Monday, September 09, 2019

10 Powerful Phrases to Teach an Anxious Child (That Will Help Them Shrink Their Worries)

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Wondering how to calm an anxious child? Or how to help an anxious child? Teach them how to shrink their worries and anxious thoughts with one of these powerful phrases.

If you have an anxious child, then you might be all too familiar with phrases and questions like...

  • I can't do this.
  • I don't want to go outside!
  • I hate school!
  • It might rain today.
  • This is too hard!
  • Are you going to die?
  • What if X happens?
Heard any of these before?

Yep, me too.

So how do you help calm an anxious child when phrases like that are running through their minds?

Well, one thing you can do is flip the narrative by changing their mindset.

Now if you've never read the book "Mindset" by Carol S. Dweck, I highly recommend that you do. It's an important book for all parents. Actually, scratch that. Everyone should read it, not just parents. It is such a good read.

Anyway, instead of letting your child focus on these negative phrases and questions and letting their anxiety control them, it's important to empower your anxious child and give them the tools they need to a) better manage their anxiety, and b) learn to self-advocate for their own mental health.

The phrases below are so powerful.

They can help your anxious child take better control of their anxiety and remind them that, yes, they can get through it.

Powerful and helpful phrases for anxious kids who worry

How to Help Your Anxious Child: Teach Them these Powerful Phrases!

Now obviously it's important to teach your child to identify their emotions and practice different coping strategies. But it's also important to teach them how to self-advocate for themselves and their mental health. If they can successfully recognize their worrying thoughts, remember to use one of these phrases, and then use a coping strategy, they will be one step closer to managing their anxiety on their own.

1. Go away, worry!

Teaching your child how to talk back to their worries is a great anxiety strategy. They can come up with their own variation of this phrase or even name their worry so they can address it directly. Naming your child's worry monster is a great way to show them that it is separate from them. And by talking back to that worry monster or bully, kids learn that they are in control and that their anxiety is not.

2. My worry won't last forever.

This phrase reminds your child that worrying is simply a feeling that will pass eventually. Just like your child feels happy, sad, or angry, those emotions don't last forever either. An alternative phrase to use would be...

3. This feeling will pass.

Same as the above phrase.

4. I am going to take a deep breath.

A phrase like this one reminds your child to relax and use a coping strategy to help them regulate their bodies. Be sure to teach your child how to do deep breathing so they can implement those techniques after they say this phrase.

5. I'm worried/scared about            because           .

Not only does a phrase like this help your child name their emotions, but it will hopefully help you and your child figure out what the root cause of their anxious thoughts might be. It also encourages your child to dig deeper into what's really going on. This phrase might be one of the most difficult on this list for your child to use, but trust me, when they can, it's so helpful!

6. The likelihood of             happening is low or unlikely.

This phrase is all about using logic to shrink your child's worries. Sure your child might be worried that a tornado might hit, but reminding themselves about the low probability of a tornado actually happening can be quite freeing.

7. I need           .

They might fill in this blank with a request for help directly or they might specifically tell you exactly what they need right now at this moment. Maybe they need a hug. Or maybe they need to check the weather forecast. Whatever it is they need, hopefully you can teach them to verbalize it. This phrase also teaches them to reset their system and help them learn to regulate, two important strategies for managing worries.

8. This is hard.

This phrase simply helps your child acknowledge that managing their anxiety is, indeed, hard work. Your child should pair this phrase with the one below.

9. I can handle this and I can do hard things.

Here's another phrase that uses logic to tackle those worrying thoughts. It takes a growth mindset approach to handling anxiety and can be used to remind your child about past successes. Remember that book I suggested earlier called "Mindset"? This is where it comes in.

10. My parents/teacher/friend is here to help me.

A phrase like this reminds your child that they don't have to do this alone. It reminds them that it's perfectly okay to ask for help and that there are people available to support them.

Other Resources You'll Love

The Worry Time Technique for Kids

Books About Anxiety for Parents

Anxiety Resources for Parents

Powerful and helpful phrases to teach an anxious child who worries