Children getting anxious is a normal part of their development and as they grow up they face many obstacles surrounding it. Some children are more anxious than others. They quickly get stressed or worried.
Dealing with anxiety can be tough enough on adults, let alone little children who aren’t fully equipped to handle stressful situations. One bad experience can often be magnified in a child’s mind, causing all kinds of anxious thoughts to surface and bubble over at just a reminder of the troubling situation.
Child could be anxious and shun crowded social situations such as a party because he was embarrassed by an incident previously. Or he could be afraid of going to the beach or into a pool because he had a scary mishap in the water once. Getting over certain fears and anxieties related to situations that could come up is a tricky subject that should be approached with care.
Here are some ways to deal with your child’s anxiety.
- Don’t pressure but support
This is not the time for tough love with your child. Forcing him or her to do something they’re not comfortable with in the hope that they’ll “get over it” can actually give them increased anxiety as they will now be worried about displeasing you as well. You can bring up the topic casually but gauge how comfortable your child is taking steps toward facing their terrifying situation. Let them work out their emotions at their own pace with you to support them throughout the ordeal.
2. Baby steps toward your goal
Navigate the situations your child is fearful of with care. Slowly introducing them to the idea of facing their fear is a good way to build up their confidence to overcoming it. For example, if your child is overly conscious in social situations, organising one-on-one play dates can help him become more social. Later, you can work towards increasing the number of children to make him more comfortable at bigger gatherings such as parties.
3. Use games to help challenge them
For kids afraid of water, turning small tasks into a challenge can help distract them from their fear. For example, timing how long they can stay in the water is a good way to help them want to beat their previous “record time”. You participating in their challenges along with them can help make them feel safer and more secure about the situation.
4. Never brush fears off
They may seem trivial to you, but disregarding your child’s fears can have a very bad impact. The last thing you want is for your child to not trust you enough to tell you what is worrying them. By ridiculing their worries, you could push your child away and embarrass them, causing even more anxiety. Instead, try to relate to their concerns, and give advice on what helps you overcome difficulties so that they can be inspired.
5. Teach your child to deal
Let them know that it’s okay to be scared, especially when trying to overcome a stressful situation, but it’s important nonetheless to try and power through. Teach your child how to calm down with deep breathing that he can concentrate on when he feels anxious.
6. Encourage even small steps
Don’t forget to praise him or her on every step towards overcoming their anxiety. Praise and little rewards for conquering their fears can work wonders to increase your child’s confidence.
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