Children getting anxious for things are common. They are anxious about school grades, examinations or even participating in some event. It is not because they cannot perform well or due to the fear of failure this anxiety emerges but because of past experiences or on witnessing someone facing the same situation or bitter consequences also could be the reasons.
Here are few tips for parents regarding how to guide your children
1) Do not avoid things just because it makes children anxious
It is normal for parents that they cannot see their children scattered with negative feelings. They take a stand for them. But in few cases parents are indirectly becoming a hurdle for their new move. For instance, If a child is anxious to participate in the school singing competition, never try to give them ideas that help them avoid the situations, instead tell the child to face the situation regardless of the consequences. A lot of caring parents can think that helping children to avoid their fears is helpful because we see the reduction in anxiety in the short term. But what this does is sending the message to kids that they can’t handle this situation, and that they need to continue to avoid it. “The message we want to send is that this is something we know they’re brave enough to handle, even if it feels scary.
2) Keep open ended questions with the children
Usually when children talk about fearful situations, it is important to notice what exactly is making them feel so. So when you ask closed-ended questions like “Are you scared? “Obviously the answer will be Yes. Instead try asking questions like How excited are you for today’s competition? Open-ended questions help kids to reflect on their own emotional experience, which is an important part of managing anxiety. Anxiety often shows up in some specific situations but not others, so it’s important to not make assumptions about a child’s emotions but instead let them tap into that understanding and share information about how they feel.
3) Try teaching healthy way of handling anxiety
Instead of telling the child to run away from the situation, teach them healthy way of handling anxiety. This includes simple deep breathing exercises, listening to calm and composed music, relaxation techniques. As a parent when you face anxious situations you can try practicing these methods and it will surely help the child also.
4) Keep realistic expectations from children
Anxiety, fear is usually developed in children due to certain expectations that parents keep on children. For instance, insisting your child to score highest marks in every exams, or expecting that children should win everything they tried may not be possible all the time. When children do not reach up to these unrealistic expectations of parents, it results in anxiety, stress.
Anxiety, stress, and fear are normal feelings that every one experiences. But when it reaches to an extent where it disturbs a daily routine of a child, then definitely you need to seek guidance from experts.