Anxiety in children

Teaching children to manage anxiety is something that should go hand in hand with potty training and learning to ride a bike. With 10 per cent of 5 – 16 year olds in the UK suffering from a clinically diagnosed health problem, learning to cope with anxiety and stress is now just as important as learning to read and write.

Bullying, peer pressure, bed wetting, school work. The stresses and strains of a child’s life may be different to the stress we experience as adults, but nevertheless it all matters. Young people express their stress and anxiety in different ways. Perhaps through a tantrum, hair pulling, obsessive behaviour or excessive eating.

However they express themselves a child needs to have a system to be able to cope with this.

They need to understand the difference between feeling ”normal” and feeling ”stressed”. A good exercise for children is to trace around the child on a large piece of paper, or draw a smaller version and then ask them to draw on the body where they feel stress. Ask them why they feel like this and use your experiences to help them learn skills to mange their stress.

Other good tips include encouraging children to tell people how they feel. Teach them deep breathing techniques for when they feel overwhelmed or buy them a diary where they can write their thoughts.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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