Everyone experiences some form of anxiety. For a child, anxiety can be disabling making it difficult to enjoy life. Anxiety can cause mood swings, panic attacks, depression, obsessive or compulsive reactions ranging in severity.
It can also interfere with daily activities and relationships. But it can be improved with medication or psychotherapy and in some cases lifestyle changes are needed such as relaxation exercises to calm anxieties.
Anxiety can begin at an early age with symptoms developing slowly over time (Statics). It’s a feeling of constant worry or fear in some cases, and events in a child’s life may be the triggers. Even children have stress in their daily lives, dealing with peer pressures or family expectations, factors that if left untreated can begin to affect the child’s health.
Parents need to watch for the symptoms and help the child understand and deal with the anxiety.
Symptoms may be like trouble breathing, increased heart rates, or the loss of ability to focus. Psychological treatments involve behavioral therapies and in some cases there are prescriptions to either sedate or calm the child.
For parents, sometimes a change of environment helps to sooth the child’s anxiety. A change in eating habits such as eliminating caffeine products and instituting scheduled sleeping habits can all aid in the reduction of a child’s anxiety.
Difficulties experienced in childhood are factors that can cause anxiety, children who have experienced abuse or trauma, or been part of a traumatic incident are more prone to developing anxiety disorders during their lifetime. A special event with high levels of expectations for the child, such as being an over achiever can trigger anxiety. Life events such as serious illnesses can cause a child too worry and some personalities are more susceptible to anxiety than others.
In some cases family biogenetics may be linked to the anxiety disorder. Drugs, alcohol, or certain food types can all be triggers for a child’s anxiety.
A physician should always been seen to ensure that the anxiety is not be caused by another health condition. Typically medical and psychological practitioners work together to decide what treatments are best for the child. Depending on the severity, psychotherapy treatments are about teaching the child how to manage the anxiety. It also teaches parents how to support the child as they go through the learning process of dealing with anxiety.
Open discussions can help both the parent and the child to develop a list of triggers for the anxiety. Identifying the triggers are critical, the child needs to be able to face the worry and manage the anxiety.
As the child understands the anxiety, the symptoms may decrease. Success for both the child and parent comes in gaining an awareness of the anxiety causing situations and managing the reactions within that environment.
Life’s worries will not simply disappear but learning to live through the circumstances and coping with them has the capacity of living a balanced and healthy life.
Group sessions help to deliver the message to the child that they are not alone in this situation. Having someone they trust to talk to makes a difference. Children want to believe that someone is seeing the situation from their point of view.
There are easier and less emotional aids when dealing with a child’s anxiety. Small lifestyle changes like exercise, getting a child involved with a group or family activity helps to relieve the stress of anxiety. Eating a healthy diet, our bodies are prepared to protect us; however, we need arm them with proper nutrients to do the job.
Avoid sugars and fatty foods, and add omega, folic acid and vitamin B to the diets. Parents need to be sure to include these nutrients in treats and meals for the child.
Practice breathing exercises with the child! Focusing on the breathing sometimes takes the child’s focus off of the situation causing the anxiety. Deep breaths inhaling through the nose and slow releases from the mouth can help to bring the heart rate back down to normal. Parents should actually sit with the child and participant in these exercises. Most children respond well with a visual and trusted partner.
For young children make this a game, one that they develop and take with them through life. This is an exercise that the child can do anywhere, it’s one that they should practice as they begin to recognize the feeling of anxiety approaching.
Let the music Rock!
We all enjoy listening to music, depending on the age of the child, have music selections readily available. Find a place that is special to the child without interference from the outside world.
Allow them to relax, while listening to a soft melody lying down on a bed or couch. The music helps to relax the muscles that tend to become tense with anxiety attacks. 🙂
Now, Question time. How do you help your child with Anxiety?