Some anxiety is normal. We all experience anxiety on some level in the course of a normal day. As adults it may come from rushing to get kids to school on time, navigating a busy grocery store or meeting a deadline at work. For kids it may come from worrying about a test, having a disagreement with a friend or finding just the right outfit to wear to school. In fact, your child is likely to feel much more anxious during the school year.
Anxiety itself is not always the problem. One important aspect that should be addressed is making sure you and your kids understand healthy ways to cope with that anxiety. Try these tips to help ease your and your kids’ anxiety:
1. Establish a morning routine. Being late for school or work is a surefire way to ramp up anxiety. Instead of starting the morning rushing around, plan ahead so that it’s a smooth transition into the day. Get backpacks and lunches ready, choose outfits, write notes and sign papers the night before. Keep quick but nutritious breakfast options on hand. Fruit and yogurt are easy options. Or try PB&J on waffles for a grab-and-go snack. These ideas offer some tasty variety.
2. Be positive. As parents, it’s important to pay attention to our attitude. If we complain about our boss and how much work we have to do rather than on the positive aspects of our jobs, then our kids are more likely to adopt that same attitude toward their work (as in school) or boss (think teacher). Make the choice each day to find the positives. And do make sure that you are positive when it comes to your child’s school and teacher too. Don’t grumble about having to help our child with homework. Make sure they have a comfortable place to do it, encourage them to work independently and make sure you are available to answer questions or offer support.
3. Make learning fun. School can be boring. It’s the unfortunate truth. So we have to make sure our kids know that learning is fun. Find fun videos, games and puzzles online to help your kids understand a new concept. Explore extracurricular activities that combine their interests with learning. For example, did you know Bricks 4 Kidz® has programs and classes that focus on a variety of themes from amusement parks to space adventures? Whether your child is ready to design a video game or wants to build a robot, we have the perfect fit!
4. Find outlets for anxiety. Talk to your child about what is causing the anxiety. Then help them come up with some ways to relieve that anxiety. Physical activity is a great natural way to relieve stress and reduce anxiety, so make sure your child has time for exercise (preferably outdoors) each day. Even better, make it a family activity. Toss a ball around, fly a kite or simply go for a walk around the block. Finally, make sure your child has some quiet time each day. It seems we’re always on the go, and kids need time to relax just as much as adults do.
It does seem that kids today are more anxious. Take it seriously. Let your child know that you know his or her anxiety is real. However, instead of focusing on the anxiety itself, focus on the solutions for a healthier outcome.