Does your child struggle with anxiety? Helping your child through anxiety is an extremely challenging task for many parents. As well as teaching them strategies to manage their “big” emotions, here are five key things to remember when managing their anxiety.
5 key concepts for managing anxiety:
- Reassure your child. Never promise something you cannot deliver but reassure them that you are there to support them. You cannot take away the emotions and you are not trying to. You are their support person through out this.
- Avoid drawing attention to the anxious behaviour. People around you will do this, we often talk about a child’s behaviour in front of them without thinking about how this affects the child. Sometimes our focus on how they have coped well with something brings attention to their anxiety. This can make them feel anxious again. It is not a matter of downplaying it but just not drawing attention to it.
- Discuss and model strategies to manage their anxiety. Children need to learn tools to manage anxiety. Strategies like slow deep breathes or finding a safe place to go to clam down are good way to help a child manage their emotions. As well as talking to them about strategies show them how to use them, even use them with your child.
- Praise them for using strategies. Focus on how they implemented the strategies you had practised rather than how they coped with the situation overall. Comments like “I saw you took 3 deep breathes before you did that, I am pleased to see you trying what we practised” or ” it was really good to see you taking some time by yourself when you needed to”.
- Encourage them to continue to participate in all activities. Avoiding situations can reinforce the concept that it is ‘too scary’. With your support by their side your child can have the confidence to try and join in a variety of activities.
While these tips will not take away your child’s anxiety, they can help you to work through it with them.