12 tips for parents to help an anxious child

Here are a few ideas that you can use to help your child overcome anxiety. You don’t have to try them in any particular order. Children may respond differently to the different tasks, so be guided by their reactions as to which is most beneficial to them at the time. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of things you can do — if you are concerned about your child’s level of anxiety, make sure to seek advice from a mental health professional.

Tips for parents, from the children’s book " How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear? ", a beautifully illustrated story written to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations.

Tips for parents, from the children’s book "How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear?", a beautifully illustrated story written to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations.

  • Explain what anxiety is to help the child recognise it and understand what is happening.

  • Introduce calming techniques and mindfulness:

    • give a slow breathing task

    • use the five senses grounding task

    • do some yoga stretches

  • Physical reassurance - ask if you can give them a hug or hold their hand.

  • Art therapy - to help express feelings they can’t put into words.

  • Verbal action - tell the worry to “Go away!"

  • Recognise even the smallest efforts and build the child’s confidence to ‘have a go’.

  • Do something fun together to give the child a break from their worries.

  • Try to not ‘fix’ everything - children need to learn how to cope and overcome challenges.

  • Help the child to write or draw a checklist of anxiety-busting strategies.

  • Visualisation - ask them to remember a time when they overcame anxiety previously.

  • Visualisation - ask the child to draw what it will look like when they have overcome their anxiety-inducing situation.

  • Model your own techniques - show or explain what you choose to do when you feel anxious.

These hints are expanded upon in the back of the children’s book "How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear?", a beautifully illustrated story written to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations.

How Big Are Your Worries Little Bear?

Little Bear is a worrier. He worries about everything! But with Mama Bear’s help, he soon learns his worries are not so big after all. Through this engaging story children will learn that everyday worries and fears can be overcome. Discussion questions and extra hints to help children manage anxiety are included.

HBAYW_Anxiety_tips.jpg

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