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Helpful Strategies for Children with Anxiety at Home.

I have numerous people email me for some helpful strategies for children with anxiety at home, so I thought I would share some helpful tips for everyone.  I am not giving out a lot of tips all at once as that can be quite overwhelming for parents to see what works and what does not work at home.  So I will put up numerous posts that you can follow.

Anxious children like to have a sense of control in their lives.  They prefer like to be predictable, know what is expected of them and know what the consequences are for inappropriate behaviour.

Some helpful strategies are:

Setting limits which can be a massive challenge for parents especially as children grow older.  If limits are repeated and enforced, they help everyone feel more secure and, usually, a child or teen’s behaviour will improve. It can be a relief to have adults in charge!

Routines also help to reduce anxiety. But anxiety tends to disrupt routines. You need to work hard to build family routines so life is more predictable for your child. Help your child adjust to new family routines by preparing him or her in advance. Ask your child to help plan the new routine, and introduce it gradually. Making an attractive schedule for the fridge provides a sense of control and order.

Bedtime routines! A bedtime routine involves doing the same things, in the same order, at the same time, just before going to bed. This ritual helps your child gradually relax and wind down. For both your child and the rest of the family, a routine that lasts about 15 to 30 minutes is best. However, stimulating activities should start to wind down about an hour before bed (e.g. turning computer games off).

You can also include into your routine

  • warm milk or a small snack
  • a warm bath
  • read or tell a story

For older children set out times:

  • some one on one time to talk about their day.  Building a relationship with your child so that they know they can come and talk to you without you passing on your opinion, judgement is essential for children with anxiety.  You can ask them simply questions to help them come up with the answers to their problems is important.
  • Have soft music playing in the house can be quite calming when you do not have any TV on
  • Reading books, magazine together can give a child the chance to relax
  • Practicing some relaxation techniques.

For both young and older children, you can use weighted blankets which is about 10% of their body weight.  They can put them on and it helps calm down their sensory systems.  Drinking milkshakes through straws can help calm down the nervous system.  The girls come home and have a milk shake and I do see an improvement in their moods.  The straws with curves are even better for further sucking.  We have a swinging chair in our lounge room and Grace likes to jump in their and read a book.  Emma on the other hand likes to hide so we have numerous places she can retreat to.

If you have any questions about this topic feel free to ask them in the below box. If you have any suggestions which can be added please feel free to add them below or through the facebook comment box so that we can come up with an extensive list of strategies to help children with anxiety at home.

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