North Dakota Today: anxiety in children

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Anxiety is a normal and common part of childhood. in most cases, anxiety for most children is temporary and may be triggered by a specific event. Board certified behavior analyst Crystal Henderson tells us how you can help your child with anxiety.

What parents should do:
1. Empathize label emotion/relate
o “Tell me about it”, “You are safe”, “I’m here for you”
o “It’s scary… it’s new/different…” Worrying is ok; give examples of how you worry…
o Put words to feelings…heart is beating hard, tummy full of butterflies
o Hug (ask for permission)

2. Breath – breath together: smell the flower, blow out the candle

3. Problem solve
o Talk to your, “worry” create a character, “What do you want to tell your worry?”
o Superhero - superhero pose 10-30 s
o Collect the evidence (feelings are not facts)
o Break down the steps to take
o Focus on the positives

4. Encourage
• “You got this”
• “You are brave to tell me that you scared/nervous/worried”
• Learning is fun vs. doing it “perfect”

5. Spend time doing relaxing activities/hobbies: sports/games for fun, reading, painting, baking, crafts