble.

Childhood Anxiety Tip 3: Help him practice self-care

No matter your child’s age, practicing self-care is important. This means learning how to bathe and brush his teeth properly, how to eat a well-balanced meal, and how to get enough sleep. Talk to your child about the importance of taking care of his body so that his mind will stay sharp, as well.

Daily exercise is another big part of self-care. Many kids would rather stay inside and play games on the tablet or watch television, but getting up and getting active is imperative. Exercise releases hormones that make us happy, so find fun ways for your child to get in a workout. Take him to the park, or offer to play catch in the backyard after supper. You could also incorporate the family pet, if you have one.

Childhood Anxiety Tip 4: Plan well, but be flexible 

Because of the very nature of anxiety, you can’t plan for every stressful moment your child is going to have. You can, however, be as prepared as possible and help minimize those feelings. For instance, if your child has a hard time getting moving in the morning before school, wake him up a few minutes earlier to give him a cushion before school starts. This way, neither of you starts the day with stress.

It also helps to have a backup plan at all times. Pack snacks, a change of clothing, and any comfort items before leaving the house if you know you’ll be gone for several hours and look for a quiet place to retreat to once you get there.

Keep in mind that childhood anxiety often has little to do with parents. A lot of kids are worriers, so let your child know that he’s completely normal and that you’ll be there to support him through those difficult feelings.

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Written by: Noah Smith See other articles by Noah Smith
About the Author:

Noah Smith writes for WellnessVoyager and enjoys offering his travel expertise to readers.

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