When a storm hits, the only person that is nervous is Gulliver. Just because nobody else is afraid, doesn’t mean the storm is any less scary for Gulliver. Remembering they are safe might help Gulliver focus on game night.
- Parents play a very important role in helping kids manage anxiety.
- Parents can help children by creating a safe environment for them to learn coping techniques.
- Anxiety is normal. Just because your child’s worry or fear doesn’t make sense to you, it doesn’t mean the fear they are experiencing isn’t real.
- Comfort, encourage and support.
- Don’t criticize or put your child down for having anxiety. They can’t help how they feel.
- Talk to them about their fears. Talking helps them work through what is making them anxious.
- Children struggling with anxiety require a lot of patience. Manage your emotions so you can be there for them. It will be worth it in the long run.
Understanding Sticky Thoughts
Everyone has worries. But sometimes a worry gets stuck, and the more you think about it, the bigger it gets!
Watch the video below first, then watch the Anxiety video as a family!
- Respect the fear is real.
- Tell your child to stop worrying is not going to work- reassuring them that they have nothing to worry about, coaxing and accommodating often doesn’t work either.
- Worries have a way of growing if coping techniques aren’t put in place. Don’t avoid worries when they are little and manageable.
- Remind them they are not alone- you get it!
- Reduce the stress in your home.
- Routines are an important way of supporting a child who is trying to deal with worries. Knowing they can rely on a predictable routine allows them to focus on getting on top of their worries.
- Don’t avoid situations that cause anxiety- anxiety has a way of growing when we give in to it. Patience is the key. Keep trying scary situations. Don’t give up.
- Set some time aside during the day to talk about a worry that is causing your child distress. Work out a plan to deal with worry next time it arises. Encourage the child to try and not think about the worry until it is time to talk about it- the more attention worry gets, the bigger it becomes!
- Celebrate when your child overcomes their worry. This can be a major milestone. Overcoming anxiety will give your child confidence to try to overcome other worries that come along.
Boosting a positive inner dialogue is a great step in decreasing anxiety. Our children have lived with less independence than we had. This has given them less chance to create a strong inner voice. In modelling your own thoughts, you help your child see how to shape their own.
- Modelling out loud is one of the easiest ways to create an inner dialogue for your child by saying, “Let’s get out for a fast walk, I am feeling a bit worried about things – that always makes my heart and head work better together”. Or for older children, “Let’s get our for a walk. Exercise makes the connections in our body work better together and lessens our feelings of worry and stress”. When confronted with an anxiety provoking situation such as worry for the health of family or friend, “I am worried about Grandma. Let’s make her a card and order her in some groceries. That will make her feel better. It will make me feel better too. Doing something about a worry always makes it shrink a bit.”