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We want our kids to feel safe — but sometimes, life feels a little scary. If the kids you love are feeling anxious, that’s not weird. It’s normal. Here are three ways you can help. Look for the signs Anxiety is what we feel when our concerns about the future get a little out of hand. It causes stress reactions in your body.
Here are signs to look for:
If so, these could be signs your kids are feeling anxious. They’re coping by getting extra wound up, or else by avoiding things.
That’s normal. But it’s not the best way to deal with anxiety.
Anxiety tells us about bad things that could happen in the future – but bad things are never the full picture. Help kids get a more balanced perspective with some simple questions. First, ask why they’re feeling worried. Listen to the answer. Let them know you care.
Then ask them, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Chances are, reality won’t be as bad as what they’re fearing. Talking out those worries puts them in perspective.
Next, ask your kids, what’s the best thing that could happen? When we’re anxious, we just focus on the negative – but picturing a positive future gives your kids some balance back and gives them hope.
If your kids like to draw, ask them to draw a picture of this positive outcome. Draw it helps them soothe anxiety and see things in a better light.
It helps kids to know you’ve felt how they feel, too. And it helps even more if you can give them tools to use themselves next time they feel this way. So tell the kids you love what you do when you’re feeling anxious. You might say, “When I feel that way, I take a few deep breaths.” Or you could say, “When I get nervous, I start by telling myself I can do this.” Learning how to cope empowers kids – it turns scared feelings into chances to be strong. And when you’re there with them, you’re letting your kids know they’re not alone. That might be the best strength of all.