As adults, we are certainly no strangers to anxiety. Whether it be anxiety in the workplace, anxiety about parenting, or just anxiety in your day-to-day activities, we’ve all been there done that. But believe it or not, many children are battling anxiety as well.
We may think the lives of children are so easy that they have no need to be worried or anxious. But the truth is, they are human. And they too have those moments when anxiety creeps up. Sometimes it’s very mild but other times it can be debilitating. Anxiety can negatively impact your kids’ quality of life just like it can impact yours. It is not something that should just be swept under the rug.
Looking back on my life, I definitely suffered from anxiety as a child. And like many other kids, I did not have the appropriate coping skills under my belt. I wish I had someone in my life to help me manage these feelings.
Don’t let your child feel alone when it comes to managing anxiety. Help them develop the appropriate coping skills early on and let them know you are there to support them every step of the way. Here are some ways to do just that.
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Major League Mommy is an informational site and much of the information shared on this site is based on my personal experiences. The resources shared on this site are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be used as a replacement for a trained and professional medical/mental health care professional.
Major League Mommy cannot be held responsible if you choose to use the information provided. Please always consult a trained mental health professional or physician before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others.
Talk to Your Child
First things first, try to get inside your child’s head to see what’s going on.
Are they just a little nervous about an upcoming test? Is there something going on in the home that has them stressed out? Are they being bullied? These are just a few examples of things that may be causing their anxiety. And sometimes, they have absolutely no idea what has them feeling so anxious. This is important to know as well.
Without talking to your child, you can only proceed based on assumptions and that’s just no good. So make an effort to communicate with them and be an active listener to better understand their situation.
Just having this conversation alone may be enough to ease their anxiety.
Talk to Their Doctor
Did you know that feelings of anxiety can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, medications, or other physical health conditions?
Your child’s battle with anxiety may be due to a physical condition so make sure you’re staying on top of regular check-ups and discussing any concerns (including mental health concerns) with their physician.
You may find that you need to add a nutritional supplement to their routine or perhaps switch out medication or even add a new medication. But the only way to really know is by working with their doctor – this is a great starting point to help your child manage anxiety.
Whatever you do, don’t fuel the fear.
You can be realistic without bringing a bigger dark cloud to the situation. Communicate to your child that this too shall pass. And let them know that they have all they need to overcome this challenge.
You want to empower your child and encourage them to continue pushing forward. Yes, their feelings are valid, and yes, things may seem rough right now but they CAN survive these storms. Let them know that.
In those moments where they feel like they have no control, let them know that the power is ultimately within them. That light is still within them. And brighter days are just up ahead.
Do Some Breathing Exercises Together
Our breath is truly one of our greatest gifts. And I always turn to my breath when I’m feeling anxious. It works like a charm. I even have my kids do it.
You can take your child through any of these mindful breathing exercises when they’re feeling uneasy.
Introduce Them to Different Coping Methods
As I mentioned earlier, children typically lack the appropriate coping skills to deal with anxiety. This is why it is so important for us parents to help our kids develop those skills.
Here are some coping methods I have recommended and used with my own kids.
- Writing out a gratitude list
- Listening to high vibe music
- Watching funny videos
- Talking to someone you trust
- Guided meditation
- Creating something
- Taking a nap
- Splashing cold water on their face
I also suggest using these Mental Health Comic Books to help them better understand and work through their emotions.
Introducing them to these different concepts allows them to discover coping methods that work best for them. Let them choose the ones they are most drawn to.
Lead By Example
If you really want to help your child manage their anxiety, demonstrate appropriate handling of anxiety and panic. I know this is easier said than done, but it is so very important. Our children look to us as their guide, and what we DO is even more important than what we SAY.
It’s okay to let them see you sweat and take those deep breaths. It is okay to set boundaries and let them know you are taking time for yourself. Demonstrate the use and power of gratitude. Show them that while life is not always easy, you CAN flourish and grow through your challenges.
There are so many different causes of anxiety. And it’s important to understand when it’s just a brief moment of anxiety or an anxiety disorder. Either way, the tips above can be of great benefit to both you and your child.
And most importantly, BE PATIENT.
What are some methods you use to manage your anxiety or to help your child manage anxiety? Please feel free to share in the comments.