Though parents can have the best intentions to soothe their anxious child, phrases such as “everything is going to be okay” can have little resolution for a child who is feeling physical ailments such as a racing heart, sweating palms, and an upset stomach. It is important to understand that the nervous system is hardwired to our stress response and anxiety mimics this response. So words of reassurance will not dissipate these physical and mental symptoms once the anxiety triggers them.
Try these strategies to help your child lower their anxiety in more efficient and validating ways:
Remember, anxious children also “get it”. They understand that their reactions, emotions, and fears may seem illogical but they are real. So support your children through empathy and sensitive understanding, so they can truly feel understood.
To learn more about this important topic, check out this infographic that contains phrases to avoid saying to an anxious child.