How To Help An Anxious Child

By Subodh / June 2, 2016

Stress and anxiety is akin to plague now, with even kids falling prey to these disastrous factors. While it is quite natural for a child to become anxious on the first day of the school or when you leave her alone for the first time, there are times when anxiety creeps slowly into every moment of their life. The impacts are really bad and worrisome. From degrading their performances at school to spoiling healthy relationships, anxiety slowly eats away the beautiful and enriching moments of childhood.

Instead of just shouting at them and admonishing them, it is advisable to tackle the anxiety issues carefully.

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Here are few things that you could try to help your anxious little one.

Tackling Anxiety Issues In Children

1. Encourage Your Child To Face His/Her Fears!

Fears reside in everyone, not just the kid. Sit with her and talk to her about her anxieties. Coax her to accept her fears. Tell her that fears are just momentary and they vanish in no time when faced with courage. Tell her that you also have your own set of fears. Explain to her in a caring and encouraging way about how she can face her anxiety triggers when they pop up.
When she is ready to face her fears, she will feel less anxious.

2. Teach Self-Acceptance!

It is okay to be imperfect. It is okay to do mistakes. It is okay to accept that you do not know something. A child is unique in his/her own way. He does not have to do something so as to gain acceptance. In fact, once children turn around 8 to 10 years, they start mimicking certain things parents do so as to impress them and to gain peer acceptance also.

If a certain child tops the class and your child is not able to score high marks, it actually makes him feel inferior. Put away that inferiority complex by talking to him. Make him realize that he is doing his very best. Self-acceptance without criticism or judgment is one of the keys to overcoming fears and anxiety.

3. Teach Them Relaxation Techniques!

It could just be a game they would like to play or something deeper like a breathing technique or a gentle yoga session designed exclusively for kids. Sports and games help them to relax and unwind, improving the release of feel good hormones, which in turn would render them the courage to face the situation they are worried about in an easier way.

A simple breathing technique could also do the job. Ask your child to close her eyes. A couple of rounds of deep inhalations and exhalations does wonders in easing anxiety. Similarly, regular practice of yoga will also help the child to relax naturally.

4. Spend Quality Time With Your Child!

Both parents work hard today to ensure that they could afford all the demands of their children. Many people leave their children in day care centers so that they could work. But, in the process, they forget that gifts and presents alone will not help the child. There are times when the children feel uncomfortable in the presence of parents, which triggers a panic attack in them.

The best way to avoid such a situation is to spend quality time with your children. Talk to them frequently about what is happening at school and with their friends. Play with them. Get to know what is going on from an emotional level.

This approach actually helps in inculcating a sense of peace and confidence in the children, eliminating the undesirable anxiety and stress.

[Read: How To Solve Social Anxiety Problems In Children]

5. Always Take A Positive Approach!

No admonishing. No comparison. Parents, in general, have the tendency to point out mistakes. While constructive criticism does good, if you point out mistakes in whatever your child does, she is bound to get anxious. She will always be worried about what she does. So put an end to that habit.

Choose a positive approach. You could ask your child about why she did a particular thing and tell her ways she could avoid it in future. When your child feels that you are not shouting at her, she will feel relaxed and less anxious.

6. Appreciate The Positive Change!

Putting an end to condemning is not sufficient. Start appreciating the small efforts she puts in to improve herself. Each small success when appreciated boosts confidence and positivity in the child, which will slowly and steadily make her forget the anxiety triggers.

A good reward when she takes a big, positive leap towards improvement is very essential to keep up her morale and optimism and prevent her from retracing her steps.

7. A Good Sleep Will Help!

According to an article titled, “The Interplay of Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety, and Depression in Children” that appeared in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, “A surprisingly small but growing research base exists on the relation between sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression in pediatric populations.”
Make sure that your child gets adequate level of sleep. Lack of sleep, as mentioned above, triggers panic attacks and anxiety.

8. Be Patient!

Patience is the key. Each child is different and takes her own time to overcome the anxiety she is facing. Your behavior, your relationship with your spouse and other family members, and the way you handle yourself influences the children to a great extent. So it is advisable to remain positive and patient so that your child will also be able to cope up and overcome her worries at a natural pace.

9. Take Professional Help!

If nothing else seems to work, visit a professional so as to rule out any other major underlying conditions. This is very important so that your child does not go into depression.
Children are innocent. They are so delicate that a small mistake from your end is sufficient to spoil their whole life. So be careful when you handle a child.

Take care!