Helping your child with anxiety

27 Sep, 2017

One common issue many children experience is anxiety. Anxiety in children and childhood fears are a normal part of development. However, some children get anxious more often and more intensely than others and need support to reach their full potential.

Anxiety becomes a concern when it stops your child from doing things they want to do or interferes with friendships, schoolwork or family life. It can also become a concern if your child’s anxiety leads to them not sleeping well or seeming unhappy because they are worried a lot of the time.

Common anxieties can include:

  • social – the fear of interaction with other people or being the focus of attention.
  • separation – when a child can’t be without their parents.
  • generalised – worrying about many areas of life including school, health, sporting achievements, money, health, school-work and safety.

When your child is upset, anxious, angry or distressed – this is an opportunity for connection. Lean in with empathy, connect with your child, help them to identify what the emotion is that they are experiencing.

You are their greatest teacher – be a model for them on safety, calmness, slow breathing, affection and problem solving. Create the space to work out solutions together to issues that come up in everyday life. Enjoy time with your child and connect with things you both love to do eg. cooking, sport, walks at the beach, sandcastles.

If you notice your child beginning to become anxious you can help calm them with some mindfulness exercises.

Help regulate breathing by:

- Blowing a balloon
- Blowing bubbles
- Blowing a pinwheel

Refocus their mind by:

- Drawing a picture
- Going for a nature walk/cloud watching
- Keeping a balloon off the ground
- Filling a bag with different textured items, close your eyes and guess what they are only using touch

Remember, parents must play too…don’t just SAY, show the WAY!

Where can I get extra support?

If your child needs further support contact 4families, run by Relationships Australia WA in some locations. 

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