For many children, worry is more than an occasional visitor. Like anxiety, it is manageable in smaller amounts, but in larger doses can become crippling. In particular, worrying about her toy or if the house will be flooded if it rains, can spoil many children’s happiness and ability to enjoy life.
Although scientists don’t fully understand how, worry can make you sick. Most immediately, it can cause symptoms in children such as headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Persistent, uncontrollable worrying can spill over into mental and possibly even chronic physical illness. If you or your child is disabled by worry, or he is always anxious about things, it’s wise to seek professional help. Counseling can be useful.
Three worry-reducing strategies
Teach your children these strategies, which also work for adults, and help him/her enjoy life as it comes:
- Odd as it sounds, it may help to schedule a worry period. Initially, help your child to give worries 15 to 30 minutes every morning or afternoon; together, try to come up with at least one constructive solution, and then move on. If his worries pop up later, help her to focus on something else. Taking action to solve a problem is often an antidote for worry.
- Help him to distract. Go out for a meal and a movie. Exercise can be particularly helpful. Meet friends or get away for the weekend, if possible.
- Teach your child some meditative skills. Listen to music, if that helps her. Take up some activity that calms her, whether it’s crafts, cycling, or deep breathing.