Fun Times Activities for Child Anxiety: How to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety with Play

Anxiety in children is becoming increasingly common. It is a natural part of life, but it can be overwhelming for children who do not have the skills to cope. Fortunately, there are many fun activities that can help children learn to manage their anxiety. In this article, we will explore some of the best activities for children with anxiety.

Introduction

Childhood anxiety is a growing concern among parents and educators alike. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. As parents, we want to help our children manage their anxiety and find ways to cope. One way to do this is through play. By engaging in fun activities with our children, we can help them learn to manage their anxiety and build resilience.

Understanding Anxiety in Children

Before we dive into the activities, it’s important to understand what anxiety is and how it affects children. Anxiety is a normal part of life and can be a helpful emotion in certain situations. However, when anxiety becomes chronic or overwhelming, it can interfere with a child’s daily life. Symptoms of anxiety in children may include restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.

The Benefits of Play for Children with Anxiety

Play is a natural way for children to learn and explore. When children play, they are free to express themselves and try new things without fear of judgment. Play can also help children develop social skills, build self-esteem, and reduce stress. For children with anxiety, play can be a safe and effective way to manage their symptoms.

Activities for Children with Anxiety

  1. Drawing and coloring – Art is a great way for children to express their emotions. Encourage your child to draw or color their feelings. This can help them identify their emotions and learn to manage them.
  2. Playdough – Playing with playdough can be a calming activity for children. It allows them to focus on the sensory experience and can help them relax.
  3. Yoga – Yoga can be a great way for children to learn to manage their anxiety. It teaches them to focus on their breath and can help them relax. There are many online resources for children’s yoga classes.
  4. Outdoor activities – Spending time in nature can be a great way for children to reduce stress and anxiety. Take your child on a hike, go for a bike ride, or have a picnic in the park.
  5. Board games – Playing board games can be a fun way for children to learn social skills and build resilience. Games like Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land are great for younger children, while games like Monopoly and Risk can be enjoyed by older children.
  6. Music – Listening to music or playing an instrument can be a great way for children to relax and reduce anxiety. Encourage your child to explore different types of music and find what works best for them.
  7. Pet therapy – Spending time with animals can be a great way for children to reduce anxiety. If you have a pet, encourage your child to spend time with them. If not, consider visiting a local animal shelter.
  8. Role-playing – Role-playing can be a fun way for children to learn social skills and build confidence. Encourage your child to act out different scenarios and help them find ways to cope with difficult situations.
  9. Mindfulness exercises – Mindfulness exercises can help children learn to focus on the present moment and reduce anxiety. There are many apps and resources available for children’s mindfulness exercises.
  10. Storytelling – Storytelling can be a great way for children to express themselves and learn to manage their emotions. Encourage your child to create their own stories or tell stories from their favorite books.

Conclusion

Helping your child manage anxiety can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that there are many tools and resources available to support you. By engaging in fun activities with your child, you can help them build the skills they need to manage their anxiety and build resilience. Whether it’s drawing and coloring, playing board games, or spending time in nature, there are many ways to help your child learn to cope with their anxiety.

Remember that it’s also important to seek professional help if your child’s anxiety is impacting their daily life. A mental health professional can provide additional support and guidance to help your child manage their anxiety.

6 Strategies for School Anxiety

School can be a daunting place for children with anxiety. But there are ways to help ease their anxiety and make the school day a little bit better.

There are a lot of different things that can contribute to a child feeling anxious about school. Some children are anxious about tests and whether or not they will perform well. Others may be nervous about making new friends or being in a new environment. And for some, the anxiety may be so debilitating that it interferes with their ability to attend school at all.

If your child is struggling with school anxiety, here are 6 strategies that may help:

  1. Talk to your child’s teacher.

Talking to your child’s teacher can help you get a better understanding of what may be causing your child’s anxiety and how to best support them.

  1. Encourage your child to express their feelings.

It’s important to encourage your child to express how they’re feeling, whether it’s through talking, writing, drawing, or any other outlet that they feel comfortable with.

  1. Help them to develop a positive mindset.

One way to help reduce anxiety is to help your child develop a more positive mindset. This may mean helping them to reframe their thinking about school and encouraging them to focus on the things that they’re looking forward to.

  1. Create a routine.

Having a set routine can help to reduce anxiety as it can provide a sense of predictability and control. This may include things like having a set time for homework, making sure they have everything they need for school each day, and having a set bedtime.

  1. Teach them relaxation techniques.

There are a number of different relaxation techniques that can be helpful for reducing anxiety. These may include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization.

  1. Get them moving.

Exercise is a great way to release tension and reduce anxiety. Even just a short walk or some playful activity can make a big difference.

  1. Connect with other parents.

Connecting with other parents who have children with school anxiety can be a great way to get support and share ideas. There are a number of online groups and forums that can be helpful.

  1. Seek professional help.

If your child’s anxiety is significantly impacting their life, it may be worth seeking professional help. A therapist can work with your child to identify the root of their anxiety and develop a plan to address it.

10 ways to Be when your child is Anxious, Nervous or Fearful

It is challenging as a parent to see your child upset, afraid, nervous and anxious.  But, what do you do to help your child?  Do you push them to do it anyway? Do you let them avoid it until they are ready? There’s so much conflicting advice out there!

 

10 ways to “Be” when your child is anxious, nervous or fearful.

Be Available

For many children, your presence will help calm them. Hug them or hold them on your lap. Even holding their hand can help give them a sense of security and comfort. Anxiety shows up in many ways and being physically present can calm the central nervous system.

 

Be Encouraging

Encourage your child to problem solve how they can cope with stress or anxiety. By telling your child exactly what to do or even what to say in stressful and challenging situations, they are not able to solve problems on their own or learn ways to cope by themselves.  Offer help after they have worked on the problem first.

Be Proactive

Fears and anxiety live in avoidance.  When a child is able to avoid situations that make them afraid or anxious, they are able to maintain the fear and it won’t go away.  You can take the initiative and try exposing them slowly to what makes them nervous.  For example, if they are afraid of dogs, you can read books about dogs, watch movies or videos about dogs and allow them to watch dogs at a kennel or secure environment while encouraging them and helping them manage feelings. Be careful not to expect too much at once because it can take time to manage anxiety. By slowly helping them adapt, you can ease their fear and prepare them to cope on their own when they’re older.

 

Be Active

 

Exercise has benefits in addition to health and fitness.  Physical activity can be calming during times of high stress.  Going outside to rollerskate, run, play tag, or other activities that involve gross motor movements or activities that increase heart rate, can help distract them from their worry or fear.   

Be Empathic

Even if what they are afraid of seems silly to you, it’s important to show your child that you understand. Although they may not truly have anything to be fearful of, the emotions they are feeling are very real.

 

Be Open

Give your child some one-on-one time and listen without judging or discounting their anxiety. Allow them to lead the discussion and resist the urge to tell them not to be afraid.  Rather, listen and be curious about their fears and share with them  how you have managed one of your own fears. The best time to talk it out is when they are feeling calm because they are able to listen to you more easily.

Be Realistic

Fear may not just go away and telling your child NOT to be afraid or anxious won’t help.  Letting them know that it’s possible to not be afraid and that it will take practice is helpful.  Knowing that they can overcome a fear in time can be empowering. 

Be Creative

Talking directly about their fear may be challenging.  You can use creative ways to help your child express their feelings.  They can draw pictures, use stuffed animals to act it out, create a puppet show, or even act it out without words.  There are so many creative ideas out there for you and your child to discuss their fears. 

Be Patient

Managing fears and anxiety do not happen overnight.  It can be frustrating as a parent to have to deal with a child not wanting to go to school or play with others or take swim lessons, but try to keep your emotions in check.  If you pressure your child too fast, it could increase their fear and cause power struggles. 

Be Enthusiastic

Encourage and praise small accomplishments. Cheer them on, have a reward for progress every now and then, give high fives or hugs to encourage them. Being brave while facing things they are afraid of or are feeling nervous about is something to celebrate!

5 Ways to Cope with all the Bad World & Community news

Violence, death, destruction and mayhem are the most common headlines that constantly bombard us. Regardless of how you get your news, local television stations, social media, newspapers, neighbors, etc. it can cause feelings of anxiety or fear, depression and sadness, helplessness, confusion and anger. 

When bad news breaks it can be nearly impossible to escape from it.
Actually, most of us do everything we can to stay informed which works against our innate desire to feel safe and secure.
The unknown and known can be equally overwhelming. Just unplugging and trying to think about other things isn’t enough these days.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the news, especially when good news stories seem far and few between.

So, if you’re feeling down or overwhelmed about the constant onslaught of bad news, here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. Limit your intake of news and social media. 

It is okay to turn it off.  If you are experiencing discomfort from watching, reading or hearing about the bad news of the world, you can limit your consumption. You can give yourself an amount of time that you engage, say 30 minutes or you can only allow yourself to check the news 2x a day.   But give yourself a buffer of at least two hours before bed and even allow yourself to engage in the morning for two hours before you look at your phone or social media or the television.

2. Let your voice be heard.

After something awful happens we have a strong desire to be around other people who share our experience.  I encourage you to seek out high quality connections with an intention.  It’s not healing to complain and share your feelings exclusively.  That can make you feel worse.  Having a sense of hope and feeling empowered comes from taking action.  This may mean getting involved with a local group that is working toward healing the community, or contributing time or money to a cause that matters to you.  You decide what is the best way to be helpful and contribute to a cause. Finding ways to contribute a solution can be healing.

3. Maintain your routine and engage in healthy activities.

Continue your regular routine of healthy eating and activities.  Consider adding in more time for stretch, relaxation and meditation. Some studies have shown that  exercise can be particularly helpful for improving mental health. When you engage in strenuous physical activity, you’re essentially mimicking the responses that can come with anxiety, allowing you to learn how to manage these responses and not be overwhelmed by them in other situations.

4. Be kind to yourself 

Trauma reactions are normal reactions to extremely abnormal circumstances. Trauma reactions can occur from watching tragedy on television or social media.. It is important to allow yourself permission to have your reactions, and take care of them both by yourself and by asking for help from others, as best you can. Distraction and poor concentration is a way to avoid thinking about the tragedies.  The idea is that you are giving yourself a break or reprieve long enough for the strong feelings to decrease and then you can manage the experience.  

5. Acknowledge your feelings. 

A variety of feelings can flood you.  Take a moment and acknowledge what you are feeling at the moment.  It is important to feel empathy for others who are experiencing trauma and tragedy.  Check in with yourself, are you more emotionally connected than just feel empathy?  When you notice that you cannot manage your reaction, you should consider talking to a professional and seeking the emotional support that you deserve.

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