Helping Your Child Cope with Anxiety
It can be very difficult for a child to open up to their parents about anxiety and stress at school. More often than not, they may not understand why they are feeling this way and thus become more inclined to keep it to themselves.
As a parent, being able to recognize the changing behaviors in your child that point to anxiety is only half the battle. Next is helping them manage the triggers. From a positive environment to a steady routine, these five tips can help ease your child’s stress levels:
1. Stick with a Schedule
Children crave routine, and rushing around like crazy in the morning may easily ramp up your child's anxiety. Following the "night before" rule can significantly reduce morning stresses — lunches can be packed, backpacks can be placed by the door, and clothes can be picked out the night before. The next morning, all your child has to do is wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and be on their way to school.
Nightly routines with set times for homework and bed can also greatly reduce your child’s anxiousness about the next school day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there’s a two-way street between anxiety and sleep: kids who don’t get sufficient sleep are more susceptible to developing anxiety and also have more trouble adjusting to new circumstances over time.
Try to establish a bedtime routine for your family, put down all electronics by a certain time to start winding down!
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
If your child is having a lot of anxiety, you may want to examine their diet. Low blood sugar, poor hydration, and caffeine can all precipitate or mimic symptoms of anxiety, so says Harvard Health. Eating excess sugar can also increase anxiety symptoms.
Of course, before making any dramatic changes to what your child eats, do consult with your primary care physician.
If there are changes that need to be made, communicate with your child about the changes you would like to implement to their routine. Let them know who is getting them from school and at what time to keep them informed.
Be sure to pay attention to your child’s feelings and plan for transitions — like allowing extra time in the morning if getting to school is difficult — recommends the ADAA. And don’t forget to recognize and praise small accomplishments! This goes a long way in building self-confidence and minimizing worries.
4. Keep a Positive Attitude
Ah, the power of positive thinking! Did you know children as young as five are able to grasp the principles of positive thinking? When this is nurtured, positive thinking can be a powerful coping tool. This doesn’t mean to ignore all the negatives, but rather help your child acknowledge each situation and look at them productively.
5. Consider Enrolling Your Child in After School Activities
Sometimes anxiety can stem from social situations; but if your child gets to participate in an activity they love, it can actually be quite therapeutic for them! After school activities can help build confidence, teach your child how to interact with others and be part of a team.
Studies show that children enjoy going to school when they have fun after-school activities to attend. Enter: Engineering For Kids — offering the coolest enrichment programs around!
Our enrichment classes serve as the perfect win-win for parents and children alike. Contact your local Engineering For Kids to learn more!