Like adults, all the children at some point suffer nerves, worries or anxieties to a greater or lesser extent. As a father or mother, we would like to protect our children from the adversities and frustrations of life, to calm your child's anxiety, but learning to manage anxiety symptoms is an essential life skill that will serve them for years to come. . In the heat of the moment, we can talk to them and repeat these simple phrases to help them identify, accept and work during their moments of anxiety.
Phrases to calm children's anxiety
1. "You are not the only one who feels that way, it happens to many people."
Explaining that all people are afraid or anxious on occasion, you will help your child understand that overcoming anxiety is something universal.
2. "Can you draw it for me?"
Drawing, painting or scribbling about anxiety, gives children a way out of their feelings when they can't use their words.
3. "How can I help you?"
Let your children guide the situation and tell you what is the strategy that calms them or the tool they prefer to use in this situation.
4. "We will learn more about what happens to you."
Let the children explore their fears by asking as many questions as they need. After all, knowledge is power.
5. "Do you remember when ...?"
Fellowship builds trust. Trust stifles anxiety. Helping your children remember a time when they overcame anxiety gives them feelings of companionship and with it confidence in their abilities.
6. "Squeeze this ball hard with your hand."
When your children direct their anxiety to a stress ball, they feel emotional relief. Buy a ball, have a handful of modeling clay nearby or make your own homemade stress ball by filling a balloon with flour or rice.
7. "If what you feel was a monster, what would it look like?"
Giving anxiety a more concrete characterization means taking a confused feeling and transforming it into something concrete and palpable. Once the children's concern has a way, they can even talk with their concern as in a role-playing game.
8. Look for a war cry: "I am a warrior!" "I am invincible!"
There is a reason why movies show people screaming before going to battle. The physical act of fear is replaced before screaming, it helps to segregate endorphins. It can also be very fun for them.
9. "I love you. Here you are sure."
Telling a child that he will receive security from the people he loves most, such as his parents, for example, offers a lot of peace of mind. Remember that anxiety makes children feel as if they are truly in danger. Repeat that they will be safe, greatly calms their nervous system.
10. "Let's count ..."
This distraction technique does not require prior preparation. Counting the number of people we see at that time, the number of red cars or the number of chairs in the room requires observation and thinking, which decrease the anxiety felt by the child.
11. "Why do you think so?"
This is especially useful for older children who can better articulate the "why" of what they are feeling.
12. "I need you to tell me when two minutes have passed."
Time is a powerful tool when children are anxious. When observing a clock for movement, the child has a different focus point from what is happening.
13. "What will happen now?"
If your children are anxious about something that will happen in the future, helping them to think through the event and identify what will come next can be very useful. Anxiety makes us see reality partially, which can give us the feeling that life after the fact will not exist.
14. "Close your eyes. Imagine this ..."
Visualization is a powerful technique used to relieve pain and anxiety. Guide your child with imagination by taking him to a warm and safe and happy place, where he feels comfortable. If you are listening carefully, the physical symptoms of anxiety will dissipate.
15. "Tell me the worst that could happen."
Once you have imagined the worst possible outcome on the concern, you can talk about the possibility of the worst situation actually happening. Next, ask your child to imagine the best possible outcome. Finally, ask him about the most likely outcome. The objective of this exercise is to help the child think more accurately during his anxiety experience.
16. "I know this is difficult."
Recognize that the situation is difficult. Your validation shows your children that you respect them.
17. "If you gave your feeling a color, what would it be?"
Asking the child to identify what he feels in the midst of anxiety is almost impossible. But asking him to put a color on this feeling gives them the opportunity to think about how they feel about something simple. Then ask him why his feeling is that color, so he can talk more easily about what happens to him.
18. "Concern is useful, sometimes."
This seems totally contrary to what we should say to a child who is already anxious, but pointing out the reason for the existence of anxiety and its usefulness, helps reassure him, letting him know that there is really nothing wrong with him.
19. "We are a team, we will do it together."
The separation It is a potent anxiety trigger for young children. They are very reassured to tell you that you are going to work together, even if you are not always present with them, but making them feel that your thoughts are.
20. "Let's discuss it together."
Older children especially like this exercise because they have permission to discuss with their parents. A point-style and counterpoint debate about the reasons for your anxiety. You can also learn a lot about their reasoning during the process.
21. "Being afraid / nervous / anxious is not fun."
The empathy It is very powerful in numerous situations. You can even start a conversation with your oldest child about how you overcame anxiety at some point.
22. "Tell me about it."
Do not interrupt, listen to your children talk about what worries them. Speaking of which, you give children time to process their thoughts and come up with a solution that works for them.
23. "What is the first thing that made you worry?"
In anxiety, a mountain of grain of sand is often made. One of the most important strategies to overcome anxiety is to break this mountain into manageable pieces. By doing this, we realize that the whole experience is not causing anxiety, only one or two parts of the whole situation.
24. "This feeling is going to disappear. We will get comfortable until it does."
The act of finding a comfortable position calms the mind as well as the body. Putting heavy blankets, for example, has been shown to reduce anxiety over the increase in mild physical stimuli.
25. "I feel proud of you."
Letting you know that you are satisfied with their efforts, regardless of the outcome, relieves the need to do something perfectly, a source of stress for many children.
26. "Let's make a list of all the people you want."
Anais Nin says: "Anxiety is the greatest murderer of love." If this statement is true, then love is the greatest anxiety killer too. By remembering all the people who love their son and why, love will replace anxiety.
27. "Imagine we are inflating a giant balloon. Let's take a deep breath and blow up to 5".
If we tell a child to take a deep breath in the middle of a panic attack, he is likely to answer, "I can't!" Instead, turn it into a game. Put the imagination to work trying to inflate a balloon, making strange noises in the process. Take three deep breaths and breathe in, this technique actually helps reverse the stress response in the body and can even get some smiles in the process.
28. "Let's go for a walk."
Exercise relieves anxiety for several hours while burning excess energy, loosens muscle tension and increases mood. If your children cannot take a walk at this time, have them move in another way at home, bouncing on a ball, jumping rope or stretching.
29. "Let me hold you."
Giving your child a hug or just letting him sit on your lap is helpful. Physical contact provides an opportunity for your child to relax and feel more secure.
30. "Help me move this wall."
Hard work, such as pushing a wall, relieves tension and emotions.
31. "Let's make your thinking pass by."
Ask your children to make the thought that causes them anxiety is a train that has stopped at the station above their head. In a few minutes, like all trains, thought will move on to its next destination.
32. "Look how I take a deep breath."
Prepare a calming strategy and encourage your child to imitate you. If your child allows it, close it to your chest so you can feel your rhythmic breathing and regulate on top of you.
33. "We will find some evidence."
Collecting evidence to support or refute your child's reasons for his anxiety helps see if his concerns are based on facts.
34. "This feeling will happen."
Often, children feel like their anxiety has no end. Instead of turning it off, avoiding or crushing the concern, remind them that relief is on its way.
35. "I see that Bob worries again. Let's teach Bob that you don't have to worry."
Create a character to represent the concern and give it the name you want. Tell your child that he is worried and you have to teach him some coping skills.
36. "I have your partner's smell here."
A partner's smell or fragrance diffuser can calm anxiety, especially when filled with lavender, sage, chamomile, sandalwood or jasmine.
37. "You are very brave!"
Affirming children's ability to handle the situation, and giving them the chance to succeed gives them the feeling that they can really do it.
38. "What else do you know about this (what scares you)?"
When your child constantly faces the same anxiety, try to investigate on the subject when they are calm. Read books about what scares them and learn as much as possible about the subject. When anxiety appears again, ask your child if he remembers what he has learned. This step eliminates the feeding of exaggerated thoughts about what causes fear and empowers your child.
39. "We will go to your happy place."
Visualization is an effective tool against anxiety. When your children are calm, practice this strategy so that they are able to use it successfully during times of anxiety.
40. "What do you need from me?"
Ask the child what he needs. It could be a hug, more space for him or a solution.
41. "We are going to write a new story."
When they are anxious, children "write" a story in their mind about how the future is going to be. This future makes them feel anxious. Accept his story and then ask him to rewrite it from a specific point, so that the ending is happier.