Latest Posts

Wife Sharing Too Much On Social MediaSat Aug 24, 2019 10:08:18 am -
2 Replies
Primary School - Should We Aim For Ravenstone, Belleville Wix Or Henry Cavendish? Moving HouseThu Aug 22, 2019 8:26:52 pm -
2 Replies
Want To Find The Diet That WORKS!Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:39:00 pm -
RECENT
Re: Where To Buy External Hard Drive?Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:00:50 pm -
RECENT
Paediatric Neurologist Recommendations?Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:32:34 am -
3 Replies
Child Counselling RecommendationsWed Aug 21, 2019 8:00:05 am -
RECENT
Mayfield Nursery - EarlsfieldWed Aug 21, 2019 7:40:48 am -
1 Replies
Child PsychologistsTue Aug 20, 2019 10:15:26 am -
1 Replies
Devastated By Husband's AnnouncementMon Aug 19, 2019 12:44:33 pm -
14 Replies
Am I Right To Be Miffed About This Lack Of Consideration? Your Opinions Please!Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:42:10 am -
20 Replies
ELECTRICIANMon Aug 19, 2019 7:11:17 am -
RECENT
Recommendation For Someone Who Can Do Ironing For Me?Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:02:22 am -
2 Replies
Classroom Space Required - Weekday MorningsSun Aug 18, 2019 11:35:37 pm -
RECENT
Professional Highly Experienced Nanny Available From September!Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:21:46 pm -
RECENT
Cleaner ... Still LookingSat Aug 17, 2019 11:24:25 am -
RECENT
Small Garden - Will A Grass Trimmer / Strimmer Suffice?Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:52:35 am -
RECENT
Autumn Mini Sessions £75Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:41:31 pm -
RECENT
Don't Have Time To Work On Digital Marketing?Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:26:28 am -
3 Replies
Query: Still Can’t Delete A Post!Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:39:15 am -
1 Replies
Cello TeacherWed Aug 14, 2019 11:11:41 pm -
1 Replies
Basement CompaniesWed Aug 14, 2019 11:56:47 am -
6 Replies
Repair Motheaten Cashmere?Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:59:53 am -
RECENT
Free ARCHITECTURAL ADVICE For Residential Projects.....Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:07:43 pm -
RECENT
Homeschool Tech Startup Requires FundingMon Aug 12, 2019 9:21:48 pm -
RECENT
3yrs Old Autism - Help/adviceMon Aug 12, 2019 9:12:23 pm -
17 Replies
Recommendation For Microblading Please?Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:40:51 pm -
3 Replies
Wanted- Super Nintendo Classic Mini ConsoleSat Aug 10, 2019 8:05:25 pm -
RECENT
SUPA DUPA WINE SALEFri Aug 09, 2019 8:47:31 am -
RECENT
Au Pair In Zurich - SeptemberWed Aug 07, 2019 8:28:58 pm -
RECENT
Query: How To Delete A Post?Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:13:02 pm -
3 Replies
Maytag Fridge/freezer Has Given Up The GhostWed Aug 07, 2019 7:09:37 am -
1 Replies
Handyman/woman/person Needed In SW12Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:16:54 pm -
1 Replies
What DO We Want On Northcote Road???Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:15:08 pm -
525 Replies
House Cleaner Available!Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:10:26 am -
5 Replies
Catholic Schools In TootingMon Aug 05, 2019 11:21:52 pm -
2 Replies
Family Lawyer - Experienced With Italian LawMon Aug 05, 2019 10:47:20 pm -
10 Replies
Housekeeper NeededMon Aug 05, 2019 10:37:51 pm -
RECENT
INVITED GUEST HAS ASKED IF HER DAUGHTERS BOYFRIEND CAN COME TOOMon Aug 05, 2019 10:34:19 am -
11 Replies
Holiday Sports Club At Allfarthing Primary School Will Open This Friday If There Are At Least 10 Participating KidsMon Aug 05, 2019 8:48:44 am -
1 Replies
Looking For Photoshop CC TrainingMon Aug 05, 2019 8:38:27 am -
1 Replies
Daughter Invited Away But Family Flying Bus ClassMon Aug 05, 2019 6:59:13 am -
5 Replies
Window CleanerSat Aug 03, 2019 7:16:16 am -
RECENT
UPDATE: Chivalry Road Playground - Response From Wandsworth And Meeting Next Tuesday 6th August 3 PmWed Jul 31, 2019 11:09:07 am -
RECENT
Shipping To Kenya & RwandaWed Jul 31, 2019 10:21:10 am -
RECENT
Win A £100 Clickstay Voucher!Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:40:38 pm -
RECENT
How Do I Get My Overweight Partner To Lose Weight?Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:57:35 pm -
6 Replies
Ring ResizingMon Jul 29, 2019 2:53:45 pm -
5 Replies
Advice On Estate AgentsMon Jul 29, 2019 8:22:28 am -
3 Replies
Remove Degrading Topics Off The WebsiteSun Jul 28, 2019 10:33:13 pm -
2 Replies
Fledgling On The CommonFri Jul 26, 2019 3:04:21 pm -
4 Replies

Stress, anxiety & panic attacks: how to support your child through stressful times

Last Updated on : 28th May 2019

Anxiety UK claim that 1 in 6 young people experience anxiety. At no time is this stress felt more than during the exam season.

As a parent, you want to ensure that you are well-equipped to support your child and reduce feelings of stress as much as possible. However, it is also reasonable and healthy for anyone to express a certain level of stress.

This article will talk you through the things you can do to prevent high levels of stress arising in your child, as well as how to recognise anxiety and how to help your teenager through it.

Remember, it is common for children and young people to feel stressed due to school or university work, especially during deadlines or exams. However, it is important to remember that schoolwork may not be the cause of their anxiety. Your child may feel increased anxiety if you assume that they are worrying about their academic results – so try not to make any assumptions about the cause. Once you have spoken to your child about their stress levels, then you can identify the causes together.

Preventative measures

It is advisable to be aware of steps you can take to reduce the chances of mounting stress in a child or teenager which becomes harmful.

1. Communication:
Encourage your son or daughter to talk to you about their concerns and worries. They don’t have to tell you everything about their life, but if they know they can rely on you for support and ‘debriefing’ that can be a huge relief. You may be able to take some of their burden if they feel they are experiencing a stressful situation, or you may be able to explain why a situation is not necessarily as stressful as the child is viewing it.

2. Energetic activities:
Not all children love sport, but if you can encourage your son or daughter to do some form of activity (swimming, running, tennis etc.) which gets their heart racing then that could be a good chance for them to relax and clear their mind. Regular exercise has been continually proven to promote physical and mental well-being.

3. Hobbies:
Enjoying a hobby such as yoga, art, photography or theatre are also ways to unwind and have a break from schoolwork, as well as to develop their passions and outside interests.

4. Environment:
If possible, ensure your child or teenager feels their bedroom is a safe space designed to help them relax, free from loud surrounding noise and threats. Ideally the bedroom should be an area just for sleeping in, rather than working in or watching TV in, though of course this is not possible for everyone and my teenagers have always preferred to work in their bedrooms.

5. Bedtimes & routine:
To make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep, try and stick to a fairly fixed and stable daily routine and encourage them to do the same. Going to bed at a similar time each night, perhaps after having had a mug of milk, can help with the body recognising the end of the day and supporting a healthy sleep pattern.  Encourage them to switch off and remove phones and any other distractions before going to bed.

6. Nutrition:
Eating healthily has also been linked to lower stress and anxiety levels. Try to get your children to eat five a day, plenty of whole grains (brown spaghetti, rice, bread etc.) and generally stick to a balanced diet free of processed foods. Rather than banning foodstuffs, ‘all things in moderation’ is a good motto to stick to. Keep blood sugar levels to a fairly stable rate in order to avoid dips in the day that could trigger depression and fatigue. Achieve this by avoiding sugary or caffeinated foods and drinks and by eating or drinking regularly.

Recognising stress

The symptoms of stress can be physical and/or mental. Your child may not recognise that they are stressed, so it is helpful if you can be on the lookout for the signs.

Physical signs can be:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Overactive bowels
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Increased or decreased appetite.

Mental and emotional signs can be:

  • Feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Low self-esteem
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions.

Helping your stressed child or teenager

Firstly, ask your child if they feel stressed. They may not like to admit it,  notrealise they are stressed, or it could be something else altogether.

Suggest that you take a break, perhaps together. The break could be treating them to a hot chocolate in a café, or going for a short walk, or visiting a grandparent if you have the time. Whatever you chose, removing them from the stressful environment and talking on neutral ground is a good option.

Work together to make a plan on how to reduce their workload or solve the problem that they feel stressed about. Explain that stress is normal, but that it shouldn’t be overwhelming and that you want to support them so that they feel well enough to continue.

Recognising an anxiety disorder

You may not realise immediately that your child or teenager is suffering from anxiety. People experiencing anxious conditions may not realise themselves what they are going through.

Anxiety is often longer term than stress, though they are similar in many respects. Your child or teenager may be experiencing similar symptoms to those mentioned above, but on a long-term, regular basis possibly without a specific trigger. Or, they may be especially prone to regular anxious periods.

Symptoms that your child may have an anxiety condition:

  • The anxiousness they are experiencing is uncontrollable and long-lasting.
  • The child’s daily life (school, hobbies and socialising) is being affected –by avoidance, reluctance to participate or by a change in behaviour or motivation.
  • They have difficulty concentrating, feeling blank,
  • They are suffering muscle tensing (e.g. jaw clenching)
  • Your child is tired easily and often/seems unhappy
  • The symptoms described above are being experienced regularly.

If you suspect your child has Generalised Anxiety Disorder, your GP should be the first port of call. Anxiety conditions are treatable by medication which many find helpful. However, there are also many other ways to cope with long-term feelings of anxiety that don’t involve medication.

Coping Mechanisms

If your child has a disorder, or is experiencing a period of anxiety or stress, the following are some wonderful things you can encourage them to do to reduce their stress levels.

1. Breathing exercises:
These could be done whilst stretching, in a yoga class, or using a mindfulness resource, or just on your own.

2. Taking regular physical exercise:
This doesn’t have to be strenuous, but it’s good

3. Keeping a diary:
Releasing and evaluating your thoughts and feelings can be a good way to see them in perspective. Or it can be a way to keep track of your emotions and to spot triggers and causes for certain feelings or behaviours. The act of writing down your worries can be therapeutic in itself. If your child doesn’t like writing, suggest they try talking to someone else regularly – a friend or family member.

4. Keeping stable blood sugar levels:
This should avoid any sudden energy dips that can increase feelings of depression and anxiety.

5. Getting enough sleep.

Panic attacks 

Panic attacks can have many medical and emotional triggers, including severe stress, with women twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with panic disorder – which is classified as repeated and unexpected panic attacks.

How to help your child with an panic attack 

  1. Stay calm
  2. Gently let them know what you think is happening and remind them you are here for them.
  3. Practise breathing exercises with them: counting, or asking them to watch whilst you raise and lower your arm can be calming.
  4. Encourage them to stamp their feet to release some tension.
  5. Encourage them to sit down.

Don’t pressure them to ‘feel better’ immediately or to calm down. Allow them to take their time.

Don’t instantly use logic or rationale to dispel their fears – this can increase their anxiety. Remember, the child isn’t choosing to be anxious. 

Ask them about their experience of worry and anxiety.

Find out more about anxiety on Mind.com or at Anxiety UK to show them that you recognise they are suffering and want to help as actively as possible.

Be patient and loving.

Written by Emma Hammett, CEO of First Aid for Life

Book a first aid course now – the skills you learn could equip you with the knowledge to save your child’s life! https://www.firstaidforlife.org.uk

 

You Might Also Like

First Aid following a serious bleed

A severe bleed can be caused by any accident in the home or garden, a mishap at work or sadly, through violence on the street. ... Read Feature

The workout for your face

A new generation of face treatment promises to lift, sculpt and tone your skin, but does it work, asks NappyValleyNet contributor Georgina Blaskey. You may ... Read Feature

Fitter, Stronger, Healthier

Have your New Year’s resolutions fallen by the wayside? It’s all too easy to let good habits slip by mid-January. Make 2019 the year ... Read Feature

Join the Discussion

Latest From Instagram