No matter how many books we read, videos we watch, or input we get from others who have been through the upbringing of families, no two situations are truly alike. What works for one family or child may be challenging to implement in others. When our children deal with difficult emotions, we feel for them, and addressing issues can feel puzzling at times. With a few tips for helping children cope with anxiety, regardless of the cause, you can find some relief together.
Manage the Anxiety
It’s essential that, when reacting to your child’s anxiety, you try to manage (not eliminate) the experience. All people have things that trigger this paralyzing feeling within them. These catalysts may vary from person to person, but the fear will always exist on some level. How you respond to it and the actions you take to lend support are more important.
You may struggle to face problems head on, especially if you grew up in a household that swept deep feelings under the rug. However, true struggles arise when we avoid our more minute issues. You may feel uncomfortable addressing issues as they come up, but this step is important for your family’s health. After all, wellbeing stems from openness and transparency when addressing anxiety and its triggers.
Though you want to tread lightly in some scenarios with your child, don’t let bouts of anxiety turn into free passes. When establishing expectations for behaviors and responses, stay positive but remain realistic. Anxiety will come and go, but we still have obligations as members of a household and society.
Engage in Activities
A great way to maintain closeness and relieve anxiety is to engage in activities with your child or supporting their hobbies. Taking up a stress-relieving hobby, engaging in pastimes that you enjoyed in the past, or engaging with animals can help. Hippotherapy and equine therapy (horseback riding) have been proven to build physical strength and help immensely with uncomfortable feelings while promoting emotional growth.
One’s connection with a horse is personal and takes communication, mutual trust, and understanding. Additionally, volunteering at a shelter and caring for animals in need can relieve stress by distracting the mind while giving care. Animal-based therapy can be very powerful.
In reality, there are many tips for helping children cope with anxiety. You may find that some things work better than others. As long as the communication lines are open, feelings are being respected and addressed, and you’re in this together, you can come up with coping mechanisms that you’ll use throughout your life.