Stress (Getty)

Tips and tools to help your child manage anxiety

Chronic stress and anxiety can take a toll on our health­, which is why it is important to learn healthy coping strategies. Supporting your child with this can help them establish healthy ways to deal with stress that they can use as they grow.

Symptoms of stress and anxiety you may notice 

  •          Changes in eating patterns

  •          Difficulty concentrating

  •         Challenges with school work

  •          Challenges with friends or peers

  •          Daily worries

  •          Panic attacks

  •          Worsening of chronic health problems

Encourage social support

  •          Ask your child who they go to for help?

  •          Ask your child who is in their corner / who can they depend on?

  •          Help your child identify an adult they can talk to

Help your child use calming strategies

“With anxiety, children often have thoughts or worries about what will happen in the future, so being able to focus in the moment can help alleviate that stress.” - Meghan Marsac, PhD

 

Teach your child diaphragmatic breathing - Practice inhaling for four seconds, holding breath for four seconds, and exhaling for four seconds with your child. These deep-breathing exercises help counteract your body’s natural fight or flight instincts by slowing your heartbeat to help your body relax.

Teach your child mindfulness - During stressful times, it can be helpful to ground yourself in the moment. Ask your child to identify what they see, smell, taste, hear and touch in that moment.

Resources

Download mindfulness apps - There are many apps that help teach diaphragmatic breathing and mindfulness. For example, Calm, Headspace: Mindful Meditation, MindShift CBT, Insight Timer- Meditation App, Smiling Mind, and Breathe2Relax.

Books – There are also many books about feelings, stress, and anxiety. For example, books for your child / to read with your child include The Way I Feel by Janan Cain and Sometimes I’m Anxious by Poppy O’Neill. If you are looking for a book geared toward parents, you may want to check out Freeing Your Child from Anxiety by Tamar Chansky.

Online resources

Visit the sites below for more information and resources

https://www.aacap.org

https://nami.org

https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/mental-health-initiatives/mental-health-resources-for-families/

When to get more help for your child

If you are worried about your child’s anxiety or stress, talk with their pediatrician for guidance.

If your child’s stress or anxiety is interfering with his or her life (for example, school, ability to enjoy friends or family or their activities), reach out to your child’s doctor, school counselor, or find a mental health professional for an evaluation.

If you, your child, or someone you know are thinking about suicide or self-harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

 

Resources at UK

UK Psychiatry- (859)323-6021

UK Adolescent Medicine- (859)323-5643

UK Inpatient Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit- (859)323-9523

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This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.