Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Helping Your Child Deal With Anxiety During This Challenging Time

The world can be a scary place, and during this time of the pandemic, many children have good reason to worry and manifest high levels of anxiety. Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. A person should be worried if they’re in a dangerous situation, for example. Anxiety is protective, but too much or inappropriate anxiety isn’t healthy.  As students navigate distance learning, they cope with a level of isolation they have not experienced before.  They don't interact with their peers as much as when they are in the classroom, and the opportunities to participate in activities are limited. 


Use these strategies to help your child over come their anxiety:


  1. Be supportive and patient. It can be frustrating when your child is constantly worried about things that seem meaningless or silly. However, the anxiety they feel is just as real to them as your anxieties are to you. You don’t get to choose the emotions or fears of other people.

      Let your child know that you’re sensitive to their feelings and are always there to support them.

  1. Avoid giving too much warning about a stressful event. If you know your child stresses out about things, it’s important to help them navigate their experience.  When students showing stress out over school on Monday, are anxious about logging on, it will be important to downplay their significance.

      Too much attention can provide too much opportunity to worry. Figure out how much attention your child needs to keep their anxiety at a minimum. Some children appreciate a little time to process what’s going to happen.

  1. Talk it out. Ask your child what they’re worried about and why. Talk about why this fear is or isn’t valid. In other words, look for evidence to prove or disprove the reason for the fear.

      If the fear is valid, develop a plan together to handle the issue.

      If the fear isn’t valid, help your child to trust the evidence they found that negates the reason for the anxiety.

  1. Help your child to keep their attention on the present. We can only worry when we project our attention into the future and imagine negative outcomes. This is largely a habit.

      Teach your child to focus on the present moment and their surroundings. Show your child that it’s more effective to focus on what is, rather than what might be.

  1. Take a look at your home life. Is your home life stressful for your child? Do you and your child’s other parent get along well, or is there a lot of arguing? Are there financial pressures in the household that the child is aware of?

      Children might give the impression that they’re not listening, but they are surprisingly adept at figuring out what’s going on.

  1. Avoid avoidance. You might think you’re being nice if you help your child to avoid everything that causes them to feel anxious, but you’re actually contributing to the issue.

      Each time your child is allowed to avoid the situation due to anxiety, there’s a part of their brain that says, “Hmmmm. If I make her feel anxious, we can get out of doing these things.”

      The brain quickly learns what works. The next time, the anxiety will be even stronger. The brain will continue turning up the volume until it gets what it wants.

      Avoiding a stressor brings relief, which is very rewarding. The urge to avoid only becomes stronger as it’s reinforced.

      Be supportive but avoid letting them off the hook.

  1. Get professional help. It’s very challenging for a parent to effectively help a child with moderate to severe anxiety issues. It’s likely that professional help will be useful. Find a therapist or psychologist that specializes in children of your child’s age.

    Many children are under a lot of stress, not being able to be with their peers. They feel little control over their lives. Most aspects of their lives are controlled by parents or teachers. If your child is anxious, it can be heartbreaking to see them worry all of the time. Be supportive and patient and get professional help if your efforts prove to be insufficient.

    Contribution of this article by the Valgar Institute

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