Like adults, children get stressed and anxious too. While their fears and worries may be pint sized, they can feel enormous and terrifying to your little one. Below we explore 9 simple ways to help your nervous child feel better in a flash.
- When your kiddo is feeling anxious, it’s likely because they feel like they have no control over the situation and aren’t sure what to expect. Remind them that you’re right there with them, and whatever it is can’t hurt them. Tell them they’re safe, and offer them a nice long hug.
- Listen to your child. Open your heart and your ears and give them your undivided attention. Ask them to tell you why they’re stressed. Often talking through their problem can be a big help.
- Ask them how big their stress or fear is. Is it as small as a rock? Is it as big as a bear? Is their stress the size of a mountain? Knowing exactly how stressed out they are can help you understand how they feel.
- When your child can’t find the words to tell you how they feel or what they’re upset about, ask them to draw you a picture. They may feel shy about sharing. To get them to open up, sit beside them, get some paper and crayons, and tell them you’re going to draw a picture of something you’re stressed about and share it with them. When you’re both done, you can switch drawings and hopefully get a conversation started about what’s going on with them and how they’re feeling.
- Educate your child about the topic of their fear. Are they scared of the loud thunder outside? Get out the iPad and together look up the scientific reason for it. Knowing the who, what, where, when, and how can help your child feel more in control.
- You are never too young (or too old) to practice relaxation techniques. Teach your child to meditate, practice mindfulness, do yoga, breathing exercises, or whatever it is that works for them and can help calm them down.
- Acknowledge their fear and add on a “but.” Yes speaking in front of the class is scary but you have a plan to get through it. Yes the power going out is scary, but we have a flashlight and can make shadow puppets on the wall.
- Ask your kiddo what you can do to help. Acknowledge what they’re worried about, and ask them what they need from you. I know you’re nervous about your sleepover, what can I do to help you feel better?
- Let your child know that whatever it is that they are worried about will be over before they know it. The thunderstorm will be over soon and then all we will have to remember it by is a few puddles in the yard. I’ll pick you up bright and early in the morning from your sleepover and then we will come home and make breakfast together. In a couple of hours you will have presented your show and tell and you’ll be off to lunch. Remind them that whatever it is won’t last long and then it will be out of sight and out of mind.
- Do you have a nervous child anxious about transitioning to life with a nanny? We have tips on that too! Check out our post 4 Tricks for Kids for a Smoother Nanny Transition.
What tips and tricks do you have for calming a nervous child? Is there something that works really well for your kid that you know will help others? If you have a thought, comment, or idea please let us know. We LOVE comments and love when your comments can help others!