It’s awful seeing your child struggling with anxiety. Maybe they’ve been getting a lot of stomach aches or headaches. Maybe they’ve been extra clingy and not wanting to go to school. Maybe they’ve lost their appetite or are having trouble sleeping. Maybe they’re having full-on anxiety attacks.
Perhaps you were an anxious child yourself and know how they’re feeling. Back when we were kids, the best we would get would probably be some cheery advice: “Don’t worry about it! It’ll be fine!”
That doesn’t take the worry away.
With one in eight kids struggling with anxiety at some point, this is a problem faced by a lot of parents. But there’s good news.
“Anxiety in kids is very treatable and they are particularly responsive,” believes psychologist Karen Young, who runs the website Hey Sigmund. “They’re so open to possibility, and very quick to make the right connections when they’re given the right information and support.”
So how can you help your child when their anxiety is at its worst - when you can see it has taken hold of them? Young suggests you try saying these things:
"You’re safe. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere." You can offer comfort by just staying beside them.
"Whatever you do now will be absolutely fine with me." If you let your child know that what they're doing is okay, it will give them the strength to deal with the feeling.