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8 Tips for Kiddos With Anxiety ”
While kids grow up, they experience everything for the first time. Some things may seem scary at first, but others could trigger anxiety that follows them into adulthood. Parents can use these eight tips for kiddos with anxiety to mitigate their attacks and make their lives more enjoyable. See if any of these tips help your child before or during their next wave of anxiety.
1. Ground Them With Their Senses
When anxiety builds and crashes through someone’s mind, it feels like everything’s spinning out of control. Your child may get caught up in their racing thoughts and feel disconnected from their environment. When holding them or talking with them doesn’t help, you can ground them through their senses.
Ask them to recite something they can interact with through each of their five senses. They can point out what they see, hear, feel, smell and taste. Using each sense individually anchors them in the moment and takes them out of their whirlwind of fear so they can get through it.
2. Reduce Their Sugar Intake
Your child’s diet could irritate their nervous system and make them more prone to anxiety attacks. Added sugar is in everything from bread to spaghetti sauce, but it’s not good for your body. Researchers found that high-sugar diets induced an anxiety-like phenotype that increased anxiety in test subjects, even in relaxed environments.
Breaking the cycle by getting foods with no added sugar labels makes your family healthier and less physically stressed. They’ll be more likely to handle anxiety-inducing situations better because their body is always ready to fight it.
3. Sleep With a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are another way for kids and adults to ground themselves during an anxiety attack. The heavy, reassuring weight significantly reduces and mitigates anxiety even when stressful environments don’t change, like in psychiatric facilities. Find a blanket your child will love, without any unnecessary weight. Adult blankets start at 10-15 pounds, but a child can start with a three-pound blanket and increase the weight as needed.
4. Give Them a Tight Hug
Sometimes the best way to fight anxiety is to reassure your child. They may feel isolated when their fears become more intense. They’ll worry about other people thinking they’re overreacting or become harsh on themselves for not being able to deal with things like their peers.
Give them a tight hug to show them they’re not alone and comfort them during challenging moments. Make it last a little longer than usual to relax their fight-or-flight response and give them strength to return to their activities.
5. Squeeze Something Squishy
Stress triggers your fight-or-flight response and sometimes causes muscle tension or twitching, especially during moments of heightened anxiety. Relieving this tension can minimize your child’s anxiety, so give them something squishy to squeeze or play with. A stress ball, playdough or a soft toy provides a physical outlet for their mental battles, making them easier to overcome.
6. Listen to Nature Sounds
Listening to nature sounds is one of the best tips for kiddos with anxiety. Sounds like bird calls, rainstorms and ocean waves may center your child during turbulent moments. A recent study discovered that people who listened to nature sounds showed the greatest bodily relaxation compared to others who heard music. It can also prevent anxiety if they listen to it while finishing homework or doing other stressful activities.
7. Recognize Their Anxieties
Kids who deal with recurring anxieties or infrequent stressors may become embarrassed about it. If they don’t see other people having the same experience, they’ll feel isolated. Reaffirm that it’s okay to be worried or afraid of things, but those things aren’t permanent. You can also remind them that they’re not alone, because you’ll be there to help them through the temporary situation.
This is a great strategy to use when your child is afraid of going to the doctor or dentist. If they know they’re not alone and that you’re not scared, they’re less likely to have high anxiety during the experience. Afterward, talk about how they felt before their appointment. They’ll talk through their fears and become better prepared for when those anxieties return.
8. Walk Through Their Fears
If your child is afraid of being left at school for sports practice or another extracurricular activity, walk through their fears. If their carpool forgets them, what do they do? Having a backup plan empowers them and reduces their anxiety by eliminating the unknown. A resource like an emergency contact in their phone always reassures them that they’re never trapped or alone.
Best Tips for Kiddos With Anxiety
These are a few easy tips for kiddos with anxiety to try before or during turbulent times. If they use grounding techniques, a weighted blanket or nature sounds and still don’t mitigate their fears, consult their pediatrician. They could identify underlying issues and match your child with the best anxiety-fighting solutions for their specific needs.
8 Tips for Kiddos With Anxiety