26 Aug 4 Ways to Help Ease Your Child’s Anxiety
It’s back to school time, and if you are like most families right now, you are not at peace. Every decision has a downside, and nothing feels exactly right. So, how can you put your child at ease when you are uneasy yourself?
Here are four things you can do to help ease your child’s anxiety (and yours):
Pray with Them
I know this is a given, but if you’re like me, you need to be reminded that prayer is powerful. I need this reminder daily. I am bad for praying and worrying instead of praying and trusting.
Pray with your child each morning and invite them to pray with you.
Encourage them to voice their concern to the Lord and then encourage them to tell God something they are thankful for. Following a fear with a praise will leave your child focusing on the positive God provided in their life and will get them in the habit of praying with thanksgiving.
Praying with your child every morning not only gets them in the good habit of starting their day focused on Jesus, but it will help build a foundation of faith in their heart. Still, today, about ten plus years after we started this, my youngest son is the first to say, “Mom, we need to pray about this.”
Relatable Verses: Philippians 4:6-8, Romans 8:26-28, Proverbs 22:6
Give Them Choices
Most of a child’s life is decided for them, which isn’t necessarily bad. Some children prefer that. But, for the anxious child who is more upset by change and potential chaos, simple, easy choices provide enough control to help them cope. Simple choices like would you rather have peanut butter and jelly or a Lunchable for lunch? Layout two outfits and let them choose the one they prefer.
Or, if your child does well with an open question, give them something they can decide like what to have for dinner or what story to read at bedtime. The key is to take the stress and not add to it. Giving them something they can control may help them feel more at ease.
Relatable Verses: Proverbs 19:22, Proverbs 3:5-6
Talk it Out
Some children bottle their emotions while others spew every thought all the time. And you may have both of these kids in your home right now. If so, God bless you. We have a prayer wall on here if you need it. But, it is important in both of these scenarios to talk it out and help each child express their concerns in a healthy way.
If your child doesn’t know how to express what they are feeling, remind them that Jesus knows their worries, and they can still trust in Him to handle their concern even if they can’t say it. If possible, help them to at least identify the emotion they are feeling.
IDEA: You can download a feelings picture chart and let your kid point to the emotion they are feeling. Or, let them make the faces. Take a picture of them expressing different emotions and print them off. That alone may break the ice and help them talk.
The more we can help them express their feelings in a healthy way, the more at ease they will feel.
Even the child who spews every emotion needs to learn to regulate their thoughts and learn how to share their feelings in a healthier way. It may benefit you to schedule a time with them to talk it out. This way, you can focus on them and help them walk through their day and their concerns in a more controlled environment. Then, maybe, they won’t feel like they have to shower you with every emotion all day long. End each talk with prayer=Pray early-Pray often
Relatable Verses: Matthew 18:20, James 5:16
Run through scenarios. Let them know why something is important. Give enough information to help them understand the value without scaring them. If they have concerns and express a “what if” scenario, help them brainstorm simple solutions. As much as you can, get ahead of the fear without planting more fear in their mind. Some children can’t handle thinking of what could happen because it opens the door to more anxiety. You know your child. Balance the information with the assurance that you trust them and know they will make wise decisions, you trust their teacher or coach, etc., and you trust that God is always with them.
This helped our family so much. My youngest son is my worrier. Every morning, after we prayed, we ran through what was happening that day and how he was getting home. Because it stressed him out so much, we would even write reminders on our hands. If he was bus, I’d put a “B” on his hand and a “B” on mine, so we matched. He knew when he saw that “B” on his hand that his plan matched my plan.
This didn’t take away all fear, and it isn’t fail-proof because something sometimes comes up that changes things, but it worked really well most of the time.
Preparing your family and helping them through this challenging time will not only put your child at ease but might just help you feel more at ease too.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Relatable Songs to Listen for on Walk Fm: Peace Be Still, Truth I’m Standing On, There Was Jesus, Another In The Fire, Burn The Ships, Love God Love People
Susan E. Greenwood is a wife, a mother, and a mother-in-law :D. She has over 28 years experience in youth and children’s ministries. Susan loves to write blogs, articles, devotionals, and curriculum. She has blogged for bible.org, and authors Mary Demuth, Lynn Cowell and Ruth Schwenk. Susan writes regularly for skitguys.com. Her passion is to help people live their Life In Stride with the Word of God.