Tip 10: Helping your child cope with anxiety

Reduce unhelpful thoughts: To reduce worries, you can encourage your children to talk about their thoughts to you, to write them down, and then to put the list away. Try to limit discussions about worries at a special “worry time” once a day. It is helpful to explain to them that instead of worrying about things they cannot change (the “what if…?” or “why…?” questions) they can use problem-solving to identify actions they can take to get what they want (the “what can I do to…?” question). For example, instead of asking “Why is my school still closed, what if it stays shut?”, suggest that they can ask “What can I do to keep in touch with my school-mates, how can I keep up with my school work?”.

Reduce unhelpful behaviours: Only give reassurance a set number of times daily because those interactions will only keep the worry going. If needed, you can also offer little rewards for engaging in just the necessary amount of protective behaviours (e.g., hand-washing) and time away from you (if they are clingy).

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