August 19, 2020

A Radical, One-Minute Strategy to Calm Anxious Children. 

I’m experiencing a windfall of new clients in my practice—this is not a good thing.

I counsel children with emotional issues. My new clients are children from 7 to 17 with anxiety levels through the roof. They are irritable, scared, acting out, demanding attention, and need tons of reassurance and comfort.

We are all experiencing one challenge after another right now. Whether it’s the unending media messages, being home all day with kids, or deciding what to do about starting school, we are all fried.

And our children (especially the sensitive ones) know it and feel it.

Hands on Parenting

We need to help them be resilient by teaching them to breathe and ask for help. But what happens when the tried and true strategies don’t work anymore—when the anxiety is heightened to unprecedented levels?

They need something new, radical even. They need more of you. A calm, loving parent is medicine for an anxious child.

Their bodies are in varying stages of stress response right now, just like ours, with chronic worry, overwhelm, fear, and uncertainty. Imagine having no idea what is happening or how to manage it. Children are experiencing sensory and nervous system overload these days.

Less Talk, More Touch

Just like an infant, our children need to be held. This creates the physiologic response needed to regulate their nervous system. The comfort of a loving parent is everything to these children and they will escalate their behavior until they get what they need.

I’ve been advising parents of young children to give up the convincing, bargaining, and explaining to gain cooperation. Stop everything and hold your child. After less than a minute, both of you will breathe easier and feel more relaxed.

This treatment, applied several times a day (and maybe night), will regulate their emotions and behavior. Remember, your child depends on you to feel secure.

Your body, reassuring words, and calm presence will do wonders to help your child through these challenging times.


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