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5 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Anxieties

Parent's helping child overcome anxiety

Sometimes children act as if they don’t have a care in the world, and other times they may be overwhelmed with anxiety. Even though children don’t have to manage typical adulthood stressors, they do feel tension just like adults. Helping them develop skills to solve these issues will cultivate happier childhoods, and also foster stronger, more confident, and more content adults.

How Children Form Anxieties

Generally sources of anxiety in children fall into four categories:

  • Genetics
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Life Situations and Environment
  • Learned Behaviors

The last two categories are within most parent’s ability to modify and should be the first line of defense in helping your child overcome anxiety.

In many cases, changing aspects of how we parent can reduce the occurrence of anxieties in the future. Children are intuitive and observant. They can become anxious and fearful in situations when they pick up on others’ anxious emotions. In a sense, they’re taught to be anxious through behavior modeled for them by the adults in their lives. When adults close to them act fearful or afraid of certain situations, children may learn the same behavior without realizing it.

Children also learn anxiety from what they are exposed to on TV, movies, or video games meant for adults or older children. Suspenseful scenes with horror or violence can severely frighten a young child. As a result, they can develop anxieties from exposure.

How To Overcome Anxieties

When a child has developed anxieties, there are several treatment avenues to consider. There is no one-size-fits-all prescription. What works for one child may is not necessarily right for another. Finding a solution that works for you and your family may take time and patience.

Here are a few approaches to help your child triumph over their anxieties:

1. Help your child relax. Children feel anxiety when they’re stressed. Notice and explore different activities that help your child relax. Then allow them time and space to savor these games or hobbies that help them unwind. The relaxing activity could be different for each child or be different depending on the day of the week.

2. Find distractions. When your child feels tense all of a sudden, find creative ways to distract them from the situation at hand. If they begin to panic while you are out in public, try engaging them in a conversation about something you know they enjoy. For younger kids, try playing with a toy or bring their attention to something of interest in your nearby surroundings or try playing a game.

3. Schedule “worry time.” This activity works well for adult anxieties too. Schedule a designated time during the day for worrying where your child can fret and vent. During this scheduled time, your job is to listen and help them sort out their feelings.

This technique is also helpful because when a child is worrying, you can tell them that they’re allowed to worry, but they need to wait for the designated time. They might not even feel worried when the scheduled time comes.

4. Avoid pushing your children. You might find that you’re forcing your child to behave a certain way without even realizing it. It’s more common than you think. With children who already have anxious tendencies, be patient about behavior changes, and be positive around your child. Unless they are legitimately in danger, please don’t put them under unnecessary pressure. If you need to make a change, do it gradually, so it isn’t shocking to the child.

5. Build self-confidence. Help your child raise their confidence. When they feel confident, it’s difficult to feel anxious or scared. When your child begins to feel more confident instead of anxious, they begin to have a more positive attitude about themselves. This also helps them when faced with fearful situations again in the future.

Helping your child learn how to overcome anxieties while they’re young, also teaches them an essential skill that will benefit them for the rest of their life. Not only will they have happier childhoods, but they’ll also be more resilient adults.

Discuss growth, social behaviors, sleep, nutrition, learning and family interactions with a pediatrician. For newborns to 18 years old, well child check-ups focus on developmental milestones, safety, nutrition, your child and your family’s emotional well-being. Get recommendations about everything from breastfeeding and toilet training to screen time and how to get teens to talk. Sunshine offers pediatric care with well child check-ups, dental screenings and immunizations all in one neatly packaged visit. Help your child be as healthy as they can be with physical, mental and social well-being. Schedule your child’s next visit right here with Sunshine.

 

 

 

 

Pediatrician Dr. Natalie Cassell

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