The Anxious Child

June 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm

It took me a considerable amount of time to realize that my son had high anxiety. I learned from very early on that he did not like big crowds, did not like lots of noise and surprises upset him. It was very stressful for me as a parent trying to deal with something I could not understand. After all, my sisters kids could be put in their car seats with a snack and drive on a three hour trip without so much as a peep!

And then I realized, my son has high anxiety. What did that mean for me? Very simple. Keep things calm, and always prepare him. Once I realized that with a few minor tweaks to my daily life I could make both of our lives much, much easier.

1. Never spring ANYTHING on a child with high anxiety. Always prepare them beforehand so they know what to expect. My son hated getting haircuts. Before we would go to the barber I get down on his level and tell him: “I know that you are going to feel nervous about what I am going to tell you, but I want you to know that I have a plan to make it easier…”

2. Plan ahead so there in no rush. Once things feel rushed, my son shuts down. After a few morning where he went on the bus stressed out I realized that it was not going to work. Now I pack his backpack with the things he needs the night before. And we set his clothing out on the dresser so there is no wasted time picking out what to wear. And we always leave to wait for the bus at least 5 minutes early.

3. Discussions, lots of discussions. I find that my son likes to talk things through. Often before and after they accure. Finding time to talk about situations and experiences help him deal with them and even enjoy them.

Do you have a child or student with high anxiety? How do you help them cope?

-Morah Mushkie

Stress expression on little blond kid's face