We may often come across the term anxiety daily. But what exactly is meant by this term? Well, it is the natural response of our mind to stress.
It is the feeling which we experience when we are worried, nervous, and afraid of what is about to come next. Anxiety can be best explained by the examples of the feelings which we have when are to appear for a job interview or the feeling that a child experiences on his first day at school.
How can we help our children dodge anxiety?
- We must try to teach our kids to manage anxiety.
- Do not ignore the things that make your children anxious.
- We must always be realistic but positive about the things that make our children anxious.
- Never say anything that can imbibe more fear into your child.
- Try to encourage your children to keep calm and deal with the situation.
Anxiety is not specific to any age group and everyone may get anxious. Here, we will discuss some of the ways which can help our children dodge anxiety.
Here are ways you can teach your children how to dodge anxiety.
Teach your kids to manage anxiety
As we have mentioned in the beginning that anxiety is the natural response of our mind to stress, we can never dodge anxiety. At some point in time, to remain normal, we must learn how to manage anxiety and stop looking for avoiding it completely.
So, teach your children how he or she can manage the anxiety level. The faster your kid learns the methods to manage anxiety, the better it is for him to remain normal and mentally healthy. Never try to teach your kids to ignore anxiety.
Keep the period of anticipation short
As we now know that anxiety is the feeling of nervousness, it is plausible to say that we can avoid anxiety if we are not nervous and worried. So, as long as your kids are unaware of anything that makes him nervous, he will not be anxious.
But it is not realistic to keep things concealed from him. So, try to make the period of anticipation as small as possible. As a result, he will be nervous and worried for a short span and hence the level of anxiety will not be very severe.
Let your kids know that it is fine to be imperfect
One of the biggest reasons behind anxiety among children is their feeling of not being the best or being imperfect. So, whenever anything happens that tend to compare them with others, they become nervous and anxiety may follow.
Thus, try to explain to your kids that it is fine to be imperfect. Tell your kid that no one can be the best because everyone is the best in their respective manners. So, it is irrelevant to be nervous about it and he should cheer up and not worry about it.
Always be positive in front of your children
The easiest way to teach your children to manage anxiety is by remaining positive in front of them. Focus on every positive thing that can happen after an event. This will send positive vibes only and will restrain your kid from getting nervous.
At the same time, do not be unrealistic and give false hopes because this may adversely affect your children later. So, try to remain realistic and focus only on the pros of any upcoming event and not on the cons to keep your child motivated.
Do not ignore the things that make your child anxious
Anxiety can be very genuine. We may often ignore the causes of fear of a child because they are immature, but we should always look into the matters that are bothering our children. We must always have the knowledge that why they are afraid.
We may come across things that need serious parental help. So, instead of teaching your children to manage anxiety, we should look into matters in more detail to know the root cause of the nervousness in our children. We may end up curing anxiety from that particular cause permanently.
Do not make your child more afraid
This is very important to keep in mind that our words and actions have lots of impacts on our children. So, anything that we do may make our children anxious. Our body language, our choice of words, the tone of our voice, and many other things can send negative messages.
So, always try to remain calm and cheerful in front of your children so that they do not become afraid of anything. It may also happen that if you become anxious, your child may also become anxious. So, try to keep everything normal.
Plan relaxing activities
It has been long known that anything that relaxes our body and our minds is also very good stress busters. Resultantly, it will keep our children from being nervous and worried and hence, anxiety will also not be the problem that will follow.
Try to make a routine where your children engage in relaxing activities. This will reduce the stress levels and will keep your children distracted from the things that worry them. Consequently, he or she will be able to avoid anxiety as well.
Teach your children to stay disciplined and calm
It is very natural to become stressed out when our assignments are not complete or when we fail to do our pending works on time. The same is true for children, too. Everyone needs to be disciplined to avoid stress and being nervous.
Even if anything unprecedented happens and stress follows, then everyone must stay calm and think of a solution. So, teach your children to be disciplined to avoid stress and stay calm when he is stressed out. This is one of the best ways to deal with anxiety.
Respect the child’s feelings without aggravating them
It is always important to respect the child’s causes of fear. Maybe your child is afraid of the doctor’s appointment because he will get injected with a vaccine. So, never disrespect the feelings of your child because they can be very genuine from their views.
At the same time, do not do anything that aggravates those feelings. Try to be rational and realistic and explain the importance of everything. Once the point of view is changed, he will stop being afraid of such things, and hence, anxiety can be avoided in such cases.
Help your children with their problems
It is important to help your children with finding a solution to anything that can be severe for them. Anything that is making them anxious is a field where parental intervention is necessary for their better mental and physical health.
So, try to discuss the problems of your kids with them and try to help them in solving the matter. This may stop them from being nervous and hence, anxious. Thus, always be ready to listen to what your kids want to share with you for their betterment.
Motivate your child to face his fears head-on and not run away from them
We avoid situations when we fear circumstances. Avoiding anxious circumstances, meanwhile, keeps the fear going. Instead, when a child faces fears, the child learns, over time, that anxiety naturally decreases. For a very long time, the body should not stay nervous, so there is a body system that calms it down. Normally, if you remain in the fear-provoking scenario, your anxiety reduces within 20-45 minutes.
Reward your child when he manages to face his problems
If your kid manages to face his problems, praise him, give him a hug or something tangible like a sticker or something small. If you see this as a motivator before your kid is in a situation that is not bribes. Your toddler would participate in it more often if you recompense habits.
Make sure your child is having a sound sleep at night
Set your child’s bedtime and stay there even on weekends. Have a bedtime routine of 30-45 minutes each night. This encourages your infant to move from daytime activities to the relaxed state needed to sleep. A sound sleep will help your child cope up with his anxieties as it will relax his muscles. A night of good sleep will also prevent him from having nightmares.
Teach your child to express his/her anxiety
Don’t say, “No you aren’t!” or “You’re okay,” if your kid says he or she is concerned or frightened. Your kid needs help. Instead, your toddler is going to think that you are not listening to him or her or not. Instead, confirm the experience of your infant by saying things such as, “Yeah, you look frightened. What’s your concern?” Then talk about the thoughts and fears of your child.
Children look to parents to find out how they will behave in situations. We all saw a small child journey and fall and look at his parent to see how they respond. The toddler screams if the parent seems concerned. The reason is that the child watches its parent for a message about how the situation should be responded to.
Children of every age take up and resonate with their parent’s feelings. If you are worried, your toddler will become more worried and become more frightened to him/her. So, you have to handle your fears, if you want to lessen your child’s anxiety.
Do not give up
Stress and anxiety can be a persistent battle. The source of fear for a child always changes overtime to make you seem as though you are constantly burning fires. Your child learns how to lower his/her anxiety level and how to cope with anxiety-causing circumstances by repeating anxiety and stress management strategies.
Important things to keep in mind
What is the reason behind anxiety in children?
Research has shown the importance of genetics, genetics, and environmental factors. Whilst in families there are anxiety disorders, a family history doesn’t mean that a child can develop a disorder. Much depends on the nature of the infant, inherent sensitivity, knowledge, and dynamics in the family. Some children may experience an anxiety disorder due to stressful events (mobility, divorce, or death in a child’s home) or traumatic occurrences (car accidents or domestic violence).
Is anxiety common in children?
The most common mental health challenge in children is fear and anxiety disorder. Separation is frequent in younger children, while older children and teens tend to be more concerned about schools or social anxieties. OCD may occur in children at any age, but normally occurs between six and twelve years of age.
How should deal with a child who is suffering from anxiety?
Normal anxiety exists, and anxiety disorders are then present. You should help your kid to recognize how they feel and help him or her to take over their thinking and behavior if you have anxiousness that does not upset their life. If the child has a genuine anxiety disorder, a psychologist or other physician with expertise in the treatment of anxiety disorders is invaluable.
Whether the fear is slight or more serious, experts believe that parents do not take the child’s disturbance into account. Talk with the child about the fear so don’t get an enabler, be supportive. What the child feels. The experts call “accommodation” to alter the behavior of the child to appease. It would keep the peace now, but it can make matters worse in the long term.
What are the symptoms of anxiety disorder that we should look at in young children?
There are several physicals, psychological and compartmental clues, depending on the type of anxiety. Parents may observe an increase in irritability, excessive crying, tantrums, and even more self-catering or self-regulation with infants and children.
Young children should have regressive habits like bed-wetting or extreme adhesion. Children with anxiety disorders will suffer stomach and headaches, regular bathroom pressures, quick breathing, heart pain, shortness of breath, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting, weak appetite, muscle distress, and stress. Other indicators are hypervigilance, an ongoing search for certainty, feeling overwhelmed by new experiences, avoiding schools, individuals and places, events, social gatherings – almost anything that triggers their fear or stimulates them.
When should I seek professional help to treat my child’s anxiety issues?
You may have time to find professional support if you realize changes in your child’s eating and sleeping patterns, or if they start to withdraw, or avoid activities they once liked. Likewise, it is time to consult a professional to support your child in developing strategies and skills to manage its anxiety if symptoms, like repetitive ideas, compulsive behavior, panic attacks, or the reviving of traumatic memories interfere with the ability of a child in school or everyday life.
Does the stress of parents affect the child or trigger anxiety issues?
Children tend to feel tension when adults look stressed. When adults look scary, children always hear that the situation is not safe. They would say, “If this situation cannot be handled by my parent/girlfriend/teacher, it just needs to be bad.” The level of fear of children increases when they see caregivers worried and just as expected when they see their caregivers managing or controlling a stressful situation quietly.
Professionals and parents should avoid freaking out in everyday scenarios. Keep quiet. Act like it is a completely manageable situation. The children’s points will be taken by us. In a stressful situation, if we remain cool, children can do the same. The opposite is true, too.
These were some of the most amazing ways in which you can teach your children to tackle anxiety. As we have mentioned that anxiety is the result of the response of our minds to stress, it is impossible to avoid it. It is better to learn about managing it.
Thus, try to make your children learn how to manage stress and anxiety instead of trying to teach them to avoid it completely. This will be better for their future as well because this will prepare them to deal with a tough situation with calmness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we really teach our children to manage anxiety?
It is possible to teach our children to manage anxiety if we are patient and our ways are appropriate.
Shall we always mention that they should be afraid of things that are genuine?
You can rather tell your children that it is normal for everyone to be afraid of things that can genuinely influence their lives.
What if we are unable to teach our child to manage anxiety even after trying for years?
It is then best to get your child checked up by a psychiatrist and get regular sessions of counseling for your child.
Is it good to keep our child away from anything that can make him nervous?
No, it is not a good idea. Your child should be able to handle every situation and for this, keeping him away from anything that makes him afraid and nervous will be a hindrance in that path.
How often shall we discuss our child’s problem with him?
There is no fixed interval for this. You should always be ready to listen to your child’s problem whenever he wishes to discuss it with you. You should give him the freedom to approach you anytime.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.