Does any of this sound like your child or teen?
Constant worry; Avoiding situations or places because of fears; Clinging, crying and/or tantrums when you separate; Excessive shyness, avoiding social situations; Complaints of frequent stomachaches or headaches; Experiencing sudden and frequent panic attacks.
If you answered yes to any of these statements your child may be experiencing anxiety.
As a mom who takes medication for this ailment, I know just how heartbreaking it can be when you see your child start to exhibit some of the same symptoms.
Modern childhood is plagued by stress – as a result, mental illness is on the rise. According to Canada’s Mental Health Commission, an estimated 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness – yet, less than 20 per cent will receive appropriate treatment. By age 25, approximately 20 per cent of Canadians will have developed a mental illness.
The good news is that there are ways parents can help their anxious children. Jennie Abbot, a Langley mom and owner of Harmony Kids Yoga offers six practical strategies and tools to help you manage your child’s anxiety.
1- Spend Time in Nature
The benefits of spending time in nature are endless. From helping to improve one’s mood and concentration, to less stress and anxiety, Mother Nature can do wonders for our little ones’ mental health. If you reside in ‘the Valley,’ our Regional Parks feature trails that are perfect for hiking, biking and bird watching. And when we get snow, there are snow shoeing and cross country skiing opportunities galore.
2- Peaceful Bedtime
Tuck-in time can be stressful at the best of times, especially if you have children like mine who like to climb out and try every trick in the book to delay going to sleep. The nights we have the most success is when we plan ahead with a relaxing routine, i.e, bubble bath, story, essential oils, etc. Molly loves to always know exactly what’s happening the next day, so we’ll run through her day, which seems to really give her a peace of mind.
3- Schedule Down-Time
Isn’t it crazy that this is something we have to actually schedule? Life is so hectic these days with school, recreational activities and family obligations, leading to crammed calendars and increased stress. Try making ‘nothing’ a priority for at least one day a week, even just an hour or two an evening will go a long way for your family’s health and happiness.
4- Bake & Cook Together
Focusing on just creating and enjoying a meal.
5- Just Breathe!
This is such a wonderful way to connect. Sitting facing your child either palm to palm or hands relaxed, practice five long ocean breaths (inhale through nose and exhale out of the mouth with a sigh) Notice how you feel before and after. Perfect way to start your day or as a re-set after morning busyness before they head off to school!
6- Be a Mindful Mama
Set up a mindful corner with calming tools like a mind jar, feathers, breathing scarf, bean bags and yoga pose cards and allow your child to use the mindful corner when they need to. Turn time outs into time-in’s, a lifelong skill they will benefit from as an adult!
Harmony Kids Yoga offers children of all ages the chance to enjoy the joys of yoga, mindfulness and self regulation through musical movement, games, creative dance and pure fun. For more information, visit www.harmonykidsyoga.com or call 604-841-2376.
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