Anxiety: Helping your child to cope

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Do you find your child worries from time to time? One of our experts talks about anxiety and is providing our readers with a very easy technique you can implement at home to help your child cope. 

 

By Brittany Dyer

Worry, anxiety, fear; they are all scary and can be debilitating to a child. Children can worry about all sorts of things; grades, parents, friendships, even what they will be when they grow up.

Whether your child has a full blown anxiety disorder or is just uneasy about certain events, here is a technique you can teach them to calm their mood. In the past, I use this technique to help calm those dealing with anxiety. Simply read this script to your child and have them try it!

 

First, sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and focus on breathing.

Inhale through your nose for the count of 7. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…

Hold your breath for the count of 3. 1…2…3…

Exhale out of your nose for the count of 7. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…

(Repeat until he gets the hang of it.)

 

While continuing to focus on the drawing out and breathing in of air and while keeping your eyes closed, try to relax your whole body.

Start at the top of your head, and feel your head begin to calm.

(Pause)

Move down to your neck and let the tension move out of your neck and just allow it to be calm.

(Pause)

Drop your shoulders and sense all the tension leave your shoulders.

(Pause)

Feel your arms all the way down to your hands begin to relax. Open your hands and feel them let go. Feel them being still and calm.

(Pause)

Feel the stress leave your stomach. Often, we hold tension in our abdomen, which causes our stomach to be upset, so feel the tension and weight lift from your body now.

(Pause)

Next, move to your back. Feel your back relax and feel the strain leave your back. Imagine healthy muscles in your back. Many times we put emotions on our back that we do not want to see, so let emotions fade away and feel that pressure release from behind you.

(Pause)

Move down to your legs and feel them relax. Feel your calves muscles loosen all the way down to your feet. Feel your feet relax.

(Pause)

Feel your whole body being still and at peace-from the top of your head all the way down to the soles of your feet.

(Pause)

When you’re ready and feel all the tension leave your body, open your eyes and return to the room.

 

This technique can be taught in this manner but can be used in any circumstance. It’s an exercise to ground your child and focus on calming herself down rather than continuing to be overly anxious in any sort of situation. A child can do any portion of this in order to calm herself down in any situation. For example, if a child becomes overly anxious at school before a test, she can use the breathing technique briefly while the test papers are being passed out. She does not even have to close her eyes if she does not want to. Another instance could be when a child is in an extremely stressful situation, such as flying on an airplane. She can use this method to focus herself on her breathing, then calming the rest of her body by focusing on relaxing her body one body part at a time.

I hope this technique helps your child! It will even work for you too!

photo by woodleywonderworks CC BY 2.0

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