Carol the Coach: Simple Ways to Teach your Child how to handle Anxiety

June 1, 2017

 

You know that as a parent, you are much more prone to anxiety because of the fast pace schedule that you and your children encounter and the normal demands that face your family. It is so important for you to regulate your thoughts and your anxiety so that you can be the best and healthiest parent possible and teach those same skills to your child.

Today's world creates lots of opportunities for children and often developmentally, they are struggling with keeping up with their fast-paced life. As a result, you need to spend time managing your children’s schedule so that there is plenty of time to reflect on healthy coping skills to be used throughout the day.
Many children struggle with anxiety, and as a result, wonder if they can make friends, get their homework assignments completed on time, make acceptable grades, or compete with other kids in sports activities. These thoughts can leave them feeling insecure, and unsure if they're good enough to compete with others.

You can't do their work for them but you can certainly share with them both physical ways to reduce and prevent their anxiety and thoughts that will help them navigate their day in a way that empowers them to feel good about themselves. As a parent, you possess a lot of intuitive knowledge about your children and you can sense when they are worried about something or when they feel insecure about themselves. Therefore, it is important to teach them skills that will assist them in preventing overwhelming anxiety and skill to help them reduce it when they feel it is interfering in their lives.

Here are just a few simple tools that will greatly reduce anxiety if they are practiced repeatedly.
When your child appears stressed and is lashing out or is afraid of handling things encourage them to breathe. One of the most beneficial mindfulness exercises that your child can do is to breathe in a calming relaxing color and breathe out the color that represent stress. The skill can be taught as young as three or four and can reduce the level of stress a child feels. As you tuck your child into bed, it can be important to ask your child to practice taking three deep breaths as he falls asleep? Ask them to pick a calming color and imagine as they breath it in, that they are seeing the color come in through the nose, down the lungs and into the belly. Practice laying on the bed with your child and do this with him for 3 breaths.  By doing this, you are being a role model for your child and you were experiencing relief too! 

He is then asked to think of one positive thought he can have about himself that will ensure him that tomorrow will be a good day. Perhaps that might be: I have lots of ways to make myself feel powerful. I can handle anything that comes my way. I am smart and strong like a Power Ranger. I will do great on my test. I will say one nice thing tomorrow to someone in school.

Research shows that children who practice calming and relaxing breathing methods with powerful thoughts are more successful. It teaches them that they have the power to redirect their thoughts to change their feelings and their self-esteem, if it sounds too simple, give it a try and watch the positive results!

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