Anxiety & Your Children – Tip #428
We all have anxiety in varying degrees. We have things that can make our palms sweat, make us shake, want to scream, run away, etc. Military life just on its own can be incredibly anxiety causing and especially for our children. Military life is in a state of constant change, upheaval, uncertainty, worry and fear. It is now believed that 1 in 10 children have anxiety that impedes their learning, ability to socialize and emotional development. I believe that there many things that you can do to allievate their anxiety on a daily basis.
Top Ten Tips for Alleviating Anxiety:
1) Keep a regular routine with a few things each day – bedtime, dinner time, homework, etc. These routines help to give your family a sense of control over their world, things that they can depend upon and count on each day, etc.
2) Have a calendar in a high traffic area that everyone in the family can add to and see. Divide it into “must do” and “good to do” (you can use two highlighter colours to represent these two) this way people will know what is important and essential and what would be a good thing to do.
3) Look at how you display your own anxiety and see if that is also a trigger for their anxiety. You may think you hide things well but your family may observe and internalize more than you think.
4) Talk about your anxiety and the things that you do to help yourself feel better with your family so that you are open and acknowledging that everyone has anxieties and we all have coping strategies to deal with it.
5) Create an exercise routine and make it as important as eating and sleeping – consider your day to only have 23.5 hours with 30mins being automatically used by exercise.
6) Do not watch any screens one hour prior to trying to go to sleep. Screens emit light and light wakes up your brain.
7) Make several music mixes – relaxation, getting inspired/motivated, exercising
8) Rank their anxieties so that your family member can put them in perspective according to which ones are the worst. When you have anxiety, it can feel as though they are all equal – they are not.
9) Deep breathing really does help. Breathing in through the nose (slowly) and out through the mouth (as slowly as you can). Many people have tried yoga and mediation with incredible success.
10) Be organized and clutter free. Clutter and disorganization add to feelings of anxiety. Clear out their closets, organize their things, keep things clean and tidy to create a space that they feel relaxed and comfortable in. Many kids will argue they feel very comfortable in the clutter until they can’t find a favourite item, don’t have clean clothes, can’t find homework, etc. and have a complete meltdown. Don’t wait for the meltdown, panic attack, or screaming match.
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Filed under: Military Family Support - Tips from the 101 Tips books, Re-integration Tips, Tips for Educators and Deployment Support Workers Tagged: | anxiety, children, deployment, military, military families, moves, postings, re-integration, reunion