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  • Writer's pictureFiona Murray

10 Top Tips for Anxiety in Children

Encourage them to express their feelings - Tell them it is OK to feel stresses or overwhelmed or sad etc. It is OK to not be OK, don’t try to cheer them up but listen and accept, ‘fix-it’ mode is not what they need initially.

Have a sleep routine - Create a comforting wind-down routine before bed and encourage teenagers to stop looking at screens 1hr before bed.

Be fully present for them - Not looking at your phone or being distracted by something else when children are speaking to you will convey to them that real interactions are more valuable than virtual ones and knowing their value to you will help them feel less worried.

Spend time in nature - Being out in nature helps to lift mood and a good game, walk or bike ride generates feel good chemicals in the brain.

Limit screen time - Too much screen time can foster mental health problems as youngsters compare themselves to others and gain a false picture of reality. Listen to music, play a board game or read instead.

Offer reassurance - Bring your youngster back into the present and tell them your love is unconditional, it doesn’t depend upon whatever they are worrying about.

Avoid fuelling worries - Talk to older children about what they may be hearing and keep adult conversations to adults rather than thinking your youngsters won’t understand what you are talking about. Make sure that you are always truthful in a manner that they child can understand.

Try some mindfulness - Parents and children can benefit from some simple mindfulness techniques such as concentrating on the breath or scanning the body to notice what feels uncomfortable.

Encourage reading - Six minutes of relaxing with a good book can lower stress by up to 68% so try some reading aloud or a trip to the library to fire your child’s imagination or to find a story with a character they can relate to.

Get help from a GP - GPs can refer to mental health service if your youngster’s anxiety is starting to limit everyday life and easy access services such as Young Minds can also help.

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