5 Tips To Reduce Your Child's Anxious Feelings

mother comforting son

Raising an anxious child can be an exhausting and anxiety-producing task! Often typical parenting approaches do not work on anxious children. For those of you in the trenches - here are 5 important tips to get you started in the right direction!

1. Establish a predictable routine.

One way to help reduce your anxiety as well as your child’s – is to develop a predictable routine. Make a schedule and post it in on the fridge.

If your children aren’t school aged – structure your day in a familiar format – such as breakfast, outing, lunch, home activity, dinner. Routine brings comfort and predictability.

2. Teach your child skills to express their feelings and fears.

Teach your child to express themselves. If your child can tell you how they are feeling, you will be able to teach them how to cope with those feelings. If you have a young child and are not sure how to improve their ability to express their feelings, you can check out my post - Teach Your Toddler to Express Feelings.

3. Do not hold your child back because you are afraid FOR them.

It is scary to watch your child balancing on top of a playground ladder, leaping into the deep end of the pool or climbing with disregard up a rock wall. Instead of jumping in and preventing them from doing things that make your heart leap into your throat – try to take a step back and support them as they attempt to do it themselves.

4. Do not prevent your child from facing their fears.

It is hard to watch as your child struggles to talk to others in new situations or is scared of the dark. When you rescue your child by always going into those dark rooms with them or by always speaking for them, you are not giving your child a chance to overcome their fears.

Instead, give them the tools to work through their fears and to learn how to slowly adapt. For those of you with younger children - you can read my post - Teach Your Child How to Fight Anxiety to get an idea on how to build your child’s skills.

5. Show your child how you overcame some of your own fears.

Let your child know that everyone has fears and worries. Validating your child’s fears will let them know you understand. You might say something like, “I don’t like the dark either, even though I know there is nothing there. I used to get very scared when I was little, but then I learned to just turn the lights on as soon as I go into a room.” Teaching your child coping mechanisms that you have learned can go along way in helping them overcome their own fears.

Natasha Daniels, LCSW is a child therapist with a private practice in Chandler, Arizona. She writes about childhood anxiety and has a blog Anxioustoddlers.com. Her book How to Parent an Anxious Toddler is coming out in September, 2015. You can follow her through facebook at www.facebook.com/anxioustoddlers.

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