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Anxiety. That one word can evoke so many emotions: fear, stress, sadness, anger, disappointment, overload. For a child who has trouble communicating how they feel, it can be completely overwhelming.
So, how do you help a child who is feeling out of control? I am not a counselor, but as a mom of three children, two with high anxiety during different times of stimuli and stress, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.
- Redirect their minds– Read a book, bake cookies, take a bike ride, a walk or watch a movie. Do something with your child that they enjoy to help get their mind refocused.
- Offer Reassuring Touch – Sometimes when a child is feeling anxious, a reassuring touch (holding their hand, stroking their hair or a hug) can make a child feel grounded and safe.
- Stay Calm – This is the hardest one of all. If you are upset or frustrated, then your child will not feel safe to talk about their feelings.
- Find Ways to Self Soothe – For my children, music is powerful in reducing stress. Stress balls, weighted blankets, exercise, art – find what works for your child.
- Laugh – Bust out your silliest moves and dance around the kitchen. Sing in your funniest opera voice. Whatever it takes to get a smile.
- Sing Scripture Together – Some of my favorites are “Do Not Fear” (Isaiah 41:10) and “Be Strong and Courageous (Joshua 1:9) by Seeds Worship and also “The Peace of God” from Hidden in my Heart Volume 1 by Scripture Lullabies.
- Pray with Your Child – Pray over your child and boldly ask God to remove the anxiety. Let your child hear you pray for them. Ask your child to pray and give their anxiety to God.
- Ask for Help – Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help from a licensed counselor or therapist.
- Know that you are not alone – Raising a high anxiety child can be overwhelming and extremely isolating. Remember to take time to care for yourself.
As the world is changing in front of us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We want to help you. If you need someone to talk to or bounce ideas off of, reach out to us at ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN. We’re here for you.
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About the Authors: Tracy Sellers is the preschool director of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN.