There’s a whole lot we didn’t know about dealing with anxiety in kids — ‘til this talk, that is. Here, we share the important lessons we learned…
There’s no doubt that anxiety in kids has been at an all-time high, no thanks to Covid-19. But even without the darned pandemic, helping our kids deal with anxiety has always been tough. Knowing the signs and helping them deal — it can get tricky. Which is why we’re super grateful for all that we’ve learned from the latest HoneyKids Talk: Dealing with the rise of anxiety. We received helpful tips from Educational Psychologist Angela Wigford from Dover Court International School and Singapore American School’s Kindergarten Counselor, Deanna Williams, on how to help our kids cope. Here are the top lessons we learned:
Top lessons we learned from HoneyKids Talks: Dealing with the rise of anxiety
1. Anxiety is harder on younger kids
Since younger children are still finding their words, it’s tougher for them to express themselves. When dealing with toddlers, exercise patience and be more open-minded. Take a deep breath, calm yourself, then carry on. You’ve got this!
2. Setting routines work, especially when it comes to dealing with bedtime woes
Kids need consistency in their lives, which is exactly what a good routine can do. If your child’s anxious around bedtime, create a consistent routine with them. Together, brainstorm a list of to-do’s before bedtime: tidying up, brushing teeth, reading a book — you can include all of these. This way, you can make bedtime as calm and painless as possible.
3. We need to set good examples
Kids love to copy what we do. We are their role models, which is why it’s important to set good examples when dealing with challenges. If they see us respond to a challenge with an open mind and learning mindset, they’ll most likely follow suit.
4. Finding the right balance of independence is vital in raising confident kids
As parents, we need to recognise the boundaries between too much independence and not enough independence. If a parent does a lot for a child, such as putting on shoes or organizing school materials, the child may receive the message, “I’m not good enough to do this myself. I need help.” On the other hand, if a parent pushes a child to do too much independently, like reading beyond his/her abilities, the child may receive the message, “I’m not good enough to do what is asked of me. I don’t have help.” Finding that right balance is always key to building confidence in kids.
5. Encouragement always works
Raising confident kids requires encouragement from parents. Drawing attention to a child’s efforts — regardless of whether they bring success or not — could build their self-esteem. This gives them the confidence to take healthy risks and challenges without the fear of disappointing a parent.
6. Being stressed about new things is normal
And yes, it’s not always a bad thing. It teaches us to be alert and to use it to our advantage. Also, recognising and normalising stress encourages appreciation for the feeling rather than fear. Another way to reduce stress before something new? Be prepared for what’s to come. We may not have all the answers, but we can prepare for it by expecting the unexpected while reinforcing a sense of security.
7. Give teens the chance to voice their opinions
There’s no doubt about it, teens can be a tough crowd to please… and talk to, for that matter. So, to get them to open up, we need to be accepting of their opinions and ensure them that we won’t pass judgment.
For more helpful tips on parenting and anything school or #mumlife-related, stay tuned for the next HoneyKids Talks!