5 Ways of Helping your Anxious Child
It’s great we’re all back to school, but for many children and teenagers, (especially those who would have been prone to anxiety before lockdown), it’s just not easy right now. Many parents are noticing their child’s anxiety levels rising.
We’re all traveling uncharted waters right now. There’s been an undercurrent of concern worldwide since the start of covid-19, and although we’re all talking about the ‘new normal’ – there’s nothing normal about it. Being back to school has huge benefits for our children, but if you are noticing your child’s anxiety levels are high, you are not alone. So how do you recognise anxiety and what can you do to help?
What are the signs?
Your child may have negative thoughts (about everything), anger outbursts, cry easily, can’t settle to sleep, easily irritable and a low appetite – are all signs of anxiety.
So what can you do to help?
Here’s 5 ways you can help today:
Make the weekend a chill-out weekend. Have little or no plans, big hugs and a cuddly a lie-in, pj mornings, watch an afternoon movie, quality time that doesn’t involve a timetable of activities and things to do.WHY? They have gone from having little or no agenda, to having to remember what it’s like back to a structure dependent on time and organised thinking. Hard to get back to after a long lockdown and summer break. It’s a lot to process, especially for teenagers. In time they will adjust back, but give time some time and space right now.
Listen. Listen and Listen. To their upset, let them go through the negative thoughts with you. Try not to fix or offer many suggestions about what they should or could do (especially for teenagers) just listen and let them offload. WHY? Having listening time is powerful, but if you interject with your own feelings and opinions, it may prevent your child/teen from properly offloading, and they may be reluctant to share their feelings with you if you jump in and try to ‘fix it’ (even if you do mean well). So, did I say Listen?
Play – give special time – playing their choice of game or activity will help WHY? Your child needs to feel connected to you, and release the tension of the day. To more you can offer some playtime, the closer they will feel.
Play – Physical games, like chasing, pillow fights, charactes etc WHY? This releases tension in amazing ways, and certainly helps banish the morning blues and worries for everyone.
Take care of yourself. WHY? Being calm and rested helps us parents to think well and make good choices about what to say and do during difficult situations. If you are stressed and tired, you are less likely to act in the way your child needs you to.
Times are tough, but every parent who sees their child experiencing anxiety can help. Remember you also need someone to talk to, someone to offload your thoughts to.
Please contact me for more information, or to arrange a parent consultation.