Anxiety does not just affect adults; it can also do a number on children. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, one in eight children suffer from an anxiety disorder. Whether it is due to stress at school or home, anxiety can negatively affect your child's physical and mental well-being. As a parent, you can help your child deal with anxiety better. Here are six effective ways to reduce your child's anxiety:
Help Your Child Focus on the Positives
Because an anxious child tends to focus on the negative things in his life, you should help yours pay more attention to the positives. For example, if your child received a bad grade on his last math test, you can remind him of how well he did on his last English or science test.
Have Your Child Express His Anxiety
It is important to let your child know that it is alright to express his anxiety. If you tell your child not to worry every time he tells you that he is anxious, he will think that you are dismissing his feelings. It is better to let your child know that you understand he feels anxious and ask him what's troubling him. If your child has a chance to talk about his feelings of worry, he may feel a lot better.
Teach Your Child Relaxation Exercises
Adults are not the only ones who can benefit from relaxation exercises. If your child gets anxious often, teach him a few relaxation exercises to reduce his stress. For instance, you could have your child meditate every morning for 10 minutes. Have him sit down in a quiet room, focus his mind on one object in the room and close his eyes. This exercise will help clear your child's mind. Yoga and deep breathing exercises can also help your child relax.
Do not Let Your Child Avoid Things That Cause Anxiety
As a parent, it is natural to want to help your child avoid anything that causes him distress. However, if you never encourage your child to face his fears, his anxiety will just get worse. Instead, encourage your child to take baby steps to face his fears. For example, if he is afraid of dogs, have him watch some dogs play in a park. Once your child gets more comfortable, arrange for him to pet a friendly dog.
Teach Your Child How to Problem Solve
If your child never learns how to solve his own problems, his anxiety will get worse. It is up to you to help him build his problem solving skills. Whenever your child has a problem, ask him to think of several possible solutions. If he can't come up with his own solutions right away, identify a few and have him choose the best one. For instance, if your child just had an argument with his friend, you could suggest that he calls his friend on the phone or what until he sees him again to straighten things out.
If your child is having a difficult time managing his anxiety, you should consider taking him to therapy. A trained therapist will carefully listen to your child's worries and help teach healthy ways to manage his anxiety. A counselor may also determine if there is an underlying reason why your child is so anxious all the time.
Watching your child worry can definitely be difficult, but you can help him get through this difficult time. If you are patient with your child and follow some of these techniques, you can reduce his anxiety and help him become happier. For more information or assistance, contact resources like Living Hope Clinic.