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The Award Winning Anxiety-Free Child Program provides information and resources to help your child overcome their anxiety FAST.
Your child may not be very open about talking to you about problems with friendships, but you can gently coax out information with a few questions.
Questions can include asking if your child played with anyone today and, if so, what they did. It may be helpful to remind your child that making friends is a skill, like any other skill, that they can learn more about and practice. Additional skills to look for include those surrounding basic conversations, such as saying hello, goodbye and asking questions, as well as basic friendship skills. Role playing is an ideal way to work on social and friendship skills in the safety and comfort of your own home. Check for the eye contact and other friendly body language as well as facial expressions, polite greetings and goodbyes. Take it to the next level by helping your anxious child initiate a full-fledged conversation with ice-breakers and key questions that can get people talking and interacting. Compliments are very good ice-breakers, both for children and adults, as most folks are instantly flattered when you point out something you like about them. Social settings in schools often revolve around the playground and the lunch room and if your child has an ice-breaker up his or her proverbial sleeve (or in the lunchbox), conversations can develop naturally from there. A lineup of simple questions can work to start conversations, many of which can stem from the classroom or activities in which the children are participating.
Let your child come up with some examples, as well, to get his or her mind moving the direction of discourse. Putting your child’s new friendship skills to use and establishing what AnxietyBC calls “friendship goals” can help your child practice the skills in social situations. Keep taking small steps to expand the scope and increase your child’s confidence until he or she is ready to launch those new skills on his or her own at school.
One more tip is to remind your child that the best way to make a friend is to be a good friend by being friendly, kind, and offering help and positive encouragement to others. Important DisclaimerAll material provided on this website is provided for informational or education purposes only.
Researchers at the University of Miami believe they have discovered an innovative new therapy for children who have been diagnosed with co-occurring anxiety disorder and depression.
The therapy is an adapted version of two treatments originally designed for adolescents and adults. The study included 22 participants diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well as depression.
EDTP and other cutting-edge treatments for anxiety disorders and depression in children give parents hope that their children will live fuller, happier lives. Children who aren’t constantly furiously texting or surfing the Internet may seem like an unusual occurrence these days, and scary stats from two articles in UK’s MailOnline tells us why. The more devices there are, the higher the chances of digital addiction, and devices keep hitting the market in droves.
The trick to putting up a roadblock in that addiction road is to set limits from an early stage – and actually enforce consequences of ignoring those limits and engaging in excessive and unacceptable use. While you may not be able to sit your toddler down and have him or her complete a handy test offered by Capio Nightengale Hospital, you can review the 10 questions to see if any hit close to home for your anxious child – or even yourself. Parents concerned about their anxious children’s digital use, abuse or possible addiction may do well to go for on a “digital detox” for a 72-hour period.
Three days may seem like a reasonable amount of time to go without the Internet, smartphones, iPads and the like, but it can feel like a lifetime to children, or anyone, suffering from a digital dependency.
A 2011 study mentioned by Live Science looked at what happened to college students when they went without their digital fix for a mere 24 hours.
The early stages of digital detox can mimic those experienced by addicts detoxing from alcohol or drugs, complete with a lineup of similar withdrawal symptoms.
How you handle the withdrawal symptoms largely depends on your child’s personality and your own instincts. If you do happen to cave from incessant pleas, a surefire signal that something is amiss is the instant calmness and apparent happiness that disappears the moment your child’s fingers hit the keypad or screen.
Keeping your child away from digital devices for 72 hours may be tough, but you have to be tougher.
Once digital devices are out of the system, it’s essential you re-introduce them carefully and in a controlled manner.
Setting up time frames and activities where children are focused on the real-world and interacting face-to-face with other children is a wise idea. Another reason to keep devices out of the bedroom is to help children avoid the temptation they can pose in the middle of the night or as the first thing children reach for when they wake up in the morning. Children are also big on mimicking what they see, so your own digital use should also be curtailed when appropriate. TweetFood can fabulously fuel your body, or it can serve to further fuel your child’s stress and anxiety. We already noted how the nutritional craze may hurt your anxious child, but that doesn’t mean healthy eating and healthy eating habits shouldn’t be in the cards. You can still buy ooey-gooey brownies once in a while, but try to keep more nutritious staples around for snacks and desserts.
If you want to go for it no-holds-barred, make it a family challenge to come up with a week’s worth of balanced meals with input from all.
A report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that children who regularly eat with their families were four times less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or indulge in marijuana. If your anxious child is in the teen stage where family meals are “so uncool,” you can still make them work with a few tricky tips from KidsHealth.
You yourself may have experienced bits of this, like when someone handed you a cookie to make you feel better after you skinned your knee or failed to make the cheerleading squad.
Check out more tips on the types of food that can help alleviate children’s anxiety in our series Feeding Them Calm. Cognitive-based therapies are shown to be very effective in treating a number of anxiety disorders.
Mindfulness therapy is about understanding the source of anxiety and learning to deal with it. Taking care of yourself through the grieving process is the only way you’ll be able to help your anxious child through it. While each child may react a bit differently to a death, several suggestions from the NYU Child Center and hold firm across the board. Talking about the death leads the list of suggestions, as leaving questions unanswered can be much worse than explaining the reality of what happened. Be truthful. Being truthful also means letting your child see signs of your own grief, rather than a stoic face that is trying to hide your emotions.
Letting your anxious child help out with funeral rituals, hospital routines or other age-appropriate tasks can help your child feel involved and provide a bit of closure. It may take some time for your child to process the death, the concept of dying and the realization that someone they love has died.
No matter how your anxious child may react, reassure him or her that there is nothing wrong with the way they are feeling or thinking.
Being attuned to your child’s emotions and grieving pace can help you anticipate when he or she needs some comfort or additional help getting through the situation. Sometimes it’s not your own child that is suffering a loss, but one of your child’s classmates or friends. Explain how your child’s friend’s behavior may change while grieving but that doesn’t change the friendship. Also keep in mind that any death, whether it’s someone close to your child or close to a friend, can stir up fears or painful memories of other losses.

TweetImagine a place where you and your anxious kid are sensationally serene without a worry in the world or a care furrowed on your forehead. You need to sit in the lotus position or chant “Om.” Any comfortable sitting position will do for meditation. Multiply the terror by 1 million and you may be nearing how scary it can be for an anxious child. Never force the issue if your child doesn’t want to talk, but do let him or her know you’re always there to listen. You can also focus on the idea of making new friends by asking about other children your child may enjoy getting to know. You can start by observing your child’s behavioral habits to note if he or she inadvertently gives off an unfriendly vibe.
The latter consists of things like offering to help people, sharing things and asking to join in on a conversation or game. Pinpoint the skills that could use a boost then practice interacting with your child to develop them. Reversing the roles may be a good place to start, AnxietyBC notes, so you can show your child the skills in action and model the behavior he or she can mimic. Perhaps it’s a new haircut, a cool lunchbox or the way a classmate performed in a presentation or game. Remind your child to actually listen to the answers and not just rattle off a list of questions. You might want to start with something like a trip with your child to the supermarket where your child will say hello and goodbye to the cashier. Anxious children can crumble under any kind of pressure, and forcing them into friendships is a large kind of pressure indeed. Your anxious child may be more of an introvert who prefers one or two close friends instead of a handful of classmates.
No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This group-based approach, called Emotional Detectives Treatment Protocol, or EDTP, was studied by their Department of Psychology and their findings were recently published in a study that could offer new hope for children with complex emotional issues. Children in the study, aged between 7 and 12, learned through EDTP about their emotions and how to better manage them as well as problem solving techniques. At the end of the 15 week study period, during which participants met for weekly EDTP group therapy, 18 of the 22 participants had completed the protocol and a further 14 no longer showed signs of an anxiety disorder. As difficult as it is for any parent to watch their child suffer, they can take to heart that these disorders are treatable and that researchers are always working on new approaches making children’s lives better. Any new toy, or digital device, typically has the power to amuse, entertain and capture a child’s attention for hours. Participants consisted of 1,000 students across the world who willingly engaging in a daylong abstinence from the Internet and their smartphone and mobile device use.
Setting limits on digital use is a must to keep the habit from blossoming into an addiction.
Since that idea may be tougher to set up with the always-online teens and their peers, setting aside family time when devices are off-limits can help. Maybe half a day on Saturday can be designated a no-digital zone for family activities and endeavors.
While the techniques may stir up some groans from your children, or even make you groan, they can help keep the balance between real-life and cyberlife and ensure proper development in the former while avoiding addiction in the latter. It’s not just the types of food you eat, either, but it includes your household eating habits.
We collected several Dos and Don’ts that can help your anxious child – and your entire family – eat healthier  to stay happier. If you don’t want your anxious child to keep begging for all the ooey-gooey brownies in the house, stop keeping ooey-gooey brownies in the house.
Just because you’re not going to serve ooey-gooey brownies as a main course doesn’t mean your anxious child shouldn’t get a bit of say in what to eat.
Preparing dinner can also be a family affair, with age-appropriate tasks doled out across the board. Making your child eat when he’s not hungry, or when she’s so anxious she feels nauseous, is never a good move.
Children may start missing the cue that their body is full, setting up a lifelong habit of overeating and potential obesity. Most restaurant children’s menus are stocked with things like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, shoving children into a stereotype that that’s what they should like to eat. Soda pop, sugary juices and other beverages your anxious child drinks throughout the day can be loaded with additives and calories.
Too many adult food issues can stem from childhood reinforcement that food means comfort, happiness or love. You can express love and support in ways that are much healthier and meaningful than a cupcake or a pizza. Cognitive therapy teaches one to change negative, unproductive thought processes into realistic, constructive patterns of thinking. Children with anxiety disorders must learn to identify their feelings in order to better control their reactions. Most people don’t like to even think about it, never mind getting through the death of someone you love. More than one conversation may be in the cards, so it’s best not to treat a single discussion as a done deal. Children are apt to imitate what they see, and your actions can serve as a model for the grieving process.
Everyone grieves at his or her own pace, and your child may not express sorrow right away, or even for some time. Allow your child to attend the funeral if he or she wishes to and also allow visits to the gravesite. Encourage private forms of expression, such as journaling, creating artwork or making a scrapbook of mementoes and memories of the person who died. This reassurance can help immensely, particularly to eradicate feelings of guilt, fear and worry. Confusion, anger, sadness and guilt are all part of the grieving process and those emotions will not last forever at that intensity. Also keep an eye on your child’s response over the longer-term and, if healing doesn’t seem to be happening, perhaps seek out help from an outside source.
Talking once again leads the list of things you can do to help your own child understand another child’s grieving process.
Even adults can have a tough time expressing condolences or offering comfort to a grieving friend. Help for the friend can come in the form of assisting with the friend’s chores, setting up a special play date or outing that may provide a much-needed distraction, or just listening to the friend’s sorrows. Like adults, children may react by withdrawing from their friends or with intense emotions.
Anxious children, especially, may start to fear losing their parents or other family members.
That place can be yours every day if you practice mindfulness and meditation, both of which we explain in detail in our Parents Guide to Teaching Mindfulness to Anxious Children, inclusive of the many benefits.
Perhaps one of the myriad myths or misconceptions surrounding meditation and mindfulness may be to blame. The stereotypical hippie deep in meditation with a headband and a tie-dye may be an image stuck in your mind, but that image has been updated as vehemently as bell bottoms have.
You can notice a difference in how you look at things and how you feel in as few as five minutes.

On the contrary, mindfulness meditation is about making your mind acutely aware of things, not snuffing them out. Since you already know that part of the gist is becoming more aware of the world around you and your place in it, escapism hardly seems a definition that fits.
Some recommend a straight back chair with your feet firmly on the floor, a far cry from the lotus position. You may be very busy, very anxious and very restless, but you can correct all three of those myths. Despite the potential horror of it all, your anxious child can indeed develop skills that help him or her make new friends. Work on one skill at a time so as not to overwhelm, then move forward to play the part of a new acquaintance or classmate.
Use gentle suggestions to improve specific behaviors and, above all, don’t forget to praise you child for skills that are developing nicely. Offer examples of honest compliments your child could give others as a way to start people talking. No, you are not requiring your child to come running home with a whole list of classmates that are suddenly best friends. Rather than prompting action, a feeling of being forced can backfire and make your anxious child feel even more anxious, insecure and self-conscious.
Quality always trumps quantity when it comes to friends and your child may be much more comfortable slowly developing meaningful relationships with one or two children than he or she would be plunging into a whole pool of pals. Consult your physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition. It’s an education-based approach that also involves parent training and new ways for children to evaluate situations. With the results showing such obvious efficacy for the approach, further studies will continue forward with randomized controlled trials comparing EDTP to another anxiety disorder treatment. While the condition has yet to make it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, aka the “psychiatric bible,” LiveScience reports it is being considered for entry.
Children are usually gung-ho and even somewhat obsessive about any new-found amusement or activity, but that obsession should wane as they master the new activity. The general rule is to not give in, and perhaps set up a schedule of alternate activities to distract your child from his or her desire for technology. And children of any age do best by avoiding digital devices right before bedtime, as studies suggest the backlit screen can suppress the body’s melatonin production and interfere with sleep. You’re in control of the supply lines, KidsHealth reminds, which means you get to pick what foods to buy and when to serve them.
Let them pick between two healthy options as a snack, what type of healthy sandwich they’d like to bring for lunch, or even get them involved with planning and preparing meals.
While your tot may be way too young to chop onions, he or she can still help by getting the onion out of the cupboard, yes? You can’t very well ban ooey-gooey brownies when your children see you eating them for you own lunch. Instead let them stop eating when they feel full, not only when there are no more shards of broccoli on the plate.
Water and milk should be the prime beverages of choice, with 100-percent juice as a limited option. People can begin to use food as a coping mechanism to better handle anxiety, stress or other uncomfortable feelings.
This concept can show a child to be patient and accept feelings while dealing with them productively. As noted in our Parents Guide to Death, Grief, and Child Anxiety, there is no “right” way or “wrong” way to grieve, but there are several ways you can make the process easier for both you and your anxious child.
Your role is to offer support, an open avenue for communication and answers if your child needs and wants them. The funeral can further help with closure while it offers a chance for your child to see that others are mourning, too. HospiceCommunityCare even notes joy may be a “normal” reaction in some cases, and nothing is “wrong” with that, either. You can supplement that talk with suggestions from the National Association of School Psychologists. Talk about what your child may want to say to the grieving friend and ways he or she can help the friend.
Let your child know those are reactions we often see with grief and not to think your child did anything to cause it. While such folks may have discovered the power of and regularly practice mindfulness meditation, anyone can do it.
If there are any hippies left, they could certainly benefit from meditation, but so can the stay-at-home mom, the carpenter dad, the CEO, the ballerina or anyone else who wants it.
Chanting is optional, and you can even make animal noises or other sounds if it will help your anxious kid with the concept. You are instead working with your child to establish mini-goals as a way to practice the new skills.
The author is not a therapist, psychologist, physician, or other mental health or medical professional. In the unlikely even that your question is not answered by our FAQ, you may submit a customer service request by clicking here.
In fact, they may be easiest to handle, despite their potential for Oscar-winning temper tantrums. Setting a regular meal time helps anxious children by giving them a regular routine they come to expect and even enjoy.
Well, you can since you’re in charge, but you’re not setting a healthy example and, no matter what you say, children are prone to imitate what they see, not necessarily what they hear. Letting your children try a few bites of healthy foods can help you discover what they like so you can offer more of it.
Let your children experiment with other dishes if they wish, perhaps by ordering up different appetizers or offering them a part of your entree. Make sure you eat, get enough sleep, take some downtime for yourself and seek outside help if you find you need it.
Answering questions clears up misconceptions and can keep your anxious child’s imagination and anxiety from running amok.
Gravesite visits can provide a way for your child to further process and memorialize the deceased. Remind your child that everyone is safe and that you’ll do your best to help it stay that way. There is no religious connection unless you want one as you a free to meditate on or be mindful of anything you so choose. It can instead teach you to be aware of your thought process so you can better understand and accommodate it.
Your new sense of serenity, calmness and being one with the world can actually prompt you and your anxious child to be more caring, giving and compassionate to everyone and everything around you. Sit through the anxiety or restlessness that may plague you when you first begin, knowing that it will subside as you practice.
It can also teach you how to let thoughts ebb and flow through your mind without the panicked need to grab onto or worry about every single one. Not only will you and your anxious child have less anxiety or restlessness in your meditation sessions, but you will find you have less of it in daily life.

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