Situation: I feel nervous about taking a test.
Anchor thought: I’m happy that mom and dad love me no matter what grade I get.
Situation: I’m nervous about swimming lessons.
Anchor Thought: I’m excited to be able to take off my floaties in the pool this summer.
Situation: I’m nervous about presenting my project in front of my class.
Anchor Thought: I’m excited that mom said since I worked so hard I could choose what’s for dinner tonight.
These are just some examples of common situations kids with anxiety might face. Of course, you can custom-make anchor thoughts to correspond with your child’s needs.
Another fantastic point Robbins makes in her video is that parents should not tell their children to “calm down.” Although that’s often our first instinct, we need to do everything we can to avoid saying those two little words to our kiddos when they are in the throes of anxiety. Robbins says that when a parent says “calm down,” the child with anxiety has two corresponding thoughts:
- I can’t calm down!
- Mom (or Dad) just doesn’t get it.
Robbins says a better alternative to helping your child out of an anxious situation is to use the anchor thoughts, and if that doesn’t help, to pull your child into a nice, tight squeeze hug and to breathe together, in rhythm. That way your child knows you are in this with them, and the rhythmic breathing will help them start to calm down and think more clearly.
Now that you know some techniques to help your anxious child, start thinking about their triggers. Since ads for back to school supplies are already everywhere you look, it’s important to think about what anxieties your child might feel about a new school year. Will they be moving to a new school or up a level to middle or high school? Did one of their close friends move away?
According to Education.com, here are some reasons your child might have anxiety about when it comes to school:
No matter what time of year it is, anxiety in kids is no joke, and as parents, we need to be the first line of help for our kids who experience it. You can check out Mel Robbins on Facebook for more great tips, and also visit KidsHealth.org.