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Anxiety Management Strategies


  • Encourage your child to use simple relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or muscle tightening / relaxing.


  • Get your child a fidget toy like a spinner or have some playdough handy your child can use to drain off some of their anxiety discretely.


  • Often stimulus in the environment can cause anxiety and stress. Your child may be super sensitive to the lighting, certain frequencies of sound, textures, smells, or general configuration of the environment that may trigger claustrophobia for example. Insure your child is prepared ahead of time for environments that may be challenging. If possible, alter, modify, or avoid environments that are particularly challenging, if not, insure your child has tools for dealing with their sensitivities such as headphones, or a quiet place within the environment.


  • Stress and anxiety too often compromise ability.  Prompt your child to use calming techniques such as breathing, just prior to taking a test or similar stress producing activity.


  • Encourage your child to try and verbalize what they are feeling when they are anxious. Give them words to help them identify the trigger such jittery, impatient, worried. Identify with your child what the worst thing that can happen might be, and what is the best thing that can happen. Talk through each scenario guiding your child towards empowering ways to handle each.


  • Once your child has discovered their triggers for anxiety, encourage your child to find ways to avoid or combat it.  Plan ahead for potentially anxious situations. Ask your child what their strategy for avoiding triggers will be in that situation. Role play the strategy with your child until they feel confident in their abilities to utilize the strategy.


  • Have your child do a body scan and see what area is tensing up and breathe into that area.


  • Assist your child in creating a support system of people to whom they can turn for help when they feel anxious.


  • Taking care of physical needs are critical to managing anxiety.  Make sure your child gets enough sleep, food, and physical exercise. Caffeine and sugar can increase excitability and stress.


  • Involvement in activities your child enjoys such as drawing, writing, listening to music can help keep your child from focusing on the things that cause them anxiety.


  • Help your child find extracurricular activities, volunteering opportunities, or a job where they can use their strengths and feel empowered to help others.


For more information or targeted strategies regarding your child’s specific strengths or challenges contact our Family Support Coordinator, Dr. Liz Simpson (Liz@soarnc.org).