New to Bounty?
By Nadia Worland – Author, parent and teacher
The word ‘Anxiety’ used to send me into a spin. Only after many years in the classroom and raising my own children, did I see that anxiety can be the most remarkable source of strength and pride.
It also made me understand I didn’t want to change my anxious child but rather help them navigate the world with anxiety as their companion not their enemy.
1. Normalise asking for help. See it as strength
Getting help for your anxious child takes courage to accept you don’t have all the answers for your own child. If anxiety is a part of your child’s life a support person can be useful.
A support person can be a friend, a teacher, a sibling, a counsellor or a psychologist depending on your child’s needs.
My latest book, POWMan: Find The Courage Within, with co-author Dave POW Tabain explores the character of a young boy who suffers anxiety around an upcoming maths test and his teacher recommends he visits a schools counsellor.
With the counsellors help, they come up with the perfect POW plan to help control his anxiety and ace his next test. Together, with Dave we hope to inspire young children on ways to cope with anxiety.
POWMan: Find The Courage Within is about a young boy suffering from anxiety.
2. Know the triggers
Children can find it hard to know their anxiety triggers. We can help them identify triggers by listening to their words, watching their body language and interactions with others.
3. Let them choose
Children won’t always choose the group of friends you think they should. Be patient, they will see what friends can be like; they need to make their own mistakes.
The power of controlled breathing cannot be underestimated. There is an amazing amount of techniques from a quick internet search. From Belly breathing to Pranayama Yoga breathing techniques.
Children can find it hard to know their anxiety triggers but watching their body language is one of the ways you can help identify them.
Try to include a quick walk, ride or yoga or any sports each week. (even a little will help) as it’s an easy way to connect to your child.
6. Turn off and tune in.
The unrelenting social world we live in doesn’t give our kids a break. You may need to gently give them a break from it.
Start small and try not to make sweeping changes for a child with anxiety. (There will be times that devices will be used to escape and distract themselves.)
7. Trust – plain and simple.
They want us to trust them and they need us to do that. This takes patience and practice. Keep at it as it’s a long road, but a road paved with gold as you share this journey.
Allow your child to have the space when they want it, even when you desperately want to hug them.
Allow your child space to process their own emotions.
8. Telling a child with anxiety to calm down is like telling a wheel to stop rolling
Not always helpful, not always needed, and can make things worse. Choose your words wisely: “I’ll give you some time to think and I’ll come back”.
9. It’s just for now and not forever
Anxiety in children looks different on each child. With the right support, anxious children will develop their skills to come out the other end as well adjusted – and yes still anxious – humans who know how to cope.
Anxiety may never leave but it sure can be made easier with care, support and acceptance.
10. Parenting a child with anxiety can be hard work and rewarding
You must have people to help you, like the plane safety message put on your mask before you help others.
Your anxious child will teach you more about love and understanding than you thought possible… mine did.
POWMan: Find The Courage Within by Dave POW Tabain, Nadia Worland and illustrator Shane Ogilvie, RRP $14.99, available from all good book retailers or online at New Holland Publishers.