At one point this year, one of our girls got very sick but had trouble bouncing back. She was tired and not sleeping, which only aggravated the problem. Then, she stopped eating and was losing weight. She seemed sick, but wasn’t. We were at a loss. Turns out, she was having a very bad bout of anxiety.
Her dad had been gone a lot. There were several schedule changes in our house. Life had become stressful for her.
We turned this around, though, and she hasn’t had a bout of the worries since. Thankfully.
Raising confident girls is one of our ultimate goals but it’s clear that one of our girls is naturally a worrier, naturally cautious, naturally anxious.
I’d like to think that we have taught her to Trust because even though she worries, she almost always bounces back easily and quickly. Trust is such an important word for raising children. We have to learn to trust ourselves, those around us and that the Universe is going to take care of us no matter what.
I’m sure you want to raise confident children as well. The We get it is a series of posts by parents who do get it hosted by The Golden Gleam. Please check out all the great posts that have been written so far.
6 Ways to a Less Worried Child
PROBLEM SOLVING — The best tool to teach a child is to show her how to solve a problem step-by-step. You don’t know what to wear? Oh, let’s start with step one: put on your underwear and move through the steps slowly and easily. Worried about going under the water? Easy, just stick your mouth in to start. Then your nose. Then your whole face. Small, baby steps is the best way to move foward with little ones who are afraid of uncertainty and worry a lot.
MOUNTAINS OR MOLEHILLS — We have a game that we play at our house. Is it a mountain problem or a mouse problem? Mountain problems are very big, almost insurmountable. Mouse problems are small. Sure, they squeak and are annoying but they are tiny compared to other problems. When we’re in a worried phase — and they are always phases — I ask this question and it often brings the big picture into play and the situation is usually much calmer.
MEET BASIC NEEDS — Tired, hungry children carry all sorts of issues with them. Period. Anxious, worried children — or cranky angry children — should go to bed earlier, not later. They should eat more, not less. Give up the routines and the schedules in order to ensure these two things can be ruled out as the source of worries and fears.
COMFORT, COMFORT — As someone who advocates parenting from the heart and soul, I’d be remiss not to mention just love your child through their worries. Love them and show them that you are there for them. They may still be afraid to jump in the pool, but they will know you love them and that will give them the confidence they need when they are ready. They will ease their own fears if they feel comfortable and can Trust you.
WORRY TOOLS — There are plenty of traditions to use to help ease children’s worries. Monster spray for dark rooms and under beds. Worry dolls. Worry beads. Simple stories. Special stuffed animals. Find unique ways to express worries and usher them away.
MAKE CHANGES — At the end of the day, once all of the above was done, the only other thing that worked was making sure Dad was home for dinner as often as possible. She felt lonely without him being there as he had always been and she gained new fears as a result. Once he understood this, he made sure he left work a little earlier to ensure he was home to spend time with her before she went to sleep. It made all the difference. Not all parents can do this change in scheduling but they should do whatever they can to make sure children feel safe and at peace.