Anxiety issues are very common in children of all ages. As children grow older so does their fears.
Different kind of fears and phobias: children generally face different fears like fear of bugs, animals, birds, shadows, monsters, water or bathing, different kind of noises, social awkwardness etc. for all these issues there can be various reasons. Some of the reasons are following:
- Rigidity in routine, makes few children anxious, children with high sensitivity may not be able to get immune to firmness or rigidity in routine.
- Another reason could be over correcting behavior of parents or care takers.
- Over exposure to myths about different accelerated fears of monsters, supernatural powers or animals can also cause anxiety issues.
Tips for parents
Monitor your child’s exposure to such stuff in media: If your child is continuously watching things which scare him, then it might cause more anxiety towards the same.
Share your worries or fears with child: To know more about your child’s fears and insecurities start sharing your own worries and fears and keep talking about how you helped yourself in all those situation. Talk about what makes feel so scared and what the fear is about and do tell them about myths regarding any fearful situation or thing so that your child knows the difference between actual harmful or fearful situation and virtual or imaginative fearful situation.
Never, ever USE your child’s fear: There are situations when you don’t have any solution to make your child listen to you or make him/her do what you want them to, but even in those situations, be sensitive and don’t use their fears against them.
Practice relaxation and calming strategies: It is important to know about your child’s fears as I said earlier but more than that it is even more important to help your child feel safe. Help them with strategies of being safe like how to call for help, remembering emergency numbers and names etc. as well as calming strategies like taking deep breaths, repeating self-help statements like “I am fine”, “everything is okay”, “I can do this” etc.
Tips for teachers
School is a place where children spend most of their time and sometimes most of their fears are related to school only there are certain strategies teachers can use for children to help them deal with fears.
Form a rapport: First and most important strategy a teacher can use is to have good rapport with his/her students which will definitely help him/her to get close to students. Forming a rapport can begin simply with knowing hobbies, likes-dislikes, favorite person or teacher etc.
Positive and assuring statements: As there are times when child doesn’t feel safe in school or doesn’t feel like owning the space for some reasons, here teacher’s positive statements can do wonders especially with students struggling with fears. Statements like, “I am there for you”, “you can do it”, “it’s okay if you make mistake”, “you can ask me again”, “I am happy to see you”, statements like this helps students to feel positive and give them assurance and strength.
Be creative: Not all the students are same so there is never one strategy to deal with all the students, some students will share very easily, some students will not share so to know about your students and their fears include different activities where they can express themselves.
Consult the school counselor: In case of severe situation take help from school counselor.