Did you know that most children experience various forms of anxiety and stress from the moment they are born? Sometimes, it is easy to spot whether a child is anxious by their crying and clinging behaviour. But as they advance in age, children may start hiding their anxiety. Nevertheless, it will still reflect in their actions.
You can help your child effectively deal with anxiety and stress through the following suggestions:
Arrange a ‘fun’ time.
Piles of homework can certainly drain your child energy and make them prone to anxiety and stress. Even sports activities can be physically and mentally stressful too. So make sure they have time to have some ‘pure fun’.
Organise some fun yet relaxing activities, such a painting, drawing, reading, a tea party or some games that don’t require too much competition.
It is very common for children to have fears, just as adults do. But the problem with many parents is that they tend to encourage their kids to avoid their fears, instead of facing them. But the more they hide from their fears, the more they will be hunted by it.
So slowly, help your child become used to the things they fear the most. Normally, anxiety is reduced in 20-45 minutes of staying around a mildly fear-provoking situation. If your child is suffering from an intense fear or phobia, it is advisable to seek therapy as soon as possible.
Emphasise their good side.
Children with severe anxiety tend to focus on their negative side – their flaws, things they cannot do, etc. Negative thinking can make your child hate themselves and other people.
You can help your child become more positive by giving attention to their good side – talents, skills and strengths. Congratulate your child for scoring high in their test, teach them some new skills, and surround them with positive people.
Make sure your child sleeps on time.
Lack of sleep has been found to make children more irritable and stressed. It is important that they get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. To promote quality sleep, set a bedtime schedule that must be strictly followed even during weekends.
Enhance their problem-solving skills.
Critical thinking must be developed at the earliest age possible. If you keep on solving even the little problems your child encounters, they will just learn to become dependent on you. Now, what if they face a problem at school and you aren’t there?
It will make them more anxious and exhausted. Allowing your child to solve their problems (with your guidance of course) will greatly benefit them, especially as they grow older.
Organise relaxation exercises.
In the morning, before your child goes to school, you may encourage them to practise some relaxation exercises with you.
At night as they close their eyes to sleep, you may ask your child to think or imagine a very relaxing place, such as a garden full of fragrant flowers or some enchanted forest adventure. These techniques are scientifically proven to reduce anxiety symptoms and relieve stress. Many people don’t realise this is in fact hypnosis.
Be the role model.
You don’t expect your child to become free from stress and anxiety if you yourself are having similar issues! Children follow what their parents do. For them, anything you say or do is right.
So be the role model of your own child. Positivity is contagious. If you are always positive, your child can easily acquire your personality without you having to do so much effort!
No matter how hard it is, never stop trying. Anxiety and stress can be very hard to overcome but it doesn’t mean your child wouldn’t be able to deal with them any more. Just keep following these tips and discover a great difference.
Also, you may want to see a therapist to guide your child. A professional practitioner, with a blue card, should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to reduce anxiety and stress in children, just as they can effectively deal with adult issues.
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All the best,