When you’re a child in the big world life can get pretty daunting. How do we as adults support our children into understanding their emotions and how do we encourage them to process information and their emotions even though they may be scared and anxious.
Helping children to manage their emotions is important for their development of children’s self-regulation skills, resilience and sense of self. This encourages children to nurture and recognise their own mental health and wellbeing.
Children need adults to help them gain the skills they need to be able to regulate their emotions. Adults can do this by showing and demonstrating their own feelings. By doing little things like telling a child you are a bit upset or how your feeling can allow children to begin to question their own feelings. Watching how you respond to your emotions will allow children to begin to be process their emotions.
Kidspot recommends that adults use open-ended questions, use describing words to vocalise their emotions, stay calm when discussing emotions and support the child through the process. This however can be quiet hard depending on the circumstance. The most important thing is to support your child and tell them that it is ok to feel the way they are feeling.
Children can sometimes be nervous or anxious without their parents or family members knowing or noticing. Behaviours such as repetition, withdrawing and irritability can be obvious if your child doesn’t regularly do these. However physical symptoms such as upset tummies, headaches, tiredness and body aches and pains may not be as obviously linked to anxiety depending on the child. It’s important to talk to your child about what is happening in their lives, especially if you notice that they may not be themselves.
Having a child who is anxious is not a reflection of parenting skills or knowledge. A child may be anxious for a number of reasons. They may be shy or nervous about being around peers, they may be anxious because they don’t know what to expect, they might also have a phobia of heights or insects.
There are many people and organisations that can help you and your child overcome anxiety. As a parent it is important to seek these services as soon as possible.
For other great articles on childhood anxiety follow the links: