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Children, Parents, and Control: 13 Helpful Phrases You Can Say to Calm an Anxious Child "I AM HERE; YOU ARE SAFE." Anxiety has a way of making things look worse and feel scarier than when we are not feeling worried. These words can offer comfort and safety when your child is feeling out of control, especially if they are at the height of their worry. "TELL ME ABOUT IT." Give your child room to talk about their fears without interrupting. Some children need to have time to process through their thoughts. HOW BIG IS YOUR WORRY?" Help your child verbalize the size of their worry and give you an accurate picture of how it feels to them "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL YOUR WORRY?" Give your child room to talk about their fears without interrupting. Some children need to have time to process through their thoughts. "CAN YOU DRAW IT?" Many kids cannot express their emotions with words. Encourage them to draw paint or create their worries on paper. "LET'S CHANGE THE ENDING." Anxious children often feel stuck in the same pattern without a way out. Help them see different options by telling their story, but leaving off the ending. WHAT OTHER THINGS DO YOU KNOW ABOU FILL IN BLANK)?" Some children feel empowered when they have more information about their fear (especially things like tornadoes, bees, elevators, etc.) "WHICH CALMING STRATEGY DO YOU WANT TO USE? Work proactively to create a long list of calming strategies your child enjoys Practice them during the day, at random times when your child feels calm "I'M GOING TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH Sometimes our children are so worried that they resist our encouragement to pick a calming strategy. In this case, use yourself as the calming skl! Verbalize what you are doing and how it makes you feel IT'S SCARY AND." Acknowledge your child's fear without making it even more frightening by using the word "AND." After the word "and" you can add phrases like, You are safe." or You've conquered this fear before." or You have a plan." "I CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT... It's hard to see our kids suffer with worry. Many parents rush in to rescue their child from an anxiety-producing situation "WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?" Instead of assuming that you know what your child needs, give them an opportunity to tell you what would help "THIS FEELING WILL PASS." This may be a phrase you can both use when your child is at the height of panic. All feelings pass eventually. It often feels like they will never end, you won't make it through, or it's too hard. And that's OK. Don't let your brain get stuck in that moment, focus on the relief that is on the horizon Source: This infographic was created based on a wonderful article written by Nicole Schwawrz found at Lime Adventures.com. Nicole's blog can be found at ImperfectFamilies.com. Get tips and tools to alleviate childhood anxiety: www.gozen.com
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