Parenting is one of the most fulfilling jobs, but it comes with various obstacles. One of them involves aiding children in coping with their anxiety. Being anxious is a prevalent mental health problem that affects individuals of all ages. However, it can be particularly arduous for kids who may struggle to express their sentiments or comprehend their distress.
Luckily, numerous resources are available to help you assist your children in managing anxiety and promoting tranquility during stressful times. This article will explore practical tips for mitigating child anxiety, demonstrating how to employ them to alleviate your child's unease.
Tips To Ease Children’s Anxiety
There are numerous ways you can ease your child's worries. By using these tips to address anxiety in children, you can help your children develop coping strategies for dealing with anxiety.
1. Breathing Exercises
Practicing breathing exercises can be a valuable means to decrease anxiety and stress levels in children while providing a sense of empowerment. Cultivating relaxation by practicing controlled breathing is a great coping strategy for children to resort to whenever stressed.
One breathing exercise is synchronized breathing, which helps connect with your child and regulate their nervous system. For this technique, sit with your child while hugging or touching their back. As you sit together, match your breathing rhythm with your child's. This non-verbal communication provides reassurance that everything is all right.
You may also discover that synchronized breathing offers a meditative focal point that can calm you and your child.
2. Anxiety-Relieving Toys
Anxiety toys aim to supply relaxation and relieve stress for anxious children. These toys offer a beneficial outlet for children to channel their anxious energy. Another advantage of these anxiety-relieving toys is their ability to provide a sensory experience that adds to overall comfort.
Squeezable and soft toys, such as stress balls, stuffed animals, or squishy toys, are incredibly soothing for anxious children. Special Needs Resources offers some of the best anxiety toys that also assist in addressing cognitive-related problems.
3. Mirroring Technique
There are moments when you need to acknowledge your child's struggles. Take the time to listen to what your child has to say and empathize with them. After listening, recap what they disclosed and confirm it back to them. It's remarkable how powerful a basic affirmation and validation can be.
It conveys that you understand your child's point of view while instilling confidence that they will overcome their anxieties.
Why Children Become Anxious
Children may become anxious due to environmental pressures, such as traumatic events, losing a loved one, academic issues, or bullying. Anxiety can permeate every facet of a child’s life, impacting their physical, emotional, and social health. This cumulative effect causes isolation, discrimination, and an inability to contribute meaningfully to their surroundings.
Anxious Child Behavior
Anxiety in children can manifest in various ways, including avoidance of certain activities, irritability, and disrupted sleep patterns. Identifying anxiety, its triggers and symptoms, and finding effective ways to manage it is critical for ensuring children's healthy development.
A restless child who seems uninterested and uncomfortable may be experiencing ADHD. However, the root cause could also be anxiety. An anxious child during class may struggle to concentrate on the curriculum and suppress anxious feelings consuming their mind.
Some children may appear attentive initially but later lose focus based on their worries. This may present as apparent inattention, even though it could be a case of anxiety.
It's also common for anxiety-stricken children not to want to go to school. Separation from parents can also cause difficulties for some children. Although experiencing some separation anxiety is typical, it becomes a challenge if it prevents them from attending school. Usually, your child may also be dealing with separation anxiety if they use mobile devices to check on you throughout the day.
Other behaviors exhibited by children suffering from anxiety may include:
- Avoiding social interactions
- Complaining about physical ailments such as stomachaches
- Nail biting
- Pulling hair
- Brain fog
- Loss of appetite
Anxious children may also have explosive outbursts that appear oppositional but are caused by their fight-or-flight response. Aside from that, they could be hyperactive with friends.
Deal With Your Child’s Anxiety Immediately
Anxiety often recurs and is a precursor to adult anxiety, particularly in children who do not receive the appropriate treatment. Many adults grappling with anxiety experienced symptoms during childhood, indicating the potential benefits of early intervention strategies.
Children with neglected anxiety tend to develop inadequate coping mechanisms. Avoidance is a typical response among individuals experiencing high anxiety levels, wherein they avoid the source of their anxiety. However, this approach offers only temporary relief, as it strengthens stress rather than gradually exposing people to the stimuli causing it.
Untreated anxiety can negatively impact your child's self-esteem and academic performance. It may result in substance abuse or self-medication. Untreated anxiety also often leads to long-term depression in children experiencing depressive symptoms.
However, attempting to protect your child from what stresses them may worsen their anxiety.
One way you could make things worse for your child is to cut off anything that makes them anxious. Assisting children in circumventing sources of fear doesn’t do much to help, ultimately aggravating anxiety in the long term. If you remove the source of worry, your child may rely on this coping strategy. This strategy may establish a cycle of avoidance that could persist.
The optimal approach to aid youngsters in battling anxiety is not to eliminate stressors that provoke it. Instead, it’s necessary to assist them in tolerating their anxiety and functioning as normally as possible. By doing so, their anxiety would decrease over time.
Managing A Child’s Anxiety Isn’t Impossible
Helping children manage anxiety can be daunting as a parent, but practical tools exist. Recommended approaches, such as breathing techniques and sensory toys, promote control over anxiety. By incorporating these techniques into their routine, your child can develop healthy coping mechanisms for ongoing anxiety management.
Since each child's situation is unique, finding the right approach may take time and effort. However, with persistence, love, and support, they can develop a greater sense of inner peace and confidence in navigating the world around them despite their anxieties.