Helping Kids Conquer Their Fears and Anxiety
Thu, April 22, 2021

Helping Kids Conquer Their Fears and Anxiety

Children deal with a lot of emotions and perhaps none of them bigger than the fears and anxieties that they are hard put to handle at such a young age / Photo by: Katarzyna Białasiewicz via 123RF

 

Children deal with a lot of emotions and perhaps none of them bigger than the fears and anxieties that they are hard put to handle at such a young age. What makes it harder for them is that most likely they will have trouble expressing them that people around might misinterpret their message and make matters worse for them. Fortunately, children have their parents at their side to help them sort out their swirling emotions. Of course, this is on the premise that parents or caregivers realize what their children are going through and they have the necessary skills and knowledge to be of real help.

 

Acknowledge Their Emotions

Verywell Mind, a website that provides articles about psychology and mental health issues, mentioned that fears are a normal, healthy part of childhood development. These kinds of negative emotions help children learn how to understand the world around them. It will also help them develop a healthy coping mechanism that should last until they grow older. 

Parents need to make sure that they will be there for their kids in their most trying times. It is important to let them know that during a fearful or anxious, they will be there to comfort them and help them understand the situation. Unfortunately, some parents merely dismiss their children’s fear after finding out what scared them. Granted that most childhood fears will be simple to adults, children might not be able to process correctly the reason given to them on why they shouldn’t feel scared. 

According to Confident Parents Confident Kids, an organization that provides support for kids’ social and emotional development, adults must understand their child’s fear and how it impacts their development. It will help parents to become more responsive and empathetic to the feelings of their children. Validating their emotions will help kids learn how to face their fears squarely and eventually outgrow.

Parents need to make sure that they will be there for their kids in their most trying times / Photo by: Alfira Poyarkova via 123RF

 

Help Them Face Their Fears

Unbox all the fear that is stored in your child’s mind. Talk through the emotions during an open conversation where there is no pressure. Provide education and safety information about their fear. These are some of the things parents can do to help their kids overcome their fears, and it is better to make the conversation more interactive, especially if it involves younger kids. Let them take an active role in overcoming their fears instead of giving them shelter by asking them to take one step forward. 

Some parents believe that in order to handle fear, kids just have to avoid the things that scare them. However, this does not really drive away their fear. What happens when they cannot avoid it? Teaching them to dodge their fear or problems, in general, is not the solution. Instead, let them approach their fear slowly and cautiously until they realize that there’s really nothing to fear at all. 

For example, if they are afraid of dogs, let them see a dog from a distance first or to see how other kids of their age hold or pet a dog. While doing this, provide support whenever they try to step back or when they feel reluctant to do move forward. But avoid forcing or pushing them too much. 

Instead, boost their confidence by affirming that they are doing well with their little progress. Help Guide, a website affiliated with Harvard Health Publishing, emphasized that it is important to be with your child as they practice facing the things that scare them. 

Unbox all the fear that is stored in your child’s mind. Talk through the emotions during an open conversation where there is no pressure / Photo by: Konstantin Pelikh via 123RF

 

Calm Them Down Quickly

When a person is afraid or anxious, they might experience a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms like a racing heart and a suffocating feeling. These physical manifestations of fear can be scary by themselves, and this is what makes phobias very distressing. Teach kids to calm themselves by counting from one to ten and creating a picture in their minds where the thing they fear is placed in a setting that may be funny or non-threatening. 

When you notice that your kid is having an anxiety attack, have them perform a simple deep breathing exercise to replace the quick, shallow breaths that add to the anxious feeling. Breathing deeply from the abdomen can reduce the tenseness in the body and lead to a calmer feeling. 

This simple and comfortable exercise at home should help your kid (and even you in certain circumstances when you too feel anxious): 

1. Sit or stand comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

2. Slowly breathe in through your nose, counting to four. The hand on your stomach should rise, while the hand on your chest should move very little. Hold your breath for a count of seven.

3. Exhale through your mouth to a count of eight, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, and your other hand should move very little.

4. Inhale again, repeating the cycle until you feel relaxed and centered.

This deep breathing technique should be practiced for five minutes twice a day, and when mastered, it will be a great way to get over any kind of anxiety or fear for kids and adults alike.