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  • Writer's pictureJenna@northparkhypnotherapy

5 ways to show support for your child with anxiety.

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

It can be really challenging as a parent sometimes to know what to do to support your child when they feel anxious. You’re trying your best to keep them calm and not worry but sometimes you just feel helpless and unsure what to do.

Here are 5 things you can try:

1. Breathe

It sounds like common sense but when we feel anxious we tend to breathe quick, shallow breaths that keep our heart rate up, this can make us feel dizzy and induce panic as we feel short of breath. There are plenty of breathing techniques you can try. My favourite way to do this is just to breathe with them, you can help regulate your child with cuddles or soft stroking, making sure they are breathing as normally as possible. This will relieve most of the symptoms when they are scared and panicked and its also nice as its time spent cuddling and connecting.

2. Show them how

Your child is constantly learning from everyone around them especially you, so showing then and telling them how you calm down and regulate will help them copy you and do the same.

3. Be open and honest

Be honest and open with them. Explain to your child what anxiety is, why we need it and how their anxiety is doing such a great job, normalise it so it's not so scary. You don't even have to label it, you could just call it feelings or sensations that happen in the body, making it humorous or using metaphors around their interests. Sometimes I will explain anxiety as superpowers keeping them safe or explain its our natural instincts kicking in. Make sure they understand everyone has anxiety its there for our protection. If we didn’t have it we would not fear anything and probably get ourselves into really dangerous situations.

4. Understand

Once they have calmed down and are ready to talk you can explore with them why they may be feeling anxious, what may be triggering them. Remember most of the time children are very busy throughout the day so the moments they begin to feel anxious will usually be at times when they begin to settle down and have more time to think e.g bedtime or nap times. Spend more time settling them down so you don't feel rushed and can listen more.

5. Take care

It can be really emotional for parents trying to support a child with anxiety. Especially as there can be so many reasons behind it all and sometimes your child may not even know why which can lead to feelings of helplessness and frustration. Taking care of yourself to avoid becoming emotionally drained will help you support your child, take breaks, do things you both enjoy doing and ask for help if you need to.


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