How Do I Cope With An Anxious Child?
How do I cope with an anxious child? The answer is: in the same way you would like to be treated when you experience anxiousness – with encouragement, empathy and receiving support from someone who loves you to help you get you through whatever is causing the anxiousness.
I was listening to the radio (Ben Fordham - 4BG) the other day, and one of the topics discussed was on how anxiousness in children is on the rise. At present people’s levels of anxiousness have risen dramatically all around us- which would undoubtedly be having a direct effect on children. Children need to be children – we as adults should never underestimate the power in children having fun and doing interesting, enjoyable activities- which by the way, are never a waste of time.
Last year I was presenting a fun interactive workshop for children and I was a little shocked to see how many children were very anxious over little things for example; anxious if they did the activity a different way, or accidently ripped their paper, ran out of glue etc. which were all small problems, but were fixed immediately - with encouragement/empathy – letting them know it’s ok and/or replacing the product needed.
Now more than ever before we should be increasing activities that lessen anxiousness to assist as much as possible in getting our children’s minds off – for a moment – what is happening in the world. I’m not suggesting we ignore what is happening and don’t discuss it with them, but we certainly don’t need to focus upon it with our children every waking second. We need to focus on the good things that are happening and/or create them ourselves at this time to reinforce giving, gratitude, thankfulness and kindness.
Tessa’s Books Of Elegance include a variety of quick activities for children to do to help children de-stress at home, in a caring and nurturing environment which is essential for their brains, bodies, and social bonds―all equally as important in today's current climate of increasing screen time. In addition the books have a multitude of activities that can be made and given away as gifts to others, which at this time, would be really appreciated by some people, whom are doing it tough at present. Making things and then giving to others is at the heart of my book series- as it takes the focus of yourself and onto others to tell them how much you care/love them. Over the 30 years I have worked with children I have found they just love making/creating things for other people, and just get so excited to give it to them!
At times when my children were anxious, I also had my ‘go to’ activities– where I could create a diversion and say, “Ok who wants to cook this, make that, go outside and play this, create this..etc.” And we would then engage in these activities to take their minds off whatever was causing the anxiety – before re –approaching talking about whatever caused the anxiety.
Research actually shows that when children engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities it can improve their ability to get along with others – therefore combating bullying, improving their emotional intelligence (see my blog ‘Fostering Emotional Intelligence At An Early Age – More Necessary Than Ever Before’) and assists with language, math and the ability to cope with anxiety.
Let’s face it at the moment we could possibly find ourselves at home more frequently, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to actively choose not to be anxious and in turn lessening anxiousness in our children. It is no secret children pick up on what we do and say, how we think and deal with anxiousness, including how we react in situations. So at present we have a choice to show them to focus on what is important and how to make the most of a situation in this current time.
I really believe in a way, that it’s an excellent time to get back to basics as much as possible. Looking back at my childhood (45yrs ago) when I spent time with my grandparents and great grandmother, there was little or no anxiousness present at all. We all spent our days together doing activities that kept us busy, were enjoyable, entertaining, talking and laughing. By the way - my grandparents owned their own businesses, respectfully, and still found time to spend with us. I know the world we live in today is very different, however we all have the ability, with so much information available to create a wonderful atmosphere of fun and doing activities together – which will have decrease anxiousness in our children and parents won’t have to ask anymore; “How do I decrease anxiousness in my child.”