In the first year of the pandemic, the “global prevalence of anxiety increased by a massive 25%,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This increase includes children. Anxiety can come in many forms, is different for everyone and its triggers vary widely which can make it difficult to work through, especially in children.
In recognition of Children’s Mental Health Week, here are five simple strategies you can try when a child is experiencing anxiety.
- Identification: Anxiety can reveal itself with sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, inability to move, or immediately acting to try to please to avoid any conflict. Ask your child what they are feeling. This is a good place to start when helping children work through anxiety.
- Relaxation: Deep breathing can be calming and soothing. Imagine blowing out a candle. With a big breath in and a slow-release out, a controlled breathing pace can help slow the heart rate and calm the mind.
- Movement: Physical activity can be a great way to release anxious energy and improve overall health and wellness. Try moving through a dance, taking a walk, or playing hopscotch right out on the sidewalk.
- Journaling: Encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings on paper. Writing can be a great form of expression and release from anxiety.
- Crafts: Painting or crafting can be a fun way to help kids focus on a task that takes their mind off anxiety, worry, or stress.
Remember that everyone is different and not all strategies may be the right fit. Test them out and see what works for your child and you.
If you think your child is experiencing anxiety or struggling with mental health and needs professional help, contact Front Door or call 519-749-2932.
This blog post is adapted from the following resources, see below for more information: