*this is a collaborative post*
According to the latest data we have, childhood anxiety is on the rise.
This is a subject close to my heart as Jude suffers from anxiety brought on (I think) from his inability to truly comprehend the world.
Around 1 in 8 children now have some form of anxiety – about double the rate of just twenty years ago. Experts think that it might have something to do with increasing pressures to perform from an early age, a lack of physical activity, and smaller, interpersonal communities.
For parents dealing with childhood anxiety, it can be difficult. Children who experience anxiety often don’t know how to process the emotion. Their suffering can be expressed in many different forms, including sleeplessness at nights and an unwillingness to leave the house.
When it comes to dealing with anxiety, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, Each child is different. With that said, there are approaches that parents can take to help alleviate their kids’ anxiety and help them move forward with their lives before their feelings become chronic and embedded.
Help Them Build A Checklist
For adults, anxiety is often the result of having too much to do and too little time to do it. What’s more, when we’re anxious, it’s harder for us to marshal our thoughts. More often than not, our brains are in “fight, flight or freeze” mode, making it more difficult to concentrate on getting things done.
According to psychologists, one of the best ways around this is to simply write down a checklist of what needs to be done. Kids can do this too. It’ll help them keep their fears in check while providing them with a structure for how to use their time. Writing things down in a list also helps to calm the nerves and allows children to pause and breathe.
Know When To Approach Professionals
Experiencing anxiety is a natural, healthy and essential part of growing up. Failing to face up to scary things when we’re young can lead us to be woefully underprepared for adult life. But there comes the point when a child’s anxiety ceases to be helpful and starts to get in the way of their normal lives. Periodic anxiety that is situationally-appropriate is good: chronic anxiety which seems to come out of nowhere is bad.
Parents need to make the call for which it is. If you’re stuck, your best bet is to go to a health professional. With the help of an NHS GP app, it’s easier than ever to get sound, medical advice concerning the mental health of your child.
Be A Thought Detective
Anxiety is the brain’s natural response to worry. It’s there to protect us against threats in our environment. Simply telling a child not to worry or to think positively about their situation might sound like a common-sense remedy for their condition, but in reality, it does nothing to deal with the underlying emotion.
A much better approach is to think accurately about one’s fears. Get your child to collect their thoughts, assess the evidence on which their feelings are based, and then challenge their feelings using that evidence. This usually helps children to be more introspective and have conversations with themselves about the validity of their anxiety and whether it’s worth feeling.