Anxiety is one of the most common problems that prevent children to explore and grow. This is one of the major reasons kids are afraid to fail or make mistakes. They may be afraid to let others down, or that they’ll be embarrassed in front of others. Due to anxiety children don’t try new things and don’t explore their own full potentials.
Experts from Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai shared the pointers for TheBrew.ae readers and parents to cater this issue at an early stage.
- Make sure they are practicing good sleep hygiene – this can be done by creating a nighttime routine and sticking to a specific bedtime
- Encourage them to talk about what is bothering them, offering them reassurance, and validating their feelings
- Help them identify possible solutions – if they are nervous about school starting help them pack their bag the night before and put their clothes out to help them feel more prepared
- Stay calm – the same way we find reassurance in seeing a calm steward or stewardess during turbulence, children often turn to us to see how they should be reacting to a stressful situation
- Teach them breathing exercises they can return to – for example, deep belly breaths by filling the belly with air like a balloon and slowing the breath down
- Get them moving – exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety: turning on some music and dancing, playing football or going for a walk
- Turning their attention to a relaxing activity – reading a book, drawing, or listening to music
- Have them help you with a task to keep them busy – for example cooking dinner, making them feel accomplished all the while distracting them
- Practice the 5,4,3,2,1 method – have them list 5 things they can see, 4 things they can feel, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell and 1 thing they can taste – this exercise allows them to turn their focus onto the present moment and ground them
- If they are anxious about a specific event (school starting, doctor’s appointment) rewarding them afterwards can give them and incentive not to shy away from situations that make them nervous
- Watch the movie after reading the book – many classic books have been made into movies like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Cat in the Hat, just to name a few, and having a family movie night once they have finished reading the book can be a great incentive for them
- Connect with them about your favorite books – find a book that you loved to read at your children’s age and offer it to them to read (bonus points if it is the original copy!) explaining your enthusiasm about the book will make them excited to read it too
Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in the above section – are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TheBrew.ae, the company, or any of its members.