Quick Tips to Handle Social Anxiety in Children
From juggling a 9 to 5 job and your housework to spending some time with your kid and getting some me time- life can be pretty exhausting. But stop for a moment and think about it- if you’re feeling stressed, you’re likely to project it onto your kid, which, you may not realize it at the time, can have an everlasting impact on your child’s mental health.
It’s no new news that spending time with your kid is absolutely essential- not just to maintain a healthy parent-child relationship, but also to help boost your child’s self esteem and confidence, and it turns out, children who do not spend enough time with their parents are more likely to develop social anxiety.
Infact, in the recent years, social anxiety has become a sort of epidemic, with numbers shooting up to 1 in every 8 children being affected.
Suspect your kid’s affected by it too? Don’t worry! Parenting can be challenging, but done the right way, it can be a beautiful journey. Read on to discover some of the best actionable steps to help your kid fight social anxiety and emerge as a bright, outgoing and enthusiastic individual!
Books Can Help
Inculcate the habit of reading in your child at an early age itself- yeah bedtime stories rock! Instead of gifting your child a new toy to add to his collection, get him a good book, and if he’s a socially anxious child, some of these books might help!
Parental involvement determines a lot about the social and personal skillset of a child, and it can literally make or break your child’s self esteem and personality. Make it a point to be more involved in your child’s life, his day and his schoolwork.
Face the Monster
Facing the proverbial ‘monster’ is a good idea when your kid is just a little shy of making the first move when it comes to interaction. Have him along with you and ask him to ‘say hello’ to people you meet, help someone do a chore or carry out any other task that involves interaction and doesn’t seem so obvious.
Nothing- literally nothing can beat the feeling of a nice, long hug, and sometimes, that’s exactly what your kid needs, along with a few words ending with “it’ll be all right” and “I’m here for you.”
If your kid is struck by social anxiety, there’s a good chance he’s also introvert and shy. Introduce him to a little craziness and allow him to explore it! Check out fun new activities happening in the neighbourhood, plan a pillow fight night or anything at all to introduce him to ‘fun.’
Find the Outlet
Be it anger, happiness or sadness- every human emotion has an outlet, which is unique for every one of us. Bottling it up makes it worse- and you already know that. When things get a bit too overwhelming, have your kid find out his outlet- punching a pillow, crying it out, going for a walk- whatever, and let it all out.
Small steps taken in the right direction is the key to success, and when it comes to kids with social anxiety, going slow is the best way out. Don’t make it obvious, but try to sneak in some activities or tasks in your kid’s day that involve him interacting with others, and see how he fares as time passes.
Get a Pet
Pet therapy has worked wonders for millions of people, and is a great way to help your child get out into the real world, interact with people and be more responsible. When the time is right, adopt a pet and entrust his responsibility to your kid.
Plan a Party
There’s nothing better than a super cool party to get your kid to interact with more people. A word of caution though- avoid planning something huge when he’s feeling too vulnerable and sensitive, and definitely not his birthday. Find another reason to have a little get-together for his school mates- some music, activities and good food should push things in the right direction.
When growing children are allowed to explore, they discover their hidden talents. Get him a box of paints and a few sheets, modeling clay or a journal, and see how he puts those to use. A lot of times, children feel a lot better and less anxious after their express their fears and worries through their creative streak.
This one’s a no brainer- give your kid a little breathing space and allow him to grow and understand life, his school and friends. Pressurizing him to interact with other kids will only worsen things. A little nudge in the right direction and a little patience is all you need.
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