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Tips for Handling Anxiety in Children

At one time or another, we all get a little anxious. But, there are some children that seem to get more anxious than others, and they do it on a regular basis. If this sounds like your child, rest assured, there are things you can do to try to alleviate the discomfort that often accompanies severe anxiety. The more you know about anxiety and how to help your child through it, the better everyone will feel! 

Anxiety Disorders and Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety in children is a somewhat common problem. If you have a child that experiences anxiety, you may notice that she gets nervous or has a feeling of impending fear. Sometimes, kids this age may be anxious about going to school or going somewhere new. The level of anxiety that a child feels will vary, and some kids may be diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder, while others have only mild case of anxiety.

Tips to help your child handle anxiety issues:

  • Discuss worry and fear with your child. If there is something making her feel particularly anxious, talk to her about what it is and why she feels the way she does.
  • Teach your child important outlets for relieving stress and fear such as journaling, drawing, or painting about her feelings and fears.
  • Speak with a school counselor or family therapist to determine if your child has a serious anxiety disorder that may require more attention.
  • Set a good example of how to handle situations when you are worried or afraid. Children watch those around them and will often pick up their energy, good or bad.
  • Keep a behavior chart that lists ways that your child can address fear and anxiety. Each time she uses one of the available options, have her check it on the behavior chart. Be sure to include a system that allows her to earn rewards for managing her anxiety positively.
  • Try to maintain a consistent routine. Children with anxiety often feel anxious when their routine is disrupted.
  • Monitor such things as the television shows and movies your child is watching for issues that may be causing her to feel worried or anxious.

While most children do experience anxiety at one time or another, the majority learn to cope and move beyond it. However, some kids may experience more serious anxiety disorders which may also be associated with conditions such as eating disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and depression. If your child has an ongoing anxiety issue that cannot be eased with the above tips, it may be time to discuss the problem with your doctor.