Do you know how to respond whenever you child get extremely anxious? Below are some helpful tips from Thrive Therapy on how to help your child manage his or her anxiety.
Motivate your child to face his or her fears, not escape from them
Whenever you are faced with nerve-racking situations, you try to avoid them. But, avoiding situations that provoke anxiety retains the anxiety. Instead, if you help your child face his or her fears, he or she will know that anxiety will naturally reduce in time and it is manageable. The human body will not remain anxious for extended periods of time as it has the capacity to calm the body. Normally, it will take 20-45 minutes to reduce the anxiety if you maintain in that anxiety-provoking situation.
Schedule relaxing activities
Your kids also need time to relax and be kids. Regrettably, even enjoyable activities such as sports can be more about achievements instead of fun. So make sure your kid participates in events for the sake of fun and nothing else. This includes planning a certain time of the day for them to play with a sport or toys, paint, having a tea party, or just goof around.
Don’t ask leading questions
Encourage your kid to voice out his or her feelings, but don’t try to ask leading questions like, “Are you nervous about the contest?” or “Are you anxious about the big test?” This is to stop nurturing the cycle of anxiety. Instead, ask open-ended questions like “How are you feeling about the science fair?”
Don’t reinforce your child’s fears
Make sure that you are aware of your body language and on how you talk to your child during the anxiety-provoking situation. For instance, your child has a bad experience with dogs, the next time he or she is around a dog, you may be apprehensive on how he or she will react and you may unknowingly send a message that reinforces the fear of your child.
Reward your child’s courage
If your child was able to face his or her fears, reward him or her; it could be a hug, praise or any small treat. This isn’t a form of bribery if you make sure to establish it as a motivator before your kid is in the anxiety-provoking situation. If you provide rewards for facing his or her fears, then your child will likely to face them more often.
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