Tips for Helping Your Anxious Child

  1. Recognize that the fear feels very real to your child. Empathize with your child’s feelings even if you feel they are overreacting to the situation.
  2. It is important to remember that when your child is anxious he is likely feeling a fight or flight response. This means that his nervous system is in high gear. The focus should first be on relaxing his nervous system. Try not to inadvertently add to your child’s distress by expressing your own anger, frustration or anxiety. Try to help your child calm their nervous system. A gentle touch, a quiet voice and encouraging words can all serve a calming purpose.
  3. Remind your child that what they are feeling is just anxiety. It can help children to have a name for their experience.
  4. Work with your child to slowly face his fears. Protecting him from fearful or anxiety-producing situations will only increase the avoidance over time. Help him find a way to face the feared situation. It is best if he can choose to face the feared situation rather than being forced into it.
  5. Help your child participate in activities to boost his confidence and self-esteem. If your child believes that he can overcome obstacles, this will help him gain the courage to tackle the anxiety. Build confidence and courage!
  6. Try to control your own worries and anxieties. Children can become more anxious if they are frequently overhearing their parents’ worries and concerns.
  7. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by dealing with your child’s anxiety or resentful of the impact your child is having on the family, get support.
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