We have seen a whole other side of our children during the last year or so. You may have once had a child that was happy go lucky but are now showing a completely different side. If you have an anxious child, especially in the current situation, what can you do to help them?
Don’t Focus on Eliminating Anxiety
We can make a big mistake in trying to remove stress and anxiety. The reality is that we need to remove the triggers. Everybody will have anxiety and stress, but it’s learning how to function with them. When your children are in school, the root cause could very well be a lack of understanding in a specific subject. In which case, helping your children to get a better understanding of the subject by using online tutors will make it easier. It’s also worth considering if your child has the ability to cope with their anxieties. For example, if they are aware of the triggers, but they don’t know how to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, you can incorporate a wide variety of techniques.
Do Not Ask Leading Questions
It’s so easy for us to think about asking questions based on problems they are experiencing in school. For example, if they have a test coming up and we ask, “are you anxious about it?” this frames it in a way that is incredibly negative. Instead, we can ask them open-ended questions, such as “how are you feeling about the test?” When we encourage our children to talk about their feelings, it’s important not to pigeonhole them. Because if we do this, we unintentionally send a message that they should be worried about something. If we reinforce our child’s fears, we are framing them in such a way that they have no choice but to feel stressed about it.
Reinforce the Reminder That You Are There for Them
We have to respect their feelings, even if we don’t agree with them. When our children are scared of something, we don’t want to belittle their fears. In addition, we don’t want to make them worse. Many parents tell their children to stop being silly and force them into the dentist chair or into the doctor’s office. The best thing you can do is to listen and to empathize. Help them understand what they are scared about, and then you can give them tools to help them face their fears. The overriding message that you need to send to them is that you are there for them to help them get through this. And although they are scared, this is absolutely fine.
Help Your Child Think Things Through
Because we don’t have much time, we can tell our children to stop being silly if they are scared about something. But if your child is anxious about something, talking them through what could happen and how they would handle it doesn’t just help them to empower themselves, it will help them to reframe their anxieties.
As parents, home learning is well and truly over, but there’s a whole new heap of issues ahead. Now is the time to give your child a thorough foundation.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.