Children today have a lot of demands. They have homework, sports, religious commitments, art classes, music lessons, tutoring, and play-dates. They also have a lot of anxiety. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 8% of teens ages 13-18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms starting at age 6. While therapy is very important in managing anxiety in children, looking at the pressures and stress in their environment can also impact their symptoms.
It is important for a child with anxiety to feel in control of their life, while also understanding there are commitments and demands of life that may not always be what they prefer. Setting up a schedule for a child with anxiety needs to be balanced, as you want them to feel confident in the activities they take on.
If your child is anxious about getting their homework done, keep after school activities to a minimum. Select one interest, whether it be sports or arts that your child can participate in. If your child would like to participate in more than one activity, think about adding commitments to a weekend morning, versus during the week. Additionally, your child’s anxiety is going to increase with your stress, and if you are feeling pulled in many different directions, they are going to feel the same. Also, exposing your child to a select number of activities can help them focus their efforts, instead of feeling the pressure to succeed in 5 different activities.
Exercise and play is very helpful in helping anxiety, and your child should be getting physical activity daily. However, this does not have to be in a structured format. It could include time at the park, playing in your yard or doing an exercise video together. Try to incorporate activities the whole family will enjoy, and pay attention to your stress level. If you are stressed, your family is as well.
Let me know how you’re doing. Contact me for a family consultation.
Behaved Brain Wellness Center
Healthier Kids – Happier Parents