Monsters under the bed; the dark; all young children worry about things, real or imagined. And as they grow, so their anxieties. Most parents manage to console their kids and lessen their fears. But for some children, anxiety crosses the line from normal to unhealthy. One child can’t eat for the fear of choking. Another has a fear of animals. Or she dreads going to school because she hates being away from Mum all day. Fortunately, here, too, parents can develop strategies to help anxious children cope.
Detection, however, is vital. Continued anxiety in childhood can place a child at risk for low self-esteem, lack of confidence, unhealthy relationships, depression, and even suicide. Parenting strategies – along with therapy and medication when needed – can go a long way toward easing kids’ anxieties. Now let me share to you the top five parenting strategies to relieve child anxiety that you can do at home:
1. Face your own fears. By being overly worried yourself, you can inadvertently teach your kids to worry. If you avoid your fears, your children wont confront theirs either.
2. Talk openly about your child’s unique feelings and fears and nip anxiety in the bud whenever possible. Such manner will help to reassure your kids that their concerns won’t be laughed at or minimized.
3. Make sure your kids aren’t feeling too overwhelmed by too many activities. Build time to relax into their day. Institute routines for bedtime, homework and extracurricular activities. Anxious children like their world to be orderly and controlled.
4. Enforce proper sleep and dietary habits. Who doesn’t feel better and more relaxed when these basics are in balance? And make sure your children get enough exercise. Anxious kids are often tired because they exhaust themselves with worry, but exercise will increase energy and reduce worry.
5. Encourage your children to take risk and face increasingly complex challenges so that they enlarge their comfort zones and feel good about themselves. Don’t let them avoid things they’re afraid of.
We’re born with different temperaments, and some of us are more predisposed to anxiety than others. Some forms of anxiety are inherited, so if you’re afflicted, your children may be too. Girls appear to be more prone to symptoms of anxiety than boys. Boys tend to externalize their feelings by acting out.
Every youngster needs to go out and engage with the world. If you let them stay inside their shells, they are more likely to develop future anxiety problems.