Help your Child with Anxiety by Christa Savoy 

Anxious children are often overly tense or uptight. Some may seek a lot of reassurance, and their worries may interfere with activities and everyday life. Here is one technique that parents can do with their kids to empower them to feel like they are in control of their body and mind. The more you practice this technique with your child, the more confident they will become in using this technique  when challenging situations arise.



Proper breathing is very important for creating relaxation. Diaphragmatic Breathing is one technique that is effective in creating relaxation and clear thinking. This technique is effective for all kids but extremely beneficial for those with anxiety disorders because it can help children avoid panic attacks, meltdowns and other symptoms of anxiety.

 

Wikipedia defines the following: Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, deep breathing or costal breathing is the act of breathing deep into one’s lungs by flexing one’s diaphragm rather than breathing shallowly by flexing one’s rib cage. This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the stomach (abdomen) rather than the chest when breathing. It is generally considered a healthier and fuller way to ingest oxygen, and is often used as a therapy for hyperventilation and anxiety disorders.

 

Children can be taught to relax quickly when faced with stressful situations. Below is an exercise that you can do with your child: At first its best to have your child lying down to learn the proper way to breath. Then you can expand this exercise having your child sitting upright in a chair or couch.

 

* Have your child lay on their back and put their hand on their belly. 

* Take a slow deep breath in through their nose and let it out through their mouth with a gentle ah-h-h-h-h-h-h sound. (They should feel their belly rise and fall). 

* Breathe in slowly through their nose and out through their mouth like they are trying to move a feather up in the air.

* Breathe in slowly to the count 2, 3, 4 and out 2, 3, 4.

* In 2, 3, 4 and out 2, 3, 4.

Do this several times and then ask your child how the exercise makes them feel. Practice this over and over again and use this technique in everyday situations so they are ready to use this when they begin to feel anxious. Talk about when they can use this technique and how to practice it at school, playing sports, going to sleep or in the car. The more situations you can practice Diaphragmatic Breathing the more confident they will become in the technique.

Christa Savoy