How to Help Anxious Kids

By Raisa Weisspapir 

What can I do to make my child feel better? What food can help my child to reduce stress? What kind of natural therapies are helpful? 

 

These kinds of questions I hear every day in my practice.
Let's see first how we can recognize anxiety in children.

How toddlers express anxiety:

  • My stomach hurts

  • Mummy I am going to miss you so much

  • I feel butterflies in my stomach

  • My ear hurts

  • My head hurts

  • I am scared at night, I have bad dreams

  • I don't like to go to school

  • I am not hungry

How can I recognize anxiety in Infants:

  • Clinging to parent

  • Unconsolable crying 

  • Disturbed sleep

  • Thumb sucking

  • Diarrhea and/or Constipation

Helpful tips for parents

1. Encourage your child  to talk about worries
You can explain that it is okay to feel worried sometimes.
If you tell your child just not to worry, it might make him think that he is doing something wrong to feel anxious, or might increase the level of anxiety.

2. Redirect the child's attention
Try to do something together, like playing their favourite game, reading their favourite book or telling their favourite story.

3. Active listening
Allow your child to feel comfortable to speak openly, do not interrupt their story and show your genuine attention and participation. If they are not ready to share in that moment, give them some time and let them know you support them.

 

4. Stick to Routines
Many kids do not like change. Sticking to regular daytime and bedtime routines will help them feel more confident and secure.  Make sure they are getting enough sleep. Quality sleep will allow your child's nervous system to rest and restore at night. Rocking a baby before bedtime, telling a story or softly singing a lullaby is very soothing and will help your baby feel love and safe.

 

5. Involve your child in outdoor activities
Physical exercise especially outdoors is a great way for children to take their minds off of stressful situations that may be affecting their mood. A few simple inclusive activities for the whole family can include a short walk, bike ride, volleyball game, or swim.

 

6. Encourage nutritious food choices
Strive to eat simple yet nutritious meals at consistent time intervals to prevent blood sugar fluctuation. Include vegetable and animal protein like beans and fish, good fats (organic cold-pressed olive oil, avacado) and complex carbs (buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa).

 

7. Be mindful of the TV shows  your child is exposed to

 

8. Avoid Overscheduling
Too many activities can easily lead to stress and anxiety in children with sensitive nervous systems. It is important children have time to relax between school, soccer practice, music lessons and swim class.

 

9. Be an Example
Remember,  children look up to you. They sense when you are stressed or worried.
It is impossible to eliminate the stress from our lives but, you can teach your child successful ways to relax. Listen to soft soothing music, relaxing yoga poses and stretching. Homeopathic medicine can help you and your child feel better and reduce stress naturally.

 

10. Consult a Counselor or Pediatrician
 If you expect some big changes in your family life such as a new sibling, a move, or separation, ask an expert how to support your child through these transitional times. 
Homeopathy is a great medicine to support children and families during difficult times.
From my experience working with children and parents,  homeopathy can help to make a smooth transition from kindergarten to preschool, from preschool to primary school, from middle school to high school, and especially from high school to university or college.