I am a parent
SUPPORT AND TECHNIQUES FOR HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH ANXIETY
It is completely understandable for your child to feel anxious and uncertain, especially so right now. This is an extremely unusual and difficult time. It is a strange experience for any age to manage.
So here are some helpful suggestions, tips and techniques that can help you and your family get through this:
CREATE A ROUTINE
Listen to your child, they might have lots of questions or want to share what they are feeling. It really is OK to say if you are not sure. You can reassure them that you will find out for them.
Have a time when you both get to sit down and chat. This can be all the family or just you and your child. Encourage them to say how they are feeling.
Routines help us, they can make us feel safe and secure. They don’t have to be stuck to rigidly, if something doesn’t go to plan, tomorrow is another day. Making a little timetable of what you’re going to do. Just like you would have if you were in school. Maybe making goal charts, encourage and acknowledge achievements.
Looking after yourself physically, healthy eating and physical exercise.
Helping them manage feelings of anxiety. Letting them know it is OK and normal to get upset at times.
Ask them what would help
Reassure them how much you love them
A cuddle goes a long way!
CATCHING THAT ANXIETY
It is important to try and recognize and address early signs
Young children can struggle to say exactly how they feel, so it might be easier to us a 1-10 scale
Where can I find additional support/ help?
Friends and family- lean on your support network. Often we feel like we are alone until we hear that most other people are struggling in some way as well. Remember- not everything you see on Facebook/ Instagram is all that seems!
There are lots of charities that can listen and support too. Here are a few:
NSPCC- A really great starting place. Click here.
CHILDLINE- some great information and insights for parents- Click here.
CAMHS- Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services- Click here.
Samaritans- Click here.
Worcestershire County Council- here.
UK Government Guidance- here.
Refuge for women and children- here.
Mindfulness is not all about meditation. It's about being in the moment, observing as they are and as they unfold. It's about the practice of being in here and now, even if that is a little uncomfortable. There are lots of mindful activities you can do with your children, including:
Taking a mindful walk. As you walk, make a point of stopping and noticing things that you might normally miss; the smell of a flower/ shape of a leaf etc.
Mindful listening. Sit somewhere together with your eyes closed and listen carefully. After a minute, compare what you heard- you might be surprised how much you hear.
Colouring. There are thousands of mindful colouring books out there.
Mindful breathing and Meditation- see examples below.