Tips for Parents and Caregivers When Dealing With Child Anxiety

Are you dealing with a frequently anxious child? Do you not know what to do?

Here are things explained by that you need to consider to help your kid escape the anxiety cycle.

  1. Manage your child’s anxiety but do not aim to eliminate it

We do not want to see an unhappy and anxious child. Thus, if we want them to overcome anxiety we must not try to get rid of the stressors that trigger it.

Permitting them to avoid things they are frightened of only makes them feel better for a while. It would just reinforce the anxiety for a long time which may lead to an unhealthy cycle.

Instead, teach them to tolerate anxiety and still function well amidst their anxiety. This may help their anxious feelings to decline over time.

  1. State positive and realistic expectations

Do not give the child unrealistic and fake expectations.

Tell him positive and realistic expectations namely the following statements:

  • You will manage it.
  • You are going to be okay.

This allows your kid to gain a sense of confidence knowing that your expectation is realistic, and you aren’t going to ask him to do things he cannot manage.

  1. Respect the feelings, but never empower it

Validation would not always mean agreement. If your child expresses his/her fears, listen and show empathy. Hep her understand of her fears and encourage her to face her fears. Make your kid feel that you are with him/her as he/she gets through her anxiety.

  1. Never ask the child leading questions

Do not ask your child leading questions to avoid feeding the anxiety cycle. It would be better to ask open-ended questions such as, “How are you feeling about this situation?”.

  1. Stop reinforcing the fears

Do not send a message that she should be worried about the situation as this will just magnify the anxiety.

  1. Motivate your kid to tolerate the anxiety

Encourage your child to engage in life and let the anxiety come. Let her feel the anxiety and accept it as part of her development. This will create the so-called curve of habituation wherein the anxiety will decline as time pass by due to consistent contact with the stressor.

  1. Keep the anticipatory period short

Shorten the time before your child gets to do something that he/she is afraid of. This may reduce the anxiety your child may feel and allow him/her to successfully face his/her fears.

  1. Talk through the situation

Help your kid create a plan to help him/her overcome anxiety. For instance, if the child who has separation anxiety gets worried if someone will pick him/her up at school let him/her talk about it. Ask her questions on what he/she will do until a plan is created.

  1. Encourage healthy ways of handling anxiety

Show your kids how you healthily handle bouts of anxiety. Children are observant thus it would be best if you let them see that you are calmly tolerating anxiety.

Show them that you are feeling good managing and experiencing it. Carry yourself with good posture and grace amidst unease. Be a good role model.

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