August’s Parenting Tip: Dealing with Anxiety

Do you have children who get nervous about changes in your family’s routine, meeting new people or going to public events?

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in 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 how your children are living on a daily basis.”

Anderson adds that it’s important to empathize with your children when they are experiencing anxiety and remind them that worrying is just a natural part of life. Then, see if you can help your children figure out why they are feeling the way they are.

Simple Phrases That Can Help Calm Your Children Down
Anderson recommends asking your children these great questions from to help them identify, accept and work their way through their anxious moments:

  • Can you draw what you are feeling?
  • Why do you think that is?
  • What will happen next?
  • If how you feel were a monster, what would it look like?
  • What does your thought bubble say?

Quick Ways to Calm Down
She adds that, if talking to your children doesn’t seem to help their anxiety levels, there are other ways to get them to calm down that are also worth trying.

According to, there are some useful tips to help children calm down. They include telling children to imagine their favorite place, thinking about their favorite things, naming animals alphabetically, squeezing something like a stress ball, getting a cold drink of water, giving themselves a hug, and remembering the words to a song they love.

This site also stresses the importance of deep breathing exercises, because when the body is stressed, your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes more shallow.

“It’s amazing what simply taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly can do to lower your anxiety level,” says Anderson. “It is a great mindfulness tactic that really helps.”

When to Seek Professional Help
Finally, Anderson says if 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.

My husband received Valium after mild panic attacks and severe concentration disorders as well as mild depressive moods and a kind of burnout. I was horrified and tried to talk him out of Valium. I was suddenly diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder with agorophobia 10 years ago after losing consciousness.

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 child care 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 free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.