Last week I shared my recent experience with feelings of fear and anxiety. Thanks to all who emailed back to express their understanding and share their own stories. I’m so grateful to this beautiful, supportive Cast Iron Babe community!
Like I said last week, the statistics are alarming, even if they aren’t that surprising: the number of kids suffering from anxiety is on the rise.
So what can we do to help reduce anxiety in kids?
? Facing fears is empowering: Rather than avoiding things that make kids nervous, we can help them learn that facing fears is empowering. We can encourage them to take small actions to face their fears, letting them know that the more they do so, the more their anxiety levels will decrease.
? Listen without downplaying or amplifying: It’s important to ask questions, listen, validate, and be empathetic to help kids learn what they’re anxious about. But we need to talk without belittling or intensifying. For example, be sure not to use leading questions (ie, “Are you anxious about today?”)– instead use open-ended questions (“How are you feeling?”).
⛑ Calming first aid: When kids are really feeling panicked, we need a tool to help them calm down so we can reach them. Take a look at this NPR Cookie Monster video, which touches on deep belly breathing. And here’s another video with more details on the practice.
? Reduce unnecessary triggers: Avoid caffeine and sugar. Turn off the news, stressful movies, and violent video games.
? Nourishment: Drink a glass of water, eat a healthy snack, go on a walk, and go to bed early. Dehydration, low blood sugar, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep can all contribute to anxiety.
? Model healthy approaches: Talk with your kids about managing your own anxiety triggers. Let them see you handling stress calmly, tolerating your triggers, and feeling good about getting through anxious situations.
Do you know a kid struggling with fear and anxiety? How can you support that child with some of the suggestions above? Do you have any other solutions to share? I’d love to hear.
Sending lots of love your way,
PS: Looking for a calm, fun activity for a kiddo in your life? Check out our Etsy shop for care kits, stickers, collectible cards, stationery, and more!