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  • Writer's pictureKara Kohnen

Calming Anxious Kids: Tips and Tricks

When children experience anxiety, we often hear parents are at a loss. They can experience physical symptoms of stomach aches, nausea, sweating or shortness of breath. Or it may show up as refusal to attend social events, play sports or present in their classroom. With high stress, the body goes into "fight or flight" in the sympathetic nervous system.

In crisis,kids may have a variety of responses to this including: screaming, running away, getting quiet, clingy, acting silly or having a tantrum. Logic is out the door and trying to reason during this reaction is not productive. So here are some ideas of what might help:

  1. Rituals - creating the same routine prior to bed or before a sports event

  2. Plans- Talking about what will be happening and coping skills prior to the stressful event

  3. Do something physical- grab a vacuum, talking a walk, swinging on sing

  4. Breathing - since breath gets shallow during stress, intentional deep breathing works to calm it all down. Blowing bubbles, holding for counts of 3 or placing a pillow or stuffed animal on belly and then watch it go up or down

  5. Vagus Nerve stimulation shuts down fight or flight- chewing gum, singing, humming, or eating a snack

  6. Humor- laughter always helps- have fun videos at the ready

  7. Imagine a fun time - last vacation or favorite memories

  8. Name feelings - say what it is and talk it out

If anxiety is daily struggle, it may be time to schedule counseling. We can provide additional skills and support practicing these skills so children can navigate stress with less symptoms and more ease. Call our intake team at 619-549-0329 ext 0 to schedule today.

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