What to do When My Child Suffers from Anxiety?
A child can feel anxious for many reasons. As a parent, it’s sometimes difficult to know if your child needs help, and if so, how to help.
What are some signs that your child is experiencing anxiety?
Anxiety is a completely normal feeling of stress, but can turn into a problem if it becomes persistent. When anxiousness goes beyond an occasional worry over a difficult test or fitting in at a new school, it can make your child feel overwhelmed and interfere with his or her enjoyment of life.
The following are some signs that your child may be experiencing anxiety:
- Excessive worry about the health and safety of family members
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or tiredness
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Panic attacks
- Separation anxiety
- Difficulty engaging in social situations
- Obsessive or compulsive behavior
How can your child’s anxiety create hardships?
If your child is anxious, he or she may feel as though they’re constantly carrying a burden around with them. Relaxing can be difficult, and they can find themselves dreading certain situations or even avoiding them entirely.
Your child can become withdrawn as their anxiety keeps them from fully enjoying their regular activities. You may find yourself talking for your child and keeping him or her out of situations where they may experience anxiety.
How can you help your child with anxiety?
The following tips can guide you in helping your anxious child:
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings and don’t minimize them.
- Talk openly about your child’s symptoms in a supportive way.
- Enlist the help of doctors and teachers if needed.
- Stay calm when your child is anxious.
- Don’t punish your child if he or she makes a mistake or takes a step back.
- Don’t lower expectations for your child, but realize they may need more time to become more comfortable.
- Break tasks or situations into smaller steps that your child can accomplish.
- Plan for transitions from one place or activity to another – for example, allow enough time to get ready in the mornings for school.
- Try to keep a regular routine.
- Help your child find something to excel in and take pride in (sports, music, academics, etc.).
- Praise your child for trying something new.
- Teach your child to answer questions for him/herself instead of swooping in with the answers.
- Have clear expectations and consequences instead of attributing genuinely inappropriate behavior to anxiety.
If your child is experiencing anxiety, make an appointment today with Complete Neurological Care to learn about ways to implement a customized treatment plan.