Does your child begin to act out in new places?
Do they hide or run when introduced to new people?
When a child becomes anxious, they may demonstrate disruptive behaviors that can appear as defiant when actually they are feeling scared or worried. If you know your child starts to act out in unfamiliar situations or crowded places, there are some simple steps you can take to help them feel more secure.
Prepare your child before going to events or places where they may seem overwhelming. If you know your child struggles with crowds or loud places, let them know where you are going in advance and what they can expect. A child’s anxiety often increases when they are placed in an unfamiliar situation or are unsure what to anticipate next.
Strategies For Parents To Help Decrease Anxiety In Children
Let them know who is going to be there and who they are. Unfamiliar adults or sometimes even children can increase your child’s anxiety. If they are told in advance who will be present, this can assist them with being more prepared for the interaction.
Let your child know the expectations of them in advance. If they are permitted to go outside and play with other children while you talk to other adults, let them know in advance or otherwise they may be too anxious to even consider asking and may withdraw.
The following are things to say to your child if you notice they seem overwhelmed or anxious.
- I’m here with you. You’re safe. This reminds your child that they are not alone and have a safe adult with them.
- What’s something we could do to help you feel better? Making it about “we” can help your child to feel less overwhelmed because it’s something they don’t have to solve on their own.
- Tell me about it. Open up the conversation for them to Sometimes if they aren’t able to put it in to words, have them draw their worry. This provides them with an appropriate outlet to express themselves if they are unable to put words to it.
Supportive Parents Decrease Anxious And Overwhelming Feelings
Feeling anxious is overwhelming, especially for a young child who is learning about the world around them. When parents respond in a supportive way, it can decrease these occurrences and assist the child with developing healthy coping skills to manage their anxiety.