It’s on the rise in our kids. How do we help our children? Below are some quick phrases to help your child next time he/she expresses feeling worried, anxious, scared, uncertain.
Drawing, painting or doodling about an anxiety provides kids with an outlet for their feelings when they can’t use their words. Ask them if it were a monster- what would it look like? They can then talk to their worry character!
You are safe. I love you.
Being told that you will be kept safe by the person you love the most is an affirmation. Anxiety makes your children feel that their minds and bodies are in danger. Repeating they are safe can soothe the nervous system.
Let’s pretend we are blowing up a balloon.
We will take a deep breath and blow it up to the count of 5. – have you ever tried to tell a child to take a deep breath in the middle of anxiety? The response is usually- “I CAN’T”. Instead, make it a game. Pretending to blow up a balloon, makes it creative and fun. This reverses the stress response in their bodies and may even be make them laugh in the process.
Why do you think that is?
Helping them articulate the ‘why’ in what they are feeling. Helps begin to also solve the problem of where the anxiety may be rooted. It is more helpful with older kids who are more articulate.
What will happen next?
Help them think through the event, about what will happen afterwards. The anxiety keeps them stuck, they can’t envision what happens afterwards- life seems to disappear. Help bring them back and see what will happen later.
“I am unstoppable” “Here I come” “I am strong, a superhero” – the physical act of yelling replaces fear with endorphins. Which changes their mood and can be fun.
Put your worry on the shelf while we __
listen to your favorite song, read your favorite book, walk around the block. Then we will pick it back up again. –Those who are anxiety prone feel as though they have to carry their anxiety everywhere until it’s over. Setting it aside, helps teach them how to distract their thoughts, and helps them put their worries into perspective.
Close your eyes. Picture this…
Visualization, mental vacations, are powerful techniques that can ease pain and anxiety through imagining a safe, happy place where they feel comfortable. It can relieve their physical symptoms of anxiety. And they can take this mental break/vacation anywhere they go!
I know this is hard.
Acknowledging that the situation is difficult helps them feel understood and not judged by you. Your validation also shows that you respect them.
What do you need from me? How can I help?
Invite your kids in, show them you believe they have answers. It could be a hug, space, a high-five. Let them help problem solve, this tool is helpful for developing their upper brains and problem solving in the future.