Anxiety in general term is associated with the fear of something unknown happening in the future. These feelings start growing stronger in a person with the passage of time. Sometimes anxiety is normal when it prepares us for some difficult task like a job interview, or before giving a test. Being anxious in such situation is a part and parcel of life. Problem arises when the feelings of fear, terror and nervousness is persistently increasing in a person .
Children go through many transitions and changes in their life as they grow. Anxiety is a common and growing problem in children in this fast moving , high tech world. Most children have fears but they dont last long, like the fear of a monster in the room, or the fear of boarding school. These fears vanish as the child grows .Their social, academic skills will suffer big time if the fears are neglected by parents.
Anxiety in children can be due to various reasons like, if there is any parental conflict or separation, unexpected death of a close relative, violence and terrorism in the city, natural disasters etc. Parents have to be cautious and should be able to identify the changing behaviours of their child as children may not be able to express their feelings nor they have the skills and ability to manage such situations of anxiety.
Following are the few symptoms of anxiety in children , as a parent if you notice any of them consistently growing in your child then you have to start thinking of remedies.
– anger, aggression, opposition.
– resist school or other activites.
-lack of concentraton
– nightmares, sleeping problems, night terror, fear of the dark.
– fatigue , headaches etc.
If u identify any of these symptoms in your child, you are the one who will be able to help the child to come out of it. Following are few tips to help parents to overcome anxiety in children.
1. Maintain regular routines:- An organized , well maintained ,regular routine will give the child a sense of belonging and control. Anxious children do not cope well with a disorganized family life style. It is important for children to have limits set and consequences for breaking the limits. Children feel secure when there are limits and restrictions for inappropriate behaviors. Stick to regular bedtimes and mealtimes.
2. Bridge the communication gap :- Children may not have the ability to vocalize their feelings, encourage them to share their feelings and fears. Ask them to make a list of things that make them feel anxious.
3. Healthy nutrients :- Make sure the child is taking his proper meal, as skipping meal is common in anxiety. Nutritious food like veggies, fruits and dry fruits are great sources of energy, and they may contribute a lot in reducing stress.
4. Exercise and outings :- Physical activites will not only divert child’s attention but it will also help in relieving stress. Take your child for dinners , choose among their favourite dinning places, take them to a toy shop and buy them a gift. Take them for a walk, a breath of fresh air will surely help. Establish work out and exercising routines. Make sure they play in the sun and involve in sports.
5. Keep them away from bad news:- Do not let your child sit in front of the tv when you are watching news or political talk shows. Dont discuss your family or financial issues in front of ur child. Avoid their exposure from disturbing events like death of their grandparents or loved ones. Keep on reassuring them that they are far from danger.
6. Relaxation and Soothing :- Comforting and soothing a child will help in reducing stress . Make them feel that they are cared and loved and you are always there for them. Verbal reassurance of safety and love, head and body massages, cuddling and holding, are few soothing strategies parents can adopt.
7. Be an example:- Children adopt behavior from their surrounding to respond in an unpleasant or unfamiliar situation. Be a role model for ur child. Parents should act confidently and bravely in difficult situations. Keep things calm at home also, dont fight with your spouse in front of your child.
8. Teach them problem solving techniques:- Help your child in explaining their problems and fears, jot down their effects and consequences, and discuss possible solutions to them. Read them story books which have stories on how children cope in anxiety. If for instance your child has social phobia, take them to a party with you, hold their hand so that they have a secure feeling, and introduce them to people by mentioning their achievemnets to them. It will boost their self confidence. Reward them for facing their fears, involve them in mind jolting activites as well, their horizon will be broaden.
Sometimes it is easier for parents to work out children’s anxiety issues, but at times it is a difficult task to handle. Anxiety becomes a major problem if it starts affecting the child’s functioning and daily routines. Some children are more anxious than others and may need additional reassurance or help from the professional. If a child has anxiety from a long time and is unable to cope with it then you should visit a child therapist.