How to Help a child with Anxiety

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I’m happy to share tips on How to Help a child with Anxiety, after tips from friends online because my daughter has had some fears lately that I needed help with!

How to help a child with anxiety. 25 tips!

Understanding anxiety is new to me. I haven’t experienced it myself, on a clinical level, and haven’t known too many sufferers in my adult realm. Recently, I’ve had a friend share about her challenges with anxiety, and it just so happened, that my youngest has had some anxieties creep in that alarmed me.

I love the community of friends I’ve got on Instagram,and when I shared in my Instagram stories a few weeks ago about my daughter being terrified of rain after the hurricanes destroyed communities, I thought it would pass.

She didn’t necessarily want to miss school, but she was worried it would rain while she was at school. The school also had the electricity go out (not because of weather but a community power line out) around the same time, and it really worried her, while her friend in class thought it was FUN!

I will say that two years ago, we had a house 50 yards away get struck by lightning, and we watched it burn to the ground. There is a valid concern, we’ve all shared that worry, who live close by.

I reached out to the friends on Instagram and asked how to help a child with anxiety and if they’ve had any tips. Though my natural instinct was to say to her, “it’s no big deal, everything will be ok!” I knew there was more I needed to understand to validate her fears.

I also wanted tips on how best to steer her in the other direction, so this is what I learned from my peeps out there. THANK YOU if you shared, and feel free to comment and share your tips of what you’ve tried, worked or hasn’t worked, or just if you can relate.

I’ve had many ask about my daughter since then, and thankfully her fears seem to have gotten milder, and for that I’m grateful. I know that isn’t always the case.

How to Help a child with Anxiety:

  1. Reassurance that you are there, no matter what.
  2. Talking it out with them, no matter how crazy what they are sounding.
  3. Validation, no matter what. Never say they are crazy, validate with affirmative words. If you aren’t sensitive, they won’t want to come to you in the future, and will make them feel more isolated and lonely in their fears.
  4. Lemon lozenges–great for calming nerves
  5. Play calming music in their room at night or when they need some down time.
  6. Cosmic kids yoga on YouTube
  7. Keep something soft in their pocket to rub. Small cloth or ribbon or stuffed animal.
  8. Oils. I know many love their oils. My sister in law loves to smell or rub PEACE or I’ve heard Serenity.
  9. Therapy. Sometimes kids need a different person as a sounding board, especially if it’s gone on for a while.
  10. Help them recite positive affirmations: I am smart, I am brave, I am not afraid of the dark.
  11. Meditation for kids on YouTube.
  12. Exposure therapy– facing fears through meeting them head on. It is normal to want to avoid the things you fear. But,avoidance prevents you from learning that the things you fear are not as dangerous as you think.
  13. Never minimize anxiety, it makes them feel stupid and may produce further insecurity
  14. Breathing techniques: Belly breathing
  15. Dedicate the home, pray as a family for the safety of the home.
  16. Pray with them, suggest a Fathers blessing
  17. Vitamin D supplements
  18. The scenario game–what would you do these things happened? Think through different situations. What would you do if you are about to fall into hot lava with the Loch Ness monster? Make up silly scenarios. (role playing)
  19. Anxiety suffers usually have intense imaginations, very creative, hone that skill in an artistic way.
  20. Put a name to it, call the fear something and make it a “thing”
  21. Extra love and attention for this child
  22. Draw it out. Artistically express what your concerns are.
  23. Problem solve together: How can I help you with this fear?
  24. Help them come up with an alternate ending
  25. Find a children’s book that illustrates a scenario your child worries about and read it together.

Anything new to you? Did these tips help you think of how to talk to your child in a different way? Can you add to this list to help other parents looking for how to help a child with anxiety?

Grateful to my friends on the internet for helping ME come up with this great list!

If you’d like to see more parenting discussions, I’ve got more! I love trying to figure out this parenting gig, and sharing what I’ve learned.

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Comments

  1. I definitely agree with the belly breathing. We also find that epsom salt baths and/or magnesium supplements are helpful too! Great list!
    Shelley

  2. Beautiful post — I plan to write a post on a similar topic and will definitely link to this as a resource.

  3. My son has panic attacks and major anxiety. My one bit of advice is never feel like you have failed as a parent if you ask for help. When we finally figured out what was going on with our son I knew it was something I had no idea how to help. I read every article I could find and still knew it was beyond me. We found a therapist for kids and sh has been amazing. So narrowing my advice to 1 line. Never be afraid to get help.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I love that, thank you for sharing. I think we often feel like we have to do it all ourselves, but therapists are well trained for this stuff.

  4. I’ve had many ask about my daughter since then, and thankfully her fears seem to have gotten milder, and for that I’m grateful. I know that isn’t always the case.