Anxiety and fear is a big part of a child’s life. Everything is usually a new experience!
Like Halloween. It is a fun-filled celebration for most of the kids. But fun is not always mandatory and sometimes it ends up in tears. Dressing up with costumes, too many candies, meeting masked strangers etc., can stir up unexpected emotions among your kids. Mostly its related to fear and anxiety that’s likely to get your child more keyed-up and might lead to chaos. To avoid this most of you prepare your kid’s mind for a memorable Halloween experience.
Prior to celebrating this big event, you work with a plan for the costume, supplies and other required items including accessories. You also work towards the weather forecast, route, and peers who might join with you for trick or treating. You all know this is a big night and you take a big step in preparing your kid’s mind. Though it’s just a party you do your homework for your kids to stay happy and have fun.
But what if your kid is anxious about mostly everything regardless of how hard you work to help your kid overcome it? Anxiety can happen for any kid at any moment. It doesn’t have to be a Halloween night or school’s first day.
So, eliminating anxiety is no more an option here but it can be managed by helping your child. These are some of the important tips to teach your kids to cope with fear and anxiety.
Prepare Your Child With What To Expect
There are some fears that can happen from never imagined situations. Unfortunately, we can’t protect our kids from some of the fears and those just must be endured. In this case, educating your kid about the overall event or experience can be helpful for your kid to overcome such fears.
Especially kids who are anxious needs to be prepared for the real world. It also helps in clearing up their misperceptions and boosts confidence in dealing things.
For instance, if your chid is anxious about a doctor visit, you can start up a conversation or even role play prior to the visit, giving her a picture of what to expect. But, make sure you are not overdoing it. Because when we are afraid of something, the real hardest part is the moment before we do it. It’s important to keep the anticipatory period short. Overdoing the rehearsing may make your kid tense or make them feel more anxious.
Practice Relaxation Techniques Together
Work with your kid and create a relaxation strategy that works for you both.
- It can be a deep breath in and breath out. It helps to reduce the anxiety.
- Hearing some soothing relaxing music while going to bed.
- It can be a “self-statement” some positive words to repeat silently when the moment of worry builds up. Like “ I can do it”, I can handle it”, etc.., It has to be the same single statement which can be practiced repeatedly together until it becomes an automatic response.
- Children mirror your behavior. So handling your fear and anxiety plays an important role. Try to deal your emotions in a gentle way and don’t get surprised when your kid starts doing the same relaxation strategy to overcome it.
These can help your child handle their emotions and manage their anxiety and fear in an effective way.
Kids love book reading and story time a lot. Reading books that are related to kids emotions, stories that talks some particular scary situation can help them overcome their fear. It’s called “Bibliotherapy” or healing with books.
Reading such books ensures them that feeling scared or anxious is common and it can happen to anyone. So, when you talk about a similar situation that had happened to another character in a book they can easily identify and relate the feeling of the character who shares the same anxiety.
It also makes your kid open a conversation about how they felt in a particular situation. This method can be very helpful especially for kids who are shyer and not outspoken about how they feel often.
Sometimes children are afraid of situation or objects which would be non-threatening for adults. Judging the kids and forcing them to confront it doesn’t help. Taking their fear seriously, listening to them and encouraging them to talk about their emotions are the best support we can give for them.
What are the strategies you use or teach your kids to cope up with their fear and anxiety? Share some of your interesting tips with me in the comments section.