10 Apr 5 Tips to Help an Anxious Child or Teen
If you have an anxious child or teen, the current challenging situation with Coronavirus will give their anxiety the boost it needs to be on constant high alert. The downside of this is that the more stressed and anxious any of us are, the more our immune system will not be as effective at fighting the virus if exposed to it.
With this in mind, here are my 5 tips to help them manage and control their anxiety so they can feel calm and in control.
- Children are like sponges and absorb everything around them so it is important that adults show them they are dealing with this situation calmly and practically. This will make them feel safe so their anxious response can stand down. Also, be mindful of the negative news stories on TV or social media feeds which children can inadvertently tap into; this will create more anxiety in both you and your child. Limit it to once a day to get the facts if you can, preferably at a time when children are not around.
- Help your child or teen to manage their anxiety by providing the space and time to talk openly about their feelings and to truly listen to them. Validate their feelings and get them to understand that anxiety is a normal emotion which is their friend as it keeps them safe. By asking them what they are imagining/thinking/fearful of will give you a greater understanding of what’s going on in their mind and how you can help. If talking directly with a teen is more tricky, try doing an activity together where you can approach the subject in a round about way.
- An exercise to try is to ask them how they would like to feel instead. Probably ‘happy’, ‘relaxed’, ‘calm’ will pop up. Get them to imagine a time when they felt really happy, relaxed and calm so whenever they feel anxious, instantly swap it with how they would like to feel instead. Children have a great imagination so I find this works really well. The more they swap the anxious thoughts/feelings with how they want to think/feel instead, the easier it will be to instantly think positive thoughts. To reenforce this, making a positive board of words, pictures, drawings of the good things and looking at it regularly will train the mind to think more positive.
- Journaling is a great way of freeing up the mind by taking worries out of their mind and down onto paper. Listening to what the mind is telling them, jotting it down and challenging these thoughts is a useful exercise as quite often, the mind is telling them a story rather than reality.
- Anxious minds and good sleep do not go well together as one affects the other and vice versa. Try a meditation app or an audible book as both will help the mind to slow down and distract from anxious thoughts. The more they listen to it, the easier relaxation will become, lowering the anxiety. The sound of rainfall has been found to help with relaxation so if guided relaxation is not their thing, try natural sounds instead.
If further coping strategies are needed for your child or teen, seek outside help.
I specialise in helping children and teens to manage and control their anxiety so they can lead happy, relaxed lives
You can find more info at www.annebayatihypnotherapy.co.uk.
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