Mental health issues are on the rise. 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. One mental issue that’s on the rise is anxiety. Although it’s normal for children to feel afraid sometimes, there are times when your child might be scared of objects or situations that are non-threatening.
Although it’s normal to want to make your kid feel better when they’re anxious, you might make it worse if you don’t take the proper steps. Below are some ways you can help children deal with anxiety.
Validate Their Feelings
The first step is to validate their feelings. Don’t say, ‘it’s not a big deal,’ or ‘you’ll be fine.’ It makes kids think their feelings are not valid. Instead, validate their feelings with ‘I’d probably be a little anxious, too.’ You can follow up with confidence messages like ‘I know you can do it.
Don’t Empower the Feeling
Validation doesn’t mean agreeing with the feeling. The idea is not to belittle their emotions; it’s to support them through it. So, listen to their fears and help them understand them. Next, encourage them to face their fear, and you’d be there for them. Finally, don’t avoid the things they’re afraid of, as this reinforces the anxiety in the long run.
Seek Professional Help
You should also speak to a pediatrician if your kid’s anxiety affects their everyday life or lasts longer than two weeks. Professional support might be the best option if their grades are affected or they can’t get involved in social activities.
When left unattended, anxiety can affect your kid’s life significantly. Luckily, anxiety disorders are treatable, so seek help from a mental health specialist. You can also get more information on our resource page.