Ann Arbor Psychotherapy: What To Do When Kids Worry- Anxiety and Stress in Children
Jen McCulloch, LMSW
Executive Function Coach
Certified School Social Worker
Children may worry about friends, school work, fitting in, or a number of other things. The staff at CNLD are trained to help children identify and manage the feelings of anxiety and stress that can feel overwhelming. But, what can parents do to support their children at home?
- Talk to your child – Find out what is worrying them. Try to do this in a casual way by asking them about their day or their friends. A good time to talk with kids is while driving in the car or while taking a walk. Sometimes sitting face to face and making eye contact can be difficult, so talking while you walk or drive can take some of the pressure off.
- Help with solutions – Offer to help brainstorm some ideas to deal with the problem. Resist the urge to solve the problem for them. Instead, talk through some ideas together and let your child think about the solution that seems right for them. This can help your child become more independent and confident!
- Keep things in perspective – Don’t minimize or over-react to the problem. Kids want to know their parent cares and understands their feelings. Remind your child that whatever happens, you will be by their side.
- Offer reassurance and comfort – Sometimes a hug is the best way to help. Kids need to feel they are understood and loved, no matter what. Maybe a hug, heartfelt words, or spending time together is the best solution.
- Highlight the positives – When kids feel down it’s easy to focus on the negative or the worst possible scenario. Help your child to focus on what is going right. Ask your kids what they enjoyed about their day. Listen attentively and help them to celebrate their successes, achievements and positive experiences.
- Find Healthy Outlets – Physical activity can be a great way to deal with stress. Encourage your child to engage in sports, theater, music, exploring nature or whatever interests them. These can be great opportunities to engage with peers and form positive connections.
The Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Development has fully licensed staff that can help parents and families navigate the often difficult path of growing up. For more information on the services that we offer, please visit CNLD.org.