- Category: Blog
I can remember vividly my best friend headed to school for the first time on the school bus. They told me, “next year that will be you”! As if I was supposed to be excited. Needless to say, I was not excited but terrified.
This is my earliest memory of anxiety. I was 3 years old. I cannot remember much from when I was 3 --but I remember that.
It is important to recognize your child’s anxiety. Allow them to express in words or pictures how they are feeling.
Most of the time they figure it out naturally but it is good to recognize and validate their feelings. Let them know that it is OK and normal to get a little scared about trying new things.
Remind them of previous experiences where they may have felt a similar fears & did just fine. Create a working list of all the times they were scared and did it anyway is a good idea.
Remind them that they handled the fear by doing it anyway-- and how it turned out just fine.
This teaches them that they can handle much more then they are giving themselves credit for.
This will build their confidence and will act as a reminder in times where they get scared down the road.
Try this exercise: Keep a courage journal beginning as soon as they can draw. Continue to journaling as they get older. Make note of the many sensations they feel during the fear, such as, dizzy head, tummy ache and such. This will be helpful down the road. The courage journal is a great place to go back to and reflect on previous accomplishments in overcoming fears. This is one of the earliest tools you can provide your child with in life. This is a tool that will last a lifetime. They can even share it with their kids one day!
I Cannot wait to hear your stories! Remembering your own anxieties will help you develop a stronger sense of empathy for your child. It may even be helpful to share your experiences with your child so that they understand that it is OK to feel anxious sometimes--that even Mom and Dad got scared when they were kids!
I look forward to hearing from you!