Family Health


5 Proven Ways to Help an Anxious Child

child with anxiety

5 Proven Ways to Help an Anxious Child

Life can be quite overwhelming at times for everyone, and many children today suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is a natural stress response and can be caused by many reasons, such as:

  • Being in the presence of someone who is anxious.
  • Dealing with the illness or death of a friend or family member.
  • Finding school to be complicated.
  • Having too much responsibility.
  • Dealing with separation.
  • Being bullied.
  • Experiencing or witnessing abuse.
  • Changing schools or moving to a new house.
  • Experiencing family stress.
  • Having ADHD or autism.

According to the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 9.4% of children aged between 3 and 17 suffer from anxiety. As a parent, it is important to offer support and guidance to your child to help them overcome their fears. Let’s take a look at 5 proven ways to help an anxious child.

1. Evaluate Your Own Mental Health

Mental health awareness, human hand care and support hold white paper head and glowing brain with physical and mental health, wellbeing, brain health, psychological support, healthcare and mindfulness. Proven ways to help an anxious child

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According to Deborah Vinall, PsyD, LMFT, as a parent, you should take care of yourself first. If you are short-tempered, your child can pick up on your emotions. She says, “Share your calm rather than chaos, and they will feel it.” Children pick up life skills by seeing what their parents do. So, when you have the opportunity to show that you can cope with anxiety, it is a valuable teaching moment.

2. Be Encouraging

Cheerful parents encouraging their daughter in riding bicycle outdoors. Proven ways to help an anxious child

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Children may find it difficult to confront their anxieties, so when the opportunity arises, let them know that you are proud of their hard work. Furthermore, you can encourage your child to take up an activity like painting, reading a book, running, or playing a sport. Physical exercise has a calming effect on the mind and body. When exercising, you release endorphins and increase oxygen to the brain, improving anxiety symptoms.

3. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises


Teach your child to take slow, deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Did you know that our emotions are reflected in our breath, and our breath reflects our mood? If we change the way we breathe, we can then change our mood. Turn this into a fun activity and pretend to blow up a big balloon. This is a proven way to help an anxious child. Furthermore, practicing breathing increases our lung capacity and lowers our blood pressure.

4. Ask Open Ended Questions


You should always motivate your child to talk about their feelings. When speaking, try not to ask leading questions like, “Are you nervous about going to camp?” Instead, ask open-ended questions such as “How are you feeling about going to camp?” By asking open-ended questions, you are not assuming their feelings and giving them the option to talk freely about how they feel.

5. Suggest a Safe Place or Person

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When your child is calm, suggest a safe place or person. It could be somewhere they have been on holiday, like an amusement park or a special room in the house where they can relax. It may be a good idea to put their favorite toy in this spot. Finally, keep in mind that each child is unique. Be understanding, patient, and loving. With these tips, you can help your child overcome their anxiety.

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