It is hard to be a kid! While the most common reaction to this will be an eye-roll – seriously, what could be difficult about playing games, riding bikes with friends, attending school – give it some thought.
Childhood is full of new adventures and experiences. At the same time, children do not have the emotional maturity to deal with difficult situations like learning how to ride a bike or starting out at a new school. Therefore, it is only natural that anxiety affects one in every eight children.
To top it all, as adults we sometimes refuse to take seriously what our kids say. We tend to bucket their fears and behaviours as a phase. What we fail to understand is, what seems inconsequential to us may be a big deal to them.
Anxiety in kids often leads to bigger issues such as depression, substance abuse, juvenile crime, among others. Further, anxious children find it more difficult to focus in class, make friends and do well in extra-curricular activities. We as parents need to read the signs to provide timely help to your children. The signs can be either physical or emotional, or both.
Physical signs of anxiety
- Frequent complaints of headaches or stomach aches
- Constant tensing of muscles
- Shaking or sweating in difficult situations
- Restless, fidgety, hyperactive or distracted
- Shaking leg while sitting
- Troubled sleep
Emotional/ Behavioural signs of anxiety
- Extremely sensitive about everything
- Frequent tantrums or meltdowns
- Panic attacks
- Exaggerated fear of failure
- Refusal to go to school
- Avoiding social situations with peers
While as parents it is natural for you to go into a full-blown protective mode to help your child overcome anxiety, here are some pointers to remember.
- Show empathy: Even if they are sweating the small stuff, put yourself in their shoes and understand why they are feeling that way. Don’t brush it off as “It is not a big deal”. Give them a hug and be their confidant.
- Let them worry: Your goal is not to eliminate anxiety, but to help them manage it. Nothing you say will make their stress vanish, but by listening to their worries you can show them how them a way to work around it.
- Don’t avoid the triggers: By taking your child out of a situation that triggers them, you will only be providing them with short-term relief. It reinforces the anxiety over the long term. For example, if your child is afraid of dogs, ensuring they never come across one is not a solution. Take small steps. Try looking at dog pictures online. Next, watch dogs play from a distance. Finally, take them to visit a calm dog of a friend or a therapy dog. This will ensure that they don’t live in fear of dogs all their lives.
- Design coping mechanism: Help them with quick action items that can help if they feel anxious. For example, deep breathing exercise, stress ball, writing it out and seeking help from an adult, among others.
- Seek professional help: Encourage your child to speak to the counsellors at school or professional child therapists, who can provide specialised ways of handling trigger-based anxiety.
- Try our SleepTalk programme: This programme is designed to build and encourage self-esteem among children. We will train you on how to shape your child’s subconscious mind while they are in deep sleep. The SleepTalk technique empowers children to achieve their full potential without letting stress affect them. Try this life-changing programme to notice a visible difference in your child’s behaviour today!
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us now to help your kids take control of their life with all positiveness for a great future! At Renaé, we believe that a small step taken at the right time goes a long way to give the budding generation the best that they deserve.