There are many things that can help children overcome anxiety. Here are a few strategies that may be helpful:
- Encourage your child to talk about their worries: Sometimes just talking about what is causing anxiety can help to reduce it.
- Help your child to identify and challenge negative thoughts: Negative thoughts can contribute to anxiety. Help your child to identify negative thoughts and teach them how to challenge and reframe those thoughts.
- Teach your child relaxation techniques: There are many relaxation techniques that can be helpful for reducing anxiety, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization.
- Encourage physical activity: Exercise can help to reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. Encourage your child to engage in physical activities that they enjoy.
- Model healthy coping skills: Children often learn by observing others, so it’s important to model healthy coping skills for your child. Show them how you deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
- Seek professional help: If your child’s anxiety is severe or persistent, it may be helpful to seek the help of a mental health professional, such as a child psychologist or counsellor.
Encouraging your child to talk about their worries can be a very effective way to help them overcome anxiety. Here are a few tips for helping your child to talk about their worries:
- Create a safe and supportive environment: Make sure your child feels comfortable and safe talking about their worries.
- Show your child that you are there to listen: Let your child know that you are there to listen and that you care about their feelings.
- Use open-ended questions: Ask questions that encourage your child to share more about their thoughts and feelings. Avoid using questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
- Validate your child’s feelings: It’s important to let your child know that their feelings are valid and that it’s okay to feel anxious.
- Encourage your child to come up with solutions: Once your child has shared their worries with you, try to help them come up with ways to manage or solve the problem.
- Offer reassurance: Let your child know that you are there to support them and that they can overcome their anxiety.
If your child struggles to talk about their emotions – don’t worry there is another way! Learn more here.
2. Negative Thought Patterns
Helping your child to identify and challenge negative thoughts can be an effective way to reduce anxiety. Here are some steps you can take to help your child identify and challenge negative thoughts:
- Encourage your child to pay attention to their thoughts: Encourage your child to notice when they are having negative thoughts and to write them down.
- Help your child to evaluate the evidence: Once your child has identified a negative thought, help them to evaluate the evidence for and against that thought.
- Encourage your child to reframe the thought: Once your child has evaluated the evidence, encourage them to come up with a more balanced or positive way of looking at the situation.
- Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones: Encourage your child to practice replacing negative thoughts with more balanced or positive ones.
- Encourage your child to be persistent: Changing negative thinking patterns takes time and practice. Encourage your child to keep up their efforts even if they don’t see improvement right away.
- Seek professional help: If your child is having difficulty changing negative thinking patterns, it may be helpful to seek the help of a mental health professional, such as a child psychologist or counsellor.
Other tools that can help:
3. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Here are some steps you can follow to practice relaxation techniques:
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of the air entering and leaving your body.
- Begin tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, starting with your feet and working your way up to your head. As you tense each muscle group, hold for a few seconds before releasing and relaxing.
- Try to clear your mind of any racing thoughts or worries. If a thought comes to mind, acknowledge it and let it pass, then return your focus to your breath.
- Continue for about 10-20 minutes, or as long as you’d like.
Relaxation techniques can take some practice to master, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel completely relaxed at first. With time and practice, you should begin to feel more calm and centered.
If you would rather have someone guide you through this – then simply, download the resource pack and allow us to guide you.
4. Regular Exercise
Encouraging physical activity can be a helpful way to reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. Here are some tips for encouraging your child to be physically active:
- Find activities that your child enjoys: Encourage your child to participate in physical activities that they enjoy, whether it’s sports, dancing, or playing active games.
- Make physical activity a part of your daily routine: Set aside time for physical activity each day, such as going for a walk or bike ride after dinner.
- Encourage your child to try new activities: Help your child to expand their horizons by encouraging them to try new physical activities.
- Set goals: Encourage your child to set goals for their physical activity, such as running a certain distance or improving their soccer skills.
- Celebrate achievements: Help your child to feel proud of their accomplishments by recognizing and celebrating their progress.
- Be a role model: Children often learn by observing others, so it’s important to set a good example by being physically active yourself.
To help you/your child keep on track – this useful Habit Tracker is ideal!
5. Role Model
Modelling healthy coping skills is an important way to help your child learn how to manage stress and anxiety. Here are some tips for modelling healthy coping skills:
- Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.
- Manage stress: Use healthy coping strategies to manage stress, such as exercise, deep breathing, or talking to a friend.
- Seek support: Don’t be afraid to seek support when you need it. It’s okay to ask for help from friends, family, or a mental health professional.
- Communicate openly: Talk openly with your child about your own emotions and how you manage them.
- Practice empathy: Help your child to develop empathy by encouraging them to consider others’ feelings and perspectives.
- Encourage problem-solving: Encourage your child to think creatively and come up with solutions to problems rather than just reacting emotionally.
If you are interested in manging stress through bilateral beats – learn more here.
Other options include Compassion Fatigue Sessions and Meditation Sessions – both can be found here.
6. Professional Support
Seeking professional help can be an important step in helping your child overcome anxiety. Here are some tips for seeking professional help:
- Research treatment options: There are many different treatment options available for anxiety, including therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Research your options and decide which one might be best for your child.
- Talk to your child’s healthcare provider: Your child’s healthcare provider can be a good resource for finding a mental health professional. They may be able to refer you to a therapist or psychologist who specializes in treating children with anxiety.
- Consider online therapy: Online therapy can be a convenient and effective option for children with anxiety. The Child Therapy Service will be able to offer this option to you. Learn more here.
- Seek out support groups: Support groups can be a helpful resource for children with anxiety. Look for groups in your community or online that are specifically for children or families dealing with anxiety. Learn more here.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: It’s important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you think your child could benefit from professional treatment. Helpline information can be found here.