Helping Your Child Μanage Fear and Anxiety
Hundreds of times in the Bible, we are told not to worry, not to fear, and not to be anxious or have anxiety. Easier said than done, for sure. As you walk through this unprecedented time with your child, here are a few things to remember about fear, anxiety and walking with God.
#1 Give Permission and Safe Places to Feel
Whether your child is feeling stressed, afraid or anxious because of the recent worldwide events or as a result of personal experiences, give some validity to their emotions. Provide them a safe environment (time and place) to express their feelings and ask questions. Address those questions with age appropriate answers, honest yet not fear-inducing. Acknowledge their fears and anxieties, then help them work through them.
#2 Don’t Dwell
It’s one thing to stay informed and keep an open dialogue as needed. It’s another thing to be obsessed, tuned in 24/7 to every latest update. Even if you don’t have freedom to go and do the things you’d normally do, you have options! Find or create new things to do together to pass the time and build a positive relationship and mindset.
- Create a new game
- Write old-fashioned letters with pen and paper to family and friends
- Read a book as a family
- Find a new show to watch together
- Map out a vacation
- Take a drive
- Scavenger hunt
Finding ways to occupy your child’s time and mind is an excellent coping strategy that will benefit them later in life as well. It’s not about distracting or ignoring the truth, it’s about inhabiting your present circumstance, not focusing on what you cannot control and finding things you can.
#3 Look to God
The Bible doesn’t tell us not to fear or to be anxious in nothing because it’s natural. Rather, it reminds us to trust God, to look to Him, even when fear and worry are the understandable, natural responses. If it were the easy thing to do, God wouldn’t have to tell us! Model this in your own life and let your children see you giving your worries over to God. Let them see it’s okay to have to do it more than once.
Tell God your worries in prayer. Ask Him to take that fear away. Read a scripture that brings peace to your heart. Sing a song that helps you feel calm.
Remember, God walks with us all (children and caregivers) and wants to give us comfort when we are afraid. Let your children know what a mighty God we serve. He does something incredible, if we let Him. He gives us peace that doesn’t make sense!
Lean in. Trust. Fear not.