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How To Help A Child With Anxiety

Toddlers are at a point in their lives where they are discovering new things. However, these discoveries can be frightening for a young child. Here are some effective tips on how to help a child with anxiety.

Respect Your Toddler’s Feelings

Recognize your toddler’s fears. Telling your toddler to stop being anxious or worrying about his fears does not help at all. It will only increase his uncertainties and make your toddler feel like he is doing something wrong by feeling anxious. Let him know it is normal for a person to feel bad or terrified of something and at the same time reassure your little one that you will stay by his side to help him conquer these fears.


Listening is a skill every parent needs to learn. Listen to your child as he narrates his nightmare about a three-eyed giant with small feet or how uneasy he is meeting his classmates for the first time. Listening is a very effective technique used to help a child with anxiety. Plus, by getting your toddler to talk, you might be able to identify the source of his fear. For instance, you might find out that his fear of the water is actually a fear of sharks, which, you can clarify, do not live in pools.

Help Your Toddler Identify Feelings

Another way on how you can help a child with anxiety is to teach your little one how to recognize his feelings. Help him name different emotions. Demonstrate how others express their fears by saying “I’m scared.” or “Please do not leave me alone.”, avoiding eye contact, raised eyebrows, flared nostrils, wide eyes, tightly clenched mouth, lip biting, busy hands, butterflies in the tummy, quick breathing and distance.

Stick To Routines

Routines are very important for toddlers because they thrive on consistency. Follow his morning and bedtime routine as much as possible. This way, even if there are some changes, he still has something customary to look forward to which helps alleviate his anxiety.

Provide Distractions

Do something your toddler will enjoy. If he loves being active, go outside and play a game of tag or hide and seek. Go for a run around your neighbourhood. Go to the playground so he can spend time with other children. Help him finish jigsaw puzzles. Doing things he is interested in provides a feeling of comfort and security. But, make sure you do not overschedule or you will end up overwhelming an already anxious child.

Teach Your Toddler Relaxation Techniques

Unwinding is also a very effective activity that can help a child with anxiety. Play some soft music and ask you toddler to lie on the bed. Read books together. Teach him to count to ten and to take deep breaths. Do these 10 minutes each day and watch your toddler’s tense muscles let loose.


Spend time with your toddler. Cuddle him in your lap. Give him a big hug. Talk about happy things. Tell your toddler you love him and show him you have faith in him by saying “I know starting preschool is tough, but I am very sure you will find a way to handle this.”.

Most of all, set a calm example. This is the most important thing you can do to help a child with anxiety. Keep your emotions in check. When you are relaxed, your anxious child will feel your calmness and this feeling will rub off on him.

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April 2015
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