Helping Your Child Deal With Anxiety

By January 23, 2015No Comments

Mental Health 11Anxiety is a form of fear that many people deal with at some point in life. However, rather than direct fear of an immediate, in-the-moment situation, anxiety is more comparable to worry – it is a fear of what could be or might be. Sometimes this anxiety can become paralyzing. Unfortunately, it is not only adults whose minds are able to stray into the realm of unpleasant possibilities…children can also deal with anxiety. As the parent of a child with anxiety, you need a plan for teaching your child to cope with this kind of gripping fear. Here are some ways to help them cope with anxiety:

Place Worries in a Box
One way to help your child deal with anxiety is to have them verbalize what frightens or worries them. Maybe they are afraid of dogs or talking to new people or being left in a new place such as a school or daycare. Acknowledge what concerns them and then tell them to imagine placing that worry inside a box. Then lock the box. The worry is not gone, but it isn’t allowed to be present without permission.

Find a Distraction
Getting your child’s mind off of their anxiety is key to leaving worries inside the box. Think of this as changing the channel in your child’s brain. Tell your child they hold the remote control and they can change channels. Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, bake some cookies – whatever is needed to redirect thinking.

The Power of Words
Words are powerful. Tell your child that when they hear worries talking to them, they are free to talk right back. Teach your child to say things like “that may not even happen”, “it could be easy”, “I don’t have to listen to this” or “that is not necessarily true”. Spoken words have power.

There are other helpful techniques for overcoming anxiety. At Family Guidance Center we have helped many children learn to deal with intrusive fears and we can help your family too, give us a call today.