top of page

the best bits

Anxious kids? 8 empowering ways to help

It is normal for children to experience anxiety at some stage in their lives however knowing how to help them to cope with it can be a challenge. Here is the lowdown on eight empowering ways you can help. It is important to note that while occasional anxiety is common, persistent and excessive anxiety that interferes with daily life may require professional support and treatment.

There are lots of reasons to explain why children may experience anxiety. After all, anxiety is a natural response to stress and uncertainty. Common triggers of anxiety in children include changes in routine or environment, such as starting school, moving to a new home, or other significant changes in their lives. Children may also experience anxiety related to performance or social situations, such as school tests, public speaking, or making friends. Some children who have experienced trauma, have a family history of anxiety, or have a diagnosis such as ADHD or autism spectrum disorder may also be more prone to anxiety.

It is important for anyone providing care or working with children to understand the causes of anxiety in children so that they can provide support to help children manage their anxiety effectively. Helping children manage anxiety can also help them to build resilience and know how best to deal with how they feel.

Anxious kids? 8 empowering ways to help

Here are some easy to follow and practical tips on how to support children with anxiety. If your child is experiencing anxiety and it is affecting their normal day to day life, we would always advise you to seek professional support.

1. Encourage open communication:

Creating a safe and nurturing environment for children to express their feelings is crucial. Encourage open communication by actively listening to their concerns without judgment. Give them your undivided attention, validate their emotions, and reassure them that their feelings are normal and understandable. By fostering an atmosphere of trust and acceptance, children will feel more comfortable discussing their anxiety-related issues.

2. Educate about anxiety:

Helping children understand anxiety is an essential step in managing it. Use age-appropriate language to explain the concept of anxiety, highlighting that it is a natural response to stress. Teach them about the physical and emotional symptoms associated with anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, or racing thoughts. By normalising anxiety, children will develop a better understanding of their own experiences, reducing the fear and stigma attached to it.

3. Teach relaxation techniques:

Equipping children with relaxation techniques empowers them to manage anxiety in stressful situations. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are effective strategies to calm the mind and body. Practice these techniques together and encourage regular relaxation breaks throughout the day. By incorporating these techniques into their routine, children will develop a sense of control over their anxiety.

4. Promote healthy lifestyle habits:

A healthy lifestyle plays a significant role in managing anxiety. Encourage regular physical exercise, as it releases endorphins, which elevate mood and reduce stress. Ensure children have a balanced diet, as proper nutrition can positively impact their mental well-being. Adequate sleep is also crucial, as lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. By promoting healthy habits, you provide a solid foundation for children to cope with anxiety.

5. Establish predictable routines:

Creating structure and predictability in a child's daily life can provide a sense of security and stability, reducing anxiety levels. Establish consistent routines for meals, sleep, and other activities. Help children organise their schedules, allowing them to anticipate what comes next. Providing a sense of control and certainty enables children to manage their anxiety more effectively.

6. Set realistic goals:

Anxiety can be overwhelming when children feel pressured to meet unrealistic expectations. Set realistic and achievable goals tailored to their abilities and interests. Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps, allowing them to experience a sense of accomplishment. Encourage their efforts and praise their progress, fostering a growth mindset and building resilience.

7. Limit exposure to stressors:

Children with anxiety may benefit from limiting exposure to stressors that trigger their symptoms. Identify specific triggers such as excessive screen time, social situations, or academic pressures. Implement strategies to reduce exposure, such as setting boundaries on screen time, providing social support, or collaborating with teachers to create a supportive learning environment. By minimising exposure to stressors, children can better manage their anxiety.

8. Seek professional support:

If a child's anxiety significantly interferes with their daily functioning or causes distress, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. Mental health professionals, such as psychologists or therapists specialising in child psychology, can provide targeted interventions and support. They can teach coping skills, implement evidence-based therapies, and offer guidance to parents. If you're not sure where to start, you may want to visit your doctor or access some of the websites below as a starting point.

Useful websites

There are several websites that provide resources and support for children dealing with anxiety. Here are a few examples that you may find helpful.

YoungMinds: YoungMinds is a leading UK charity focused on children and young people's mental health. Their website offers a range of resources, including information on anxiety and tips for managing it. They also provide a helpline for parents and carers.

Anxiety UK: Anxiety UK is a national charity that supports individuals with anxiety disorders. While their focus is not solely on children, they have resources and information that can be helpful for young people. Their website provides access to online support groups, self-help resources, and a helpline.

Childline: Childline is a free, confidential helpline and online chat service for children and young people in the UK. They offer support for a wide range of issues, including anxiety. Their website has information, advice, and interactive tools to help children understand and manage their anxiety.

NSPCC: The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is a UK charity dedicated to child protection. Their website includes information and resources on mental health, including anxiety. They provide guidance for parents and carers on supporting children with anxiety.

NHS Choices: The NHS Choices website offers a variety of information and resources on mental health, including anxiety in children. They provide guidance on recognising anxiety symptoms, seeking help, and coping strategies. It's a reliable source for health-related information.

These websites can serve as starting points for information and resources, but for personalised and professional help, it's best to consult a healthcare provider or mental health professional.


Find the latest topics and top articles right here...

bottom of page