In the wake of the announcement of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we’re seeing schools and companies telling people to stay home and even closing down companies to prevent the spread of the disease. Perhaps you’re noticing some or all of the symptoms of anxiety in children such as fatigue, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability and trouble sleeping. As a parent, seeing your child struggle with worry and stress is upsetting and can make you feel helpless. In this article, we’ll discuss what you can do to help an anxious child and some activities you can do at home with your kids.
Most kids have some level of worry (just like adults). Kids worry that they won’t be able to fall asleep or they’ll have trouble with a subject in school or they’ll miss out on something fun. They worry about their friendships. This kind of worry is normal as long as it doesn’t make it hard for your child to handle normal, everyday life. It’s when worry and anxiety become severe that it may be time to seek help.
The difference between normal worry and anxiety disorders is the severity of the anxiety. While feeling anxious is a natural reaction to stressful situations, anxiety becomes a disorder when it interferes with a child’s ability to handle everyday situations, or prompts her to avoid things that most people her age enjoy. The Child Mind Institute states that severe anxiety is unrealistic, out of proportion, unwanted, uncontrollable and doesn’t go away. Severe anxiety will make your child’s life much more difficult than it should be and will also limit the experiences they are able to have. This severe level of worry and anxiety could benefit from behavioral therapy.
It’s estimated that severe anxiety in kids affects 13% of children and adolescents in the US. This means that most children are dealing with a fairly normal level of everyday anxiety and worry. So how can you help an anxious child? How can you help a child worry less?
Play the Right Soothing Music to Ease Anxiety in Kids
One of easiest ways to start reducing anxiety in children is to play soothing music to calm them. But not all “soothing” music is created equal and you want to choose music that has been shown to actually reduce stress levels. The Ninja Focus app (which you can download for free) contains soothing original music that has been expertly-composed with the goal of reducing stress in children. Side benefit? It will calm YOU down, too!
Ease Anxiety in Kids with Triangle Breathing
Children who are anxious are dealing with big, scary emotions. Teaching them deep breathing is a proven way to help lower cortisol levels and feel more calm. Try playing the Calming music track from the Ninja Focus app. Next, sit on the floor across from your child and model triangle breathing by closing your eyes then breathing in to a slow count of three, holding the breath for a slow count of three, then breathing out to a slow count of three. Even if you only manage to get your child to do three or four repetitions, it will begin to calm their anxiety.
Try a Kids’ Meditation!
Another wonderful way to ease anxiety in kids is to encourage them to do short meditations. The Ninja Focus app features many 2-minute meditations for kids including tracks like Triangle Breath, Be Still and Fight Stress. The soothing voice of the meditation coach combined with the soothing music will go a long way in helping your child feel less stressed.
Some level of anxiety is normal in both adults and children and can be vastly improved with the right soothing music, deep breathing and short meditations.