We want our kids to have happy, carefree childhoods, but sometimes they struggle and need our help. Here are proven methods to reduce anxiety in children.
Life is getting more automated in a lot of ways — but that doesn’t mean it is getting any easier. Anxiety is on the rise — and kids are far from immune. According to one source, over 7% of three to 17-year-olds (roughly 4.4 million children) have diagnosed anxiety. Far more will experience symptoms of anxiety and stress, but never get officially diagnosed. Fear is a normal part of being human, and it’s something we all have to learn to live with. But you don’t want it to become overwhelming — you want to step in and help your children before you get to this point.
If you’ve noticed your child is more anxious and insular than normal, we’ve collected five proven and effective methods for reducing anxiety in children.
1. Reduce Screen Time to Reduce Anxiety in Children
Nothing in our evolution has prepared us for the screens that surround us all day, every day. They’re convenient, of course, and they make life easier and more entertaining a lot of the time — but they also present their share of problems.
Research has shown that children logging a high amount of screen time show more severe signs of anxiety. Further research from San Diego State University confirms that with increased screen time comes reduced well-being for children and adolescents. Even after only one hour, children exhibit less self-control and less emotional stability.
Early intervention and managing screen-time is a priority. Kids need to know there are ways to entertain themselves and while away the hours without remaining glued to a screen. Remember, though — kids replicate the behaviour they see. So try to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
2. Encourage the Use of Audiobooks
We know fiction provides a sense of escapism during times of anxiety. Children can use books to travel to different worlds and times. But if your child is too anxious to calm down and read, audiobooks can be a great tool. Find a book series they enjoy, with a narrator with a calming, soothing voice. Audiobooks have a way of focusing the mind and shutting out the busy voices in our heads. Audiobooks can help our anxious children focus their attention on a single narrative, which will give them the breathing space they need to recover and recuperate.
3. Provide Calming, Relaxing Music for Your Anxious Child
Music is an incredible thing. An upbeat song can cheer us up, a silly song can get us smiling even when we’ve had a terrible day — and the right soothing songs can help anxiety in children. According to Psych Central, it is well-documented that listening to the right music can be highly effective when it comes to reducing pain for those with high levels of anxiety. Music acts as a distraction technique. Listening to music releases endorphins, which can "quell anxiety, ease pain and stabilize the immune system." Just remember to do your research and find the right music — songs that are tranquil and calming to the ear. You can then create a playlist and sync it to a Jooki figurine, making it easy to reach for during times of anxiety or stress.
4. Have Regular, Honest Conversations about Their Feelings
Anxiety can be tremendously isolating — just ask anyone who suffers from the condition. You might mean well but refrain from saying things like “you’re fine!” when your child says they are scared, or worried. They are coming to you with legitimate concerns — acknowledge their fear, let them know you are there for them and they can talk to you. Then you can open up an honest discussion about their feelings.
This communication will help your child address their fears and anxiety, rather than run from them. Avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations simply maintains the anxiety, which makes the problem worse. If your child can face their anxiety, knowing you are right there with them to help them through it, they can move past it better.
5. Encourage Exercise (Whatever Form That Takes)
Exercise can be a great tool when it comes to anxiety. It releases Oxytocin, the “warm, fuzzy” hormone, that promotes feelings of social bonding, well-being, and love. It has even been tested as an anti-anxiety drug!
If you’re looking to reduce anxiety in your child, as part of a long-term plan, find an exercise, activity, or sport they love — and that is more like play than a chore. Now isn’t the time to worry about productivity — your child shouldn’t worry about wasting their time, about their homework, or anything else, for that matter. Whether it’s basketball, yoga, or simply messing around on the monkey bars, just encourage physical activity. Your kid will definitely reap the benefits.
If you are looking for a high-quality, screen-free music player for your kid to listen to books and escape with some calming music, the Jooki is the perfect story player for you. Buy a Jooki today.