Children have a tendency to get anxious and there’s nothing wrong with it. Getting anxious is natural that is experienced by all. After all, it is also an “evolutionary safety survival mechanism,” according to a Huffington Post report.
Anxiety during childhood can stem from many factors – not seeing familiar faces around and presence of strangers at the house, new situations like going to school for the first time, sighting animals like an elephant, presence of darkness around, etc. Developing anxiety from such situations is perfectly acceptable, but, when even a minor issue triggers anxiety in children, it might be a possible symptom of having an anxiety disorder.
When children are chronically anxious, parents play an important role in calming their anxiety. Here are five steps highlighted by the Huffington Post report that can help parents calm their children’s anxiety:
1. Be calm yourself: It is important for the parents to calm themselves, otherwise it will be difficult to soothe the child. Most of the parents start getting tense themselves, which only aggravates the situation instead of controlling it. Seeing the parents stressed, a child always has a tendency to feel anxious himself. But when the parents are calm and show a reassuring posture, the child feels safe.
2. Share an experience of your own: If there are similar experiences of anxiety from your past, try to narrate a story to the child about the same feelings that you had experienced. This will help the child get some reassurance that people other than him are also subjected to such kind of feelings and experiences. Children become more normal if they see that their loved ones have also gone through the same trouble as them.
3. Assure that their feelings are real and that they can cope with them: Validating that their feelings are real and they will be able to cope with them can help reduce stress. Since what they feel is real and not fictitious, it is always important to make them believe that such feelings occur. The Huffington Post article highlighted that rather than saying “there is nothing to be afraid of”, you can say that you can relate to their feelings. You can say something like this: “Sounds like you are very anxious and afraid right now. That is okay. Lots of people feel frightened at moments like this.”
Your words of reassurance can change their perception toward life and can give a completely new meaning to the child dealing with anxiety. The best way to help kids overcome their anxiety is not by eliminating its existence but by building a strong coping mechanism.
4. Help the child relax: It is important to let the child know that he is not facing the challenge all alone. His friends and family are there to assist him in overcoming the situation. You can assure the child by saying that it is like a baseball game. Every player is important to score the winning run. Similarly, being a part of the team can help fight anxiety and overpower it. Breathing techniques can help in feeling relaxed.
5. Help the child counter his overpowering thoughts: Instead of shying away from anxious thoughts, help the child stand up to it. Help the child understand that the little voice inside his head unleashing unproductive thoughts is nothing but a devil trying to ruin all the fun. Make the child think of good things that will defy the negative voice of the devil so that it gets weak and does not bother him again.
Help your child be anxiety-free
The above tips will help your child control anxiety and stress. But if he or she is having recurring bouts of anxiety, the Anxiety Treatment Advisors Colorado can help you find a specialized anxiety treatment Center.