They tend to worry a lot about seemingly inconsequential issues.
They experience sleep disturbances – having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping too much.
They experience physical symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, and headaches.
They can be moody and are difficult to get along with.
They get upset easily.
They have excessive anger.
They have low self-esteem.
They have concentration difficulties which affects their ability to succeed to the best of their abilities in school.
While it may be easy to label anxious children as “worry warts,” it’s important to address child anxiety as soon as possible. According to Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D., childhood anxiety is often a precursor to the onset of depression in adults. In fact, many adults with depression have dual diagnoses of depression with anxiety; however, the onset of each disorder may be years apart. That’s why it’s important to note childhood anxiety as a red flag to problematic coping skills in the future.
For parents of children with anxiety, it’s not uncommon to feel as if they are in “over their heads” when it comes to helping their children “calm down.” The good news is that there are ways that parents can help their children learn to manage feelings of anxiousness – or impending panic attacks – without the help of a therapist. It’s called progressive muscle relaxation.
Progressive muscle relaxation is easy to teach to children. There are several techniques available, but here is one that is quite effective for beginners. As children progress through this technique, they’ll pay attention to ...
... middle of paper ...
...o melt away the tightness in your body. Whenever you feel anxious, take a few minutes to tighten your muscles; then relax them.
Children respond well to progressive relaxation techniques and you can modify the script to make it fun. For instance, when they’re stretching toward the ceiling, suggest that they pretend to be a cat, doing a long, lazy stretch. When they’re tightening facial muscles, tell them to pretend they’re an old man or woman, making as many wrinkles as they can. This keeps children interested in the exercises. Design a script that works best for your child.
Progressive relaxation techniques are an effective way to manage stress with children. Schedule them any time when your child feels anxious. For children who have difficulties falling asleep, these exercises may serve to relax the child to the point where falling asleep becomes more manageable.
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