Helping Children Cope with Anxiety
Anxiety is a disorder that can present at all ages and can begin in childhood. The first step to understanding anxiety with a child is talking to a healthcare provider or a mental health specialist. In kids, anxiety is when a child does not outgrow the fears and worries that are typical in young children, or when there are so many fears and worries that they interfere with school, home, or play activities.
Some identifiers in children is noticing if they are afraid when they are away from parents, have extreme fear about specific things or situations, afraid of school and other places where there are people, or worries about future and bad things happening.
Some symptoms are irritability or anger with the child, trouble sleeping, fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches.
Manage symptoms at home by having a healthy eating plan, participating in physical activity, getting the recommended amount of sleep, and practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques.
When helping your child understand and cope with anxiety, it should not be the goal to eliminate it, but rather manage it and learn what life looks like with it. Do not avoid things that make a child anxious as It can make the child avoidant of all things that may seem uncomfortable, but also do not force these events or triggers on the child to make them try to adapt.
It is important to express positive, but realistic, expectations with the child on how they can manage their anxiety and fears.
Below are a list of ways to help cope and manage anxiety with your child:
- Respect their feelings, but don’t empower them
- Don’t ask leading questions
- Don’t reinforce the child’s fear
- Encourage children to tolerate their anxiety
- Think things through with the child
- Try to model healthy ways of handling anxiety
Check out this blog post about mindfulness meditation and start incorporating these healthy habits to cope and manage anxiety!