With almost two months of school under our belt, the reality of life commitments (school, friends, family, extra curricular activities, etc) are in full swing. These commitments can be fun, rewarding, and make us well rounded, yet they can also trigger anxiety.
Is anxiety a bad thing? Anxiety is a normal response to a new and/or unexpected situations. Worry is our body’s alarm system. It can help us to pay attention and be more alert and careful, or to react and make quick decisions for safety. Anxiety is a problem if it occurs too much of the time or is interfering with daily life activities like eating, sleeping, going to school or enjoying time with family and friends.
Parents can be alert to the signs of anxiety and acknowledge their child’s feelings and fears. You can help your child keep his/her anxiety in check with some strategies:
1. Ensure your child’s physical health with good eating, sleeping habits, and regular doctor visits.
2. Establish routines- build regular patterns and family expectations to make life more predictable.
3. Spend some quiet, one-on-one time with your child each day. This can set the foundation with distraction-free listening for honest conversation about what may be bothering your child.
4. Help your child plan ahead. Children can become easily overwhelmed by time constraints, schoolwork, and over-scheduling. Ask teachers for ideas if homework is the source of stress and anxiety.
5. Teach your child ways of relaxing to encourage better coping skills. Contact Mrs. B if you need a list of coping strategies.
6. Listen and be empathetic. Validate your child’s feelings of discomfort/fear and help them understand where it’s coming from.
Severe anxiety problems in children should be treated by qualified mental health professionals, and may involve a combination of individual and family therapy, cognitive behavioral techniques, and/or medication. Please, consult with Dr. Loving or Mrs. Berdeguez if you need more information or would like to discuss a referral for additional support.
Take care of each other, TRES!