My child is always very worried

My child is always very worried

In brief if your child is always anxious and worries a lot, there are a number of things you can do to help. Let your child do a lot themselves and choose a lot for themselves.

Does your child avoid things they find exciting? Then encourage it to do these things anyway

Think together about things you can do to feel better in exciting situations. For example babyjourney, think about something else or take a quiet breath.

What to do when your child worries too much

Is your child doing something that thrills them? Then give a compliment

Provide a good atmosphere in the house and clear rules.

Sometimes cognitive behavioral therapy is needed. Your child will then practice with difficult situations.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Some children are very, very worried all the time. They worry about everything, such as school, friendships, homework, their health, their family and the future. They are unable to stop worrying themselves. As a result, they sleep poorly, they are often tired, they cannot concentrate and they are often tense and irritable. They also find it difficult to make choices and often ask their parents whether they are doing something right. If this has a negative impact on their lives and lasts longer than 6 months, we call it a generalized anxiety disorder. 

How is an anxiety disorder diagnosed in your child?

If you feel that your child is very anxious, you can make an appointment with the general practitioner, the mental health practice nurse or a psychologist. She conducts extensive research and has a number of conversations: with your child, with you as parents, with you and your child together and sometimes also with the other family members and with school.

If your child is still young, the counselor will watch your child behave or play. If your child is a bit older, the counselor will talk to your child. Older children can also fill out an anxiety questionnaire.

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A child has an anxiety disorder if the research shows that:

The fear does not match the age of the child

The fear is very intense

The fear lasts a long time

The child does not do certain things because of the fear

The fear affects the life of the child very negatively

What can I do if my child has an anxiety disorder?

If your child has an anxiety disorder, there are a few things you can do to help him / her:

  • Take your child’s anxiety seriously.
  • Talk about it. Let them know you want to help.
  • Try to stay calm even if your child is very anxious or compelling.
  • Show that you have a lot of confidence in your child, without saying so every time.
  • Think with your child about things you can do to feel better in exciting situations. For example, think about something else or take a quiet breath.
  • Help your child overcome the fear through intermediate steps. Don’t force him / her. 

For example, what can you do?

If your child is afraid of dogs, first watch pictures or videos of dogs. Then try petting a small dog. If your child does not dare to sleep alone upstairs, agree that it will be upstairs only for the first ten minutes. If your child does not dare to give a talk to the class, arrange with the school to give the talk to a few friends first. Compliment your child when they do something that thrills them.

Introducing Your Older Child to a New Sibling

Most likely, you’ve been working throughout your pregnancy to prepare your older child for the arrival of their new little sibling. You’ve talked about the baby’s development, about the responsibilities and privileges of older siblings, and about how life will change once the baby arrives. With any luck, your older child is excited about the prospect of having a tiny new playmate, but they may still experience some feelings of jealousy and insecurity. There are a lot of things parents can do to ease this transition and work toward the goal of a happy, peaceful family.

First Meeting Between Sibling(s) and the New Baby

When you introduce your older sibling to the new baby for the first time, make a big deal of how special it is to be a big brother or sister. With the older child present, tell the baby how wonderful and fun their older sibling is, and how great it will be to learn from them and play with them. If the older child thinks that the baby sees them as a hero figure, they will believe it themselves and work to live up to that image.

Bonding Siblings Through Close Interaction

Encourage (supervised) physical contact between the older sibling and the new baby. Teach your older child how to hold the baby, supporting their head, and allow them plenty of time to bond as siblings. Some researchers believe that newborns emit a pheromone from their head that makes you fall in love with them. It can work on siblings too!

Put No Pressure on the Older Sibling

Delay making big changes in the older sibling’s life. From potty training to giving away old toys, your older sibling may react especially negatively to other new things in the time shortly after the new baby arrives. Be patient and give your child some time to adjust to the new family member before asking them to be a big kid. In the meantime, make sure they get the comfort and reassurance they need, either from you or from their father.

Allowing Your Older Child to Grieve

If your older child was an only child before the new baby, expect them to experience some grieving. They’ve lost exclusive access to their parents, and it can seem traumatic at first. Reinforce that you love your older child just as much as before and that nothing can ever change that. Make sure they understand that you will always be there for them, but that you have the same commitment to the newborn. Try to empathise when your older child seems sad, and work on finding ways to make them feel better. It might be reading a special book together, playing a game, or going for a walk in the park. Either way, they’ll need your help and support to learn how to deal with these new feelings.

Exclusive Special Time with Each Child

Set aside one-on-one time to spend with each of your older siblings. Having continued, consistent time to bond with them, without being interrupted by the newborn, will help them realize that what they have lost (an exclusive relationship with you) is not as great as what they have gained (parents who make it a priority to spend quality time together).