Every child will experience some level of anxiety at some point in their lives. And as a parent or guardian, you may feel the need to protect your child by eliminating the source of such anxiety.
Let's say your child is scared of spiders. As a parent, you immediately want to protect your child by keeping them away from what they dread.
Logically, this may seem okay. But in the long run, it can affect the psyche of your child.
By avoiding dreaded situations, you are in fact reinforcing the anxiety in your child. Your child needs the opportunity to develop coping skills and build capacity to handle the anxious thoughts that come with anxiety.
Next time you notice symptoms of anxiety in your child, here is how to help.
The first step to conquering anxiety is slowing down. You can help by encouraging slow, deep breaths.
To make it more fun and exciting, practice this together. Slowly breathe in together. The breathing process should take three seconds. Hold the breath for three seconds, then breathe out for three seconds.
When they appear to have calmed, you can talk through the worry with the child.
Have worry time
Having a worrying time will help you deal with the worry. This way, you get to eliminate the anxious thoughts before it sets in.
Your child has to speak up and discuss the source of worry. To help with talking and working through as a parent or caregiver, a worry box is a great idea where they can dump the worry and close it away.
Encourage baby steps
Instead of avoiding anxious situations, you can encourage your child to take baby steps.
If your kid is scared of water, take them to a pool, sit on the edge and let them watch other kids swim.
Slowly but surely, your child will build confidence, and subsequently, start playing with the water before launching in for a swim.
It all begins in mind. When anxiety comes knocking, help your child redirect their thinking pattern. You can do this by challenging the limiting thoughts with evidence and facts.
Confidence and bravery are two traits you would love to see in your children. If you feel your child's anxiety is getting the better of them there is lots of help and resources for you to lean upon.
The team at the Psychology, Counselling & Wellbeing Centre have a team of counsellors who can work through strategies with your child to help with their anxiety.