Childhood anxiety can be brought on by many things, and for most parents, it’s a heartbreaking feeling to know their child is upset but not know how to help. It can also lead to frustration, arguments, meltdowns, and hurt feelings, which won’t help either the child or the parent feel good about themselves. When anxiety rears its head in a public place, there might be tears and embarrassment, too, which can make family outings very stressful.
You may already know that the worst thing you can say to your child when he’s feeling anxious is to “get over it”. This is because anxiety affects our ability to listen rationally, meaning you can talk to your child until you’re blue in the face, but you won’t be able to talk him into feeling better.
What you can do for childhood anxiety is listen to his fears, empathize with them, and try to come up with a solution together. Here are some of the best tips on how to help your child with his anxiety issues.
4 Tips to Help Your Child Cope With Childhood Anxiety
Teach him that worrying is okay.
You don’t want your child making himself sick with worry about something, but it might be helpful to let him know that sometimes it’s okay to think about those things. It’s a mechanism that helps us protect ourselves and our loved ones, in fact, and we’ve been doing it practically since man was living in caves. The key is to help him learn how to cope with that worry and how to control it so it doesn’t take over. Help him learn how to handle the negative thoughts by thinking logically about them as they come and then actively looking for ways to debunk the worry by using cold, hard facts.
Let him be creative.
One of the best ways to clear the worry and anxiety out of our heads is to get creative. Whether that means making music, painting, singing, or writing in a journal, expressing our thoughts is an easy way to learn how to cope with them or purge them altogether. It might be helpful to go shopping together for a special “worry notebook” that your child can use every day to write down his thoughts. Have him do this before bed to clear his mind, and ask if it’s okay for you to read it or if he’d rather keep it private. Giving him this option will allow him a sense of control, which is a good thing.
Do yoga together.
Yoga and meditation go hand in hand, and they are perfect ways to learn to relieve anxiety because they focus on mindfulness. This means letting go of the “what-ifs” and focusing on the present moment. Worrying about the future can keep a child anxious all the time, so learning how to let go of those feelings can be extremely helpful. Sign up for a yoga class with your child and support him throughout the experience.
Encourage summer camp.
Summer camp can be an extremely positive experience for kids who have a hard time being social or letting go of their worries, because it allows them some freedom from the norm. They can meet new people, share new experiences, and get outside for some rigorous activity. Staying busy can help push that anxiety to the back of their mind or get rid of it altogether.
This guest post was written by Noah Smith.
Noah Smith loves to travel and see different things. He co-created Wellness Voyager with a group of friends to share his travel stories and advice.
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