Simple ways to help kids manage anxiety
Anxiety is a normal emotion. We all feel anxious at one time or another. All emotions are okay and it’s important to accept and feel all emotions. But sometimes kids feel like the anxiety is too big to handle. The good news is you can help your kids learn to manage it.
Name the emotion
· This is important! Sometimes kids don’t even realize what they are feeling is anxiety; they just know they feel upset.
· Say, “It looks like you are feeling worried about _______”
· Just putting a name to the emotion can help your child diffuse it or encourage them to talk about it if they want to.
Have a routine
· Routines help kids feel safe.
· When kids know what to expect, they feel less worried.
· Breathing is a great way to bring down the adrenaline caused by big anxieties.
· Invite your kiddo to go outside and blow bubbles with you. Ask her to make the biggest bubble ever! The slower the breath, the better.
· Go for a bike ride, go for a walk, play hopscotch, turn on music and dance. You get the point!
· Spend a few minutes with your child at bedtime. When you put your child to bed, trace their hand and go over each finger. As you trace each finger, tell your child one thing you love about them or something you are proud of.
· This is a great activity because it strengthens parent-child attachment, relieves anxiety and offers touch, comfort and soothing. I learned this great technique from child therapist, Clair Mellenthin, LCSW.
· Find ways to manage your own anxiety!
· Some good ideas are: meditation (the phone app, Headspace, is a quick and easy place to start), deep breathing, muscle relaxation, talking to a friend, exercise.