Tips to Parenting an Anxious Child

Avoidance of activities or school, tearful breakdowns or tantrums over seemingly small issues, unwillingness to try new things, stomach aches or other physical complaints, can all be signs of anxiety in a child. Identifying these signs in your child as a possible underlying issue is the first step in helping your child (and yourself) manage these unproductive reactions. In this blog, we will explore some effective strategies for parenting a child affected by anxiety and provide tips for supporting them through difficult times.

  1. Validate your child’s feelings: Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you understand what they are going through (you can talk about times you have also experienced anxiety). By validating their feelings, you are helping them feel heard and understood, which in itself can reduce their anxiety and make them feel more comfortable talking about their experiences going forward.

  2. Encourage open communication: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings, experiences and perceptions; Listen to what they have to say without judgment, as active listening can provide valuable insights into their thought process and needs.

  3. Help your child identify potential triggers: Proactively addressing potentially triggering situations (i.e. going to a new school, taking a test, trying new food etc.) allows you to help your child identify an action plan to manage any resulting anxiety.

  4. Teach coping strategies: Teach your child strategies, such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness, that they can use to manage their anxiety when it arises. These techniques can help your child feel more in control of their anxiety and can reduce their symptoms over time. Keep in mind, this will take lots of practice and positive reinforcement.

  5. Provide structure and routine: Children with anxiety can benefit from having a predictable schedule and structure in their lives. Establishing a routine for daily activities, such as meals, homework, and bedtime, can help your child feel more in control and reduce internal angst and reactivity.

  6. Encourage positive self-talk: Help your child develop positive self-talk skills, such as reframing negative thoughts and focusing on their strengths and accomplishments. Ask, “How can you use the skills you have developed from past successes in this new situation?”

  7. Seek professional help: If your child’s anxiety is impacting their daily life, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. A therapist can work with your child to develop personalized coping skills and also provide support and guidance to the parents.

In conclusion, parenting an anxious child can be a challenging experience, but with the right techniques and support, it is possible to help your child manage their anxiety and increase resiliency. By validating their feelings, encouraging open communication, teaching coping strategies, providing structure and routine, and if needed seeking professional guidance, you can support your child in their journey towards increased self-confidence and good mental health.

Scroll to Top