Have you noticed fear and anxiety becoming a regular occurrence for your little one?
For some people, anxiety is part of everyday life. It affects an alarming number of adults worldwide and upwards of 20% of children and adolescents.
It can be tough to see your kids experience worry, fear, and stress, since at a young age they are still learning to understand and express emotions. But the first and most important step to addressing anxiety in your children is to recognize what to look out for and understand its potential impacts. Every family’s situation is unique, but here are some basic tips for parenting kids with anxiety that might work for you.
How can I tell if my child is anxious?
In truth, every child is different. While some kids who feel anxious may be quiet, well-behaved, and polite, often earning them the label “the shy kid”, others may be loud and disruptive, constantly “acting out” as a way of looking for the attention they need. In both cases, anxiety is not necessarily the first cause that comes to mind.
As a result, these children may fail to receive the treatment they need, which only exacerbates anxiety as they get older.
Here are some signs that indicate anxiety may be at play:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability or random outbursts
- Crying frequently when they’re not physically injured
- Worrying or negative thoughts (if your child is a little older, they may not discuss with this you – this is why communication is so important)
If you have a feeling that your child may be regularly experiencing worry or anxious thoughts, but aren’t necessarily noticing these specific signifiers, trust your parental intuition. Check in with them to gain a better understanding of what may be influencing their behaviour.
How to help your child navigate anxiety
Open up the lines of communication
Communication is everything when it comes to better understanding your child and their feelings of anxiety. It can be difficult to know where to begin, but it’s worth taking the time to figure it out.
Younger children tend to be more dependent on their caregivers, so it’s possible that they’re more likely to open up right away. Older children may need a gentle nudge.
Start off by letting your child know that you are always there for them to talk to, even if they don’t feel like opening up right away. Pushing them to talk before they’re ready may cause them to shy away, so let them know you’re there without pressuring them to take action immediately.
This approach will allow them to feel safe and in control, and therefore far more likely to come to you when they feel the need to.
Give them the option of counseling
We’ve all heard the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”, and it can be helpful to remain open to this as a parent. If available to you and your family, counseling is an excellent option. This is particularly helpful if anxiety if affecting your child when they’re at school or in their social life – times when you’re not necessarily there to see potential feelings of anxiety in action.
Nutrition and supplemental support
Everything we eat has an impact on our mental health, so be sure that your kitchen is stocked full of nutritional goodies. Kids are less likely to snack on junk foods if they’re not available. A diet made up of whole foods, colourful vegetables, and healthy proteins and fats is a great way to ensure your child is getting all the nutrients they need for mental and physical health.
If extra support is needed, there are always supplements to turn to. A kid’s multivitamin combined with a healthy diet will ensure they’re getting all their dietary nutrients on a regular basis. As a non-drowsy option, Calm for Kids is a gentle, homeopathic tincture that helps to relieve anxiety and restlessness in children.
Remember that it takes time for children to understand and regulate their emotions, so patience is key. By understanding how anxiety can present itself and how to effectively communicate with your child when they’re feeling stressed or worried, you can help guide them to a happy, carefree place.