Anxiety can rear its ugly head in many different ways. As adults, we can recognize and begin to diagnose themselves them ourselves. It’s much harder for our children to rationalize these new feelings.
During this past year, the levels of stress and anxiety in our day to day lives has risen with the impact of COVID-19. There have been lots of changes to children’s life’s and it has spiked a rise in childhood anxiety. It’s a good area to understand and gain a range of tools to start to help your child manage their feelings. Think about how this could have made your childhood, teenage and even adult years easier.
It’s important for us to notice changes in our children that may be down to anxiety.
The great news is there are lots of ways that we can help them deal with them!
How you can help!!
Managing bursts of emotion and anger. Give them the time and space to deal with their emotions. A space in the house where they can take themselves away from the rest of the family to work through these new feelings. Instead of retaliating with punishment and frustration we can reply with understanding and giving them the opportunity to work out their feelings before continuing with the conversation. A calming book corner, tent, cubby hole anything that works within your space. Another great tool in your anxiety toolbox is to find a fidget toy or stress ball that your child can have in their pocket. They can learn to regulate their own rise of anger by playing with these toys and focusing their thoughts elsewhere.
Physical contact. This may be something you need to work up to. If your child has become withdrawn and despondent a full-blown hug every hour on the hour maybe a bit too much. Ease into it if needed, but never underestimate the power of a hug. In a study published in the Genetic Psychology Monographs, researchers found that institutionalized infants who received hugs for an additional 20 min of tactile stimulation (touch) per day for 10 weeks scored higher in developmental assessments than those who didn’t. They also found that not all types of touch were beneficial. Only a nurturing touch such as gentle hugging can provide the type of positive stimulation a young brain needs to grow healthily.
We can help them manage their Need For Control by helping them visualize their day. Setting out an easy diary or weekly planner that can be interactive. Give them easy choices that appear to keep them in control of situations. For example, two breakfast options… “would you like toast or cereal?”. They’re then controlling that decision, however; you have set the parameters. Simply asking “what would you like for breakfast?” could open a huge control battle with you ending up at Mac Donald’s at 6:00 am.
You may find that your little one Struggles To Focus on tasks especially homeschooling. Try breaking these tasks and timeframes down into smaller more manageable chunks. Try adding in “mini wins”. These are challenges or activities that you know they can achieve but you can shower them with lots of positive reinforcement after. Take breaks often for healthy snacks, exercise, and rest!
Be active! Just like adults’ children need to get moving. Preferably outside when you can. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that elevate a person’s mood and energy levels this is the same for children. We want to be boosting good endorphins and serotonin to combat cortisol build-ups.
There are many many ways to help your little ones cool those anxious feelings these are just a few that I have found really worked. They all aid the big one. How to manage anxiety and Sleep! My Connect and De-Stress package focus’s on the 2 hours before bedtime. It’s important that their bedtime routine is predictable and well rounded and ending with some bonding time before the final good nights that is calming and screen-free. Choosing an activity during your bonding time that combats the day's stressors and anxieties is key for a seamless bedtime. Your child may seem wide awake as you feel their optimum bedtime approaches and because of this you push back to later hoping to catch them really tired however, this can also cause less sleep.
The magic formula is to find their optimum sleep time and work their anxiety-reducing, calming, bonding bedtime around this! I am offering a huge 50% discount on my "Connect and Destress" package for the next two weeks 11/01/2021!.
What Clare the last mum to complete the "Connect and De-Stress Package" had to say... "To any parents struggling with sleep, I can't recommend Lucy highly enough, she is incredible! I have two sons age 6 & 7. The 6-year-old has always been a great sleeper. The 7-year-old has always been a bad sleeper and was really affected by the first lockdown and sadly the sudden loss of my dad. Bedtime became a really scary time/place for him. He is now finally sleeping through the night for the first time in his life after just a few sessions with Lucy. She gave us some great tips, that I'd never thought of or been told. He is much happier and really proud of himself for overcoming his fear and anxiety surrounding bedtime. We are a much happier family. SO yeah she is life-changing and well worth giving it a go." The Dawson Family.