Kids & Panic Attacks: 3 Tips to Help Your Child During a Panic Attack by Donna Shea & Nadine Briggs
Social anxiety, or any form of anxiety, can take away the joy of life, limit your child's ability to function and enjoy childhood, and can feel downright scary. Here’s some help:
- It can be helpful to explain to your child what anxiety is and does (when they are in a calm place). Anxiety is a necessary response to danger (for example, running from a bee if you are allergic). With panic attacks, the brain is giving a false danger signal, making you feel as if you are in danger when you are not.
- When your child's anxiety is revving up, empathize with what they are experiencing. Saying things such as, "don't worry" or "stop crying" do not help. Try to distract your child with a question on an entirely different subject and one that makes them have to think. For example, "Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable?" or "How fast can you count back from 100?"
- Work with your child on replacing the anxious thought with a coping one. For example, "It's just a birthday party. I might not know anyone, but there will be cake, and I like cake" or "Timed tests freak me out. I know that I don't have to be perfect and that not finishing is not going to mean I am a failure."
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