May 11, 2010

Children and Anxiety

There are times when children deal with feeling anxious about things such as dogs, storms, the dark, being away from mom or being in new situations. Sometimes a child will suddenly become anxious about something that's never bothered them before.

When it happens there are things parents can do to help ease the anxiety.

* Pay attention to and acknowledge your child's feelings. Don't dismiss their anxiety, even if it's unfounded, because to them it's very real.

* Stay calm when your child becomes anxious about a situation or event.

* Introduce them to things they can do to calm themselves down when feeling anxious such as taking deep breaths, listening to calming music, etc.

* Don't punish mistakes or lack of progress as your child is learning to overcome the anxiety.

* Be flexible and modify expectations during stressful periods. This may include allowing for extra time if transistions are stressful for your child.

With time and patience your child's anxiety should steadily decrease. If it doesn't or if it increases you may want to consult with your pediatrician or a therapist.

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