A new school year can bring many emotions, including anxiety. Anxiety is a common feeling of nervousness or worry. When those feelings stop your children from having fun or doing normal activities, they may need help reducing their anxiety.
How to Help
- Breathe. Practice calming breathing together by taking slow, deep breaths.
- Challenge negative or irrational thoughts by having your children ask themselves questions such as “What evidence is there that makes this thought true or not true?” or “If it did happen, what could I do to cope?”
- Plan. Help your children prioritize and break down tasks into smaller, doable steps.
- Be calm. Model confident and calm behavior for your children.
- Establish an at-home routine. Schedule time for homework, fun, meals, and a bedtime routine.
- Support a healthy lifestyle. Provide healthy meals and time for physical activity. Maintain an appropriate curfew so your children get enough sleep.
- Identify thoughts and name emotions. Describe to your children what you observe and ask in a clarifying manner if that is what is occuring. Asking if, rather than telling what, your children are feeling helps them develop greater ability to name and tame their emotions. For example, “I see you frowning and not talking much. Are you feeling sad?”
- Communicate. Set aside time to talk one-on-one with your children. Connect emotionally by listening and giving eye contact. Validate concerns and avoid lecturing.
- Get help. Talk to teachers about any concerns you have about your children. If you are concerned your children have an anxiety disorder, talk with a counselor, doctor, therapist, or other mental health expert.
This blog was written by Hope Squad. Hope Squad student members are trained to be aware of their peers and watch for warning signs. They learn to show empathy to their peers, listen without judgment, and reduce stigma regarding help-seeking and mental illness. Hope Squads are now in over 1,200 schools across 35 states and Canada. During the seventeen years since Timpview High School started a Hope Squad, the school has not lost a student to suicide. And as Hope Squad grows, we will continue to spread hope and save more lives. Learn more by visiting https://hopesquad.com/.