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It’s never easy to know how to help your child deal with all the issues he or she may face, from bullying to learning how to have a positive self-image. When anxiety begins to come into the picture, it’s especially difficult to handle because there is no right way for everyone to cope with it. Finding something that works for you and your child is important, but it will take some patience and planning on your part.
Because anxiety manifests itself in different ways, it can create problems at school and in public places, so it’s important for your child to have the right tools to cope with those feelings, no matter where they are. You can help by listening to their concerns, being empathetic, and helping them understand that a little bit of worry is okay.
Here are some ways to help your child cope with anxiety.
Let him know it's normal
Living with anxiety can make a child feel as though there is something wrong with them, so make sure you let him know he’s a normal kid and that it’s okay to worry every now and then. Talk to him about your expectations as well as his own, and let him know that he doesn’t have to be perfect; this may ease his fears about performing a certain way in school or among his friends.
Talk about facing your fears
Talk to your child about how to face his fears and let him know that you’ll be there to help them through it. Maybe you could even face one of your own fears and let your child in on the journey. Leading by example is one of the best ways to help kids learn.
Show her how to relax
Help your child learn to relax by participating in yoga and meditation with her. You can sign up for a class together or buy a DVD and try it at home; either way, learning how to do breathing exercises and practice mindful thinking can help your child when it’s time to cope with all the negative thoughts she faces during a day.
Help him practice self-care
Show your child how to cope with anxious thoughts by helping him practice self-care. This can mean anything from having quiet time after school to engaging in a bedtime routine that will help him wind down from the day. Reading, listening to soft classical music, taking a warm bath and gentle touch, such as running your fingers through his hair, can help him loosen up and get ready for restful sleep.
Consider summer camp
You might think that summer camp could induce anxiety rather than help it, but you might be surprised by how therapeutic it can be for an anxious child, especially if they have trouble with social situations. A summer camp can be a nurturing environment for your child as she learns to cope with new situations and people. The activities that occur at camp can help her keep her mind occupied in a healthy way while forming bonds with others.