As a parent, you want to shield your child from the stresses of life as best as you can. You want them to just enjoy childhood, free from worry or struggle. But how to deal with child anxieties becomes very difficult sometimes. If you had your way, they would be exempt from whatever growing pains await them throughout childhood, puberty and beyond.
But difficulties are a part of life, and learning to deal with them in a healthy way is an important skill kids should learn.
Not only does this lessen anxiety in their childhood, it equips them to grow into well-adjusted adults.
Deal with child anxieties without babying them
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Today’s youth are growing up as an “anxious” generation.
In America alone, 1 in 3 teens and young adults suffer from serious anxiety. Symptoms range from sleep problems to prolonged periods of feeling an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
A CNN report states that anxiety is not as easily detected in younger kids.
“The younger the kid, the more scrambled the symptoms can be,” he told CNN. “They’re easily upset. They cry more. They’re scared to sleep alone at night. They become irritable. They act out more.”
So extra attention must be given if you suspect your child is showing early signs of anxiety or depression.
Deal with child anxieties effectively: 9 strategies
According to Inc.com, the need for parents to protect their kids and indulge their anxieties can do more harm than good.
Don’t indulge their worries by always giving them the easy way out.
Sure, it’s admirable that you don’t want them to struggle. But a little tension is healthy. It helps to give them a gentle nudge out of their comfort zone and to face their fears with proper guidance and encouragement.
Yes, experts are looking into how parenting styles and emotional nurturing can play a role. But parents should not blame themselves for their child’s anxiety.
Each child is unique. They have their own personality that contributes to why and how they develop anxious feelings.
If you suspect your child has anxiety, here are some strategies to try:
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Teach them physiological coping skills
Like running their fingers over their lips or counting to 10 when they are overwhelmed.
Educate them about basic mindfulness
Take a few seconds upon waking to take several deep breaths before diving into their day.
Help them through life transitions
No matter how simple, maintain a routine during changes in their life, like when they have to start a new day care.
Teach your child that all emotions are valid
Positive or otherwise, all emotions are important. But for children with anxiety, more focus must be placed on building up positive feelings.
Encourage them to look on the bright side
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Ask them to name one good thing that happened to them each day. This promotes both optimism and openness.
Respect the way your child thinks or relates to others
Don’t force an introverted child to interact constantly.
Get to know your child’s temperament and how their mind works.
Does your child get overwhelmed by too many instructions? Break it down and take it slow.
Include exercise in your day’s activities
Physical activity can do wonders in calming down kids mentally and emotionally.
Try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Equip them with the ability to cope with mistakes
Teaching them self-compassion is another way they can cope with struggling to do something or making mistakes.
Cuddle them often
Hugs and words of reassurance stimulate those oh-so good hormones in their body that influence their mood and all-around wellness.
sources: The New York Times, Psychology Today, Inc.com, CNN
READ: 9 Things about anxiety that you need to know as a parent