Unhealthy vs. Healthy Anxiety in Children
Helpful Coping Strategies for Children with Anxiety
- First, have your child sit in a comfortable position continuing to practice his deep breathing. You can do visualization after working on progressive relaxation. It will make it so your child is more relaxed. It is not necessary to do progressive relaxation first, just the deep breathing. Ask the child to think of his favorite place: a place that is fun and safe. It can be the beach, swimming pool, backyard, grandma’s house, mountains, or his house.
- Next, have your child see himself in this favorite place. Encourage him to visualize what the place looks like. If you know the place he is thinking of, it can help to have him think about the specific aspects about the place ( the sand on the beach and the ocean water).
- After this, have him visualize what he smells at his favorite place. This could be the ocean water, chlorine from pool water, fresh cut grass, or something baking.
- Next, have your child visualize what he hears: ocean waves, creek water, lawn mower, grandma talking, or other children playing.
- Now, encourage your child to feel around the favorite place. He might feel the sand under his toes, the grass on his fingertips, the cool metal of the playground slide, or his grandmother’s hand.
- Lastly, have him visualize the taste of his favorite place, if applicable. This is more appropriate if someone’s favorite place is at home or grandma’s house.
When Your Child Feels Anxious…
Remind your child he can visit his favorite place whenever he needs to feel calm and safe. Encourage your child to walk out of his favorite place and be back in the room he is physically in. It is important to wait for your child to take his time to peacefully comeback to his physical location after being in his favorite place. After your child opens his eyes, ask him about how he is feeling. Remind him he can feel calm in his favorite place whenever he is experiencing intense emotions or anxiety.
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