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How to Help Your Child With Anxiety

Are you thinking to yourself how to help your child with anxiety?  Already Emma is feeling anxious with heading into Prep this year and it became even more as we got her first pair of school shoes.  Instead of telling her it will all be okay, I said “I would feel nervous about heading to school because it is new to you”.  Then she said “but Gracie will be there.”

I have found a fantastic article called 9 Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try.

The authors main tips are:

1.  Stop reassuring your child – Stop and take some breaths with your child.  Empathize that you understand how they are feeling.  When your child is calm, together come up with possible solutions. Let go of any guilt that you feel.

2.  Highlight why worrying is good – Teach your child that worrying is normal and that everyone worries and feel the same.

3.  Bring your child’s worry to life – Personifying worry or creating a character has multiple benefits. It can help demystify this scary physical response children experience when they worry. It can reactivate the logical brain, and it’s a tool your children can use on their own at any time.

4.  Teach your child to be a thought detective – As they get older they can learn how to catch those thoughts that are causing the anxiety, collect evidence about these thoughts and challenge the thoughts.

5.  Allow them to worry – I would encourage you to read the article for total understanding but in short give your child maybe 10 minutes to worry and put that worry in a box.  This worry could be anything.

6. Help them to go from what ifs to what is – Mindfulness brings a child from what if to what is. To do this, help your child simply focus on their breath for a few minutes.

7.  Avoid avoiding everything that causes anxiety – break their fears into small goals over a period of time until they reach that goal because we do not want them living life.

8.  Help them work through a checklist – develop a checklist with your child to work out how to calm down.

9. Practice self compassion.

I really encourage you to read this article for some great tips.

 

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