Anxiety is very common among kids. As much as one and four kids have anxiety. There are many types of anxiety. Some examples are worries about social situations, worries about bad things happening to others, panic attacks, and constant worry about small things
Advice for Parents:
A) Gathering information:
First thing to do is explore the anxiety with your child. Ask questions that are non-judgements. Neutral questions- what are you scared of? What bad things do you think might happen? Do you think about this a lot? Try to understand why they are worried or nervous.
B) Actions to help child anxiety
Children will be less anxious if they know what is coming. Create consistent routines for your child and share with them what the routine is. This will contain their anxiety.
Example, make a calendar in the kitchen with their schedules for each day. Talk about the calendar with them more than once a day and get them to tell you what is happening when. For example, they go to soccer on Tuesdays after school and have a tutor on Wednesdays. Let them know what days you as the parent will be with them and what days you might not see the til later.
2. Exposing to anxiety:
If something makes your child anxious—for example dogs or flights---Find ways to exposure your children slowly and progressively to what makes them anxious. Don’t let them avoid things that make them anxious—that will only make their anxiety worse and harder to treat as they get older.
3. Modeling healthy coping of anxiety.
Don’t pretend that you don’t experience stress and anxiety. Let your kids hear or see you managing it calmly, tolerating it, and feeling good about getting through it!
Youth learn by watching their parents, so when model coping well with anxiety—this is a learning opportunity for them. For example, if you’re running late and feeling stressed, you could say something like, “I’m feeling scared that we wont make it to our appointment on time. To help me relax, I’m going to take some slow deep breaths to help me calm down. Encourage your child to take the deep breaths with you!