1. Remain calm yourself. Try to remember that young people often look to the adults around them for guidance. Your behaviour will reassure them that they are safe and do not need to panic.
  2. Give them opportunities to explore and express how they feel. Children may not use the words ‘anxiety’ and ‘worry’ but their own descriptive words such as ‘fizzy’ or ‘wobbly’. If a child cannot describe how they feel, encourage them to draw or paint how they feel or point to where in their body they are experiencing discomfort.
  3. Explain that everyone worries from time to time and that although the physical sensations are not pleasant, they will pass. Using distraction techniques and activities, such as playing games, seeing friends, reading or watching TV, may help them to manage distressing thoughts and feelings.
  4. Acknowledge how they feel rather than minimising or dismissing their worries, whilst providing a clear message that they can and will cope.
  5. It is important that they do not avoid the situations that make them feel anxious. The more a situation is avoided, the greater the anxiety becomes. Help them to break down their fears into smaller steps and take each one at a time. Find motivators and rewards to encourage them to take small steps to achieve each goal. Keep persevering as the more they face their fear, the easier it will become.
  6. Try to identify the source of anxiety. Some young people become particularly concerned when they hear or witness worrying things. For example, ensure they are only accessing age appropriate material on TV.
  7. Let your child’s school or college know about the difficulties being experienced so that they can support them using the same strategies and techniques for a consistent approach.
  8. Remember that anxiety is a problem when it is extreme, excessive and interferes with everyday life. Please see your GP (if in school your mental health lead / pastoral services) in this instance and they can refer you to appropriate services. You can also self-refer to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) by calling 0300 304 0050.
  9. Access the resources below for details of anxiety management techniques that you can use with your child to help them to manage and overcome their worries.  

12th February 2022