Many children have worries or concerns that fill their minds. From low-level concerns to more distressing fears like mommy and daddy may split up. Whether generalized worry or deeper anxiety, the range is wide.
Here are a few indicators:
- Anxiety may present as avoidance of certain people or places. Withdrawing from some pleasurable activities because of unnamed fears.
- An anxious child may have more frequent outbursts. Pushing down anger often results in acts of defiance and eruptions of unknown origins.
- Anxious children show a lack of focus. Their thoughts are a distraction which keeps them from doing their best.
- Anxious children are prone to worry about things out of their control, making sleep difficult. They have trouble closing down their overactive minds.
Of course, if these behaviors are pronounced, seek outside help. It is important to get professional guidance and investigate other indicators. If somewhat mild, I’d like to offer a few options which may be helpful.
- If they can identify the feeling, show compassion. Let them know you have felt like that before. Share with them what you may have done to calm down. Give them permission NOT to engage if they want time alone.
- Inquire where in their body they are feeling uncomfortable. This helps them get to know their bodies and identify feelings that may be hard to name with words. Try not to push for quick cooperation. Give them choices if possible.
- Ask children (especially those in school) who are having difficulty concentrating, to draw a picture or talk about what they are thinking. This opens doors for more productive communication. Scolding their behavior only adds to their stress. Understanding and compassion go much further than reprimands and negative consequences.
- Create a soothing atmosphere in your evening ritual. This lends itself to a gentler approach for winding down the day. Assure children they are safe and all is well before bedtime. Linger a little longer with stories or songs.
Best of all, when you take care of your own emotional well-being, you are a great asset to your children.