Do you have children who get nervous about change, meeting new people or going to public events?
According to Leslie Hundt, Program Coordinator for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “All children are bound to experience some anxiety now and then. The key is recognizing when the anxiety is getting so severe that it is interfering with daily life.
Hundt adds that it’s important to empathize with your children when they are experiencing anxiety and acknowledge that worrying is a natural part of life. Then, see if you can help your children figure out why they are feeling the way they are.
Simple Ideas to Help Your Children
Hundt recommends using this idea to help your children calm down, identify, accept, and work through their feelings:
- Give your children paper, a pen, pencil, crayons, or markers and ask them to draw how they are feeling.
- Ask Questions:
-What is happening?
-What will happen next?
-Why do you think that is?
- Add all the words your children say to the paper/drawing creating a story out of the picture.
- Afterward, ask your children what they would like to do with their picture stories. They may want to keep them, or they may want to throw them away. Whatever they decide is okay. It is their way of working through their feelings. They may need to go through this process many times to work through their feelings.
Quick Ways to Calm Down
Ask your children to imagine their favorite places, think about their favorite things or name their favorite animals. These distraction techniques help teach children self-calming practices to use as they grow.
Teach children deep breathing exercises. When the body is stressed, the heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallower. Taking deep breaths helps slow heart rate and breathing and gives the mind something to concentrate on besides the anxiety. Add counting to the breaths to increase focus and mindfulness practices.
“It’s amazing what simply taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly can do to lower your anxiety level,” says Hundt.
When to Seek Professional HelpIf you are worried your children’s anxiety is getting worse or really impacting their lives, you should seek professional help for them. Ask your pediatrician for a referral to a child psychologist.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other childcare providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 S. 108th Street, West Allis. For more information, please visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.