Is anxiety effecting your child’s life?
Many children suffer from anxiety- 3 out of 4 children will experience it during development. Wow! And if left untreated, anxiety can become fear and then phobias.
So what does anxiety in a child look like?
A few things to look would be sleepless nights, upset stomachs, irritable bowel syndrome, bed wetting, nail biting or even trichotillomania.
Is your child finding it challenging to go to school and function, having difficulty in social situations or not interested in afterschool activities and interacting with classmates?
Keep in mind that anxiety affects children as young as 5 and can be linked with ADD/ADHD or depression.
If you see a child experiencing anxiety, what can you do to help?
For some children, as it is with adults, they are unable to control their mind and thus it becomes difficult to breathe and heart rate increases.
In my work with children as young as 4, I’ve seen the anxiety and there are ways to balance anxiety in everyday life.
These are suggestions but if you see your child not being able to manage life then I always suggest working with a professional.
- Teaching children to understand their thoughts is essential.
- Finding something that brings comfort and a sense of calm.
- Help them create their space for processing, breathing, drawing or writing. Wherever it is, be aware of it so you can suggest it when things feel overwhelming for them. As a child, my space was on a swing, where I’d be able to be by myself and manage overwhelming feelings.
- Make time to talk it out for them when they are ready to bring their issues and concerns to you. This is usually after they have gotten themselves in a calm space.
- Talk about what makes them unique: loving, kind, thoughtful. Depending on the age of the child, these traits will change based on the value they apply to them.
- Help them to let go of the negative feelings and replace them with daily positive reinforcement by writing positive words on their mirror or on a note each day.
If they learn to look at anxiety forming experiences individually and break them down, a child can see it does not have power.
Imagine anxiety as a box that has no bottom. The feelings keep going into the box and to a child, it never seems to stop. It never fills up. They just want to put the top on and run away but most cannot.
Embracing the box contents is scary but each time they choose not to put the anxiety in the box, it will give them the power inside for future.
All of us will experience some level of anxiety at some point in our lives. Finding what resets that feeling to calmness is unique to each of us.
Find what works for your child and don’t hesitate to reach out for support.