5 Tips for Combating Anxiety Empathetically and Effectively

5 Tips for Combating Anxiety Empathetically and Effectively

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s been a challenging two years for many families, and there has been an increase in anxiety and mental health disorders in children and adults as they navigate an entirely unknown way of life. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 5 Canadians experienced a mental health disorder or anxiety – this has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

As someone who has experienced anxiety for most of her life, I recognize the importance of offering my children support and skills to help them cope with mental health. 

Here are five tips to help your children combat anxiety both empathetically and effectively. 

1. Validate their feelings.

Listen to your children’s feelings and show confidence in their ability to manage an anxiety-inducing situation. I just took an online course with Sonderly and learned how to actively listen and express positive expectations. This can be as simple as saying, “I hear how this new teacher is a worry for you, but I bet you’ll be surprised and will really like your new class!”

2. Stick to a routine and structure in their day-to-day life.

For many people with anxiety and autism spectrum disorder, a change in routine can trigger a whole new set of worries. Build a calendar so your children know what to expect each day. If there is an anticipated change in their routine, try to not draw a lot of attention to it in advance as it will give them less time to worry. 

3. Try practicing coping skills together.

A big part of your child feeling comfortable with coping with their anxiety is seeing it in practice. There are courses available that share healthy ways to manage and navigate your own anxiety and offer a safe place for your children to explore what makes them feel best. Healthy coping skills I’ve learned include:

  • Using all 5 senses as a grounding technique. Acknowledge 5 things you see around you, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. 
  • Offer physical reassurance. This can be a hug or even just holding their hand – whatever your child prefers.
  • Practice breathing techniques together, vocalizing that you are breathing in a calm breath and breathing out any worries.
  • Encourage an outlet that helps them feel better, this can be writing in a journal, drawing, singing, or anything that feels calming and safe to them.

4. Lean into online support resources.

Navigating anxiety can be challenging and feel very isolating as a parent. Online education tools can help parents feel comfortable and prepared to support their children. Programs like Sonderly provide valuable information through bitesize, easy-to-understand modules to help parents better understand what their child may be experiencing. I especially love that as a parent with accessible needs, Sonderly has created programs that use captions and audio making it accessible on all devices for neurodiverse needs and is easy to navigate.

5. Be supportive, but not accommodating.

As parents, we naturally want to keep our children safe and away from worries, however, with children who experience anxiety, this can actually cause more harm. If children aren’t given the opportunity to face their anxieties head-on, they won’t be able to practice the skills to combat them. 

Instead of avoiding anxiety-inducing situations, name the emotions with your children, “That sounds like the anxiety monster speaking, is he/she making you feel scared? Anxious? Sad?” and remind them of the skills that might work best to manage their anxiety in that situation.

By Tara Jensen, A member of Sonderly’s Parent and Community Panel and British Columbia Mom




Rainy day activity – yummy, scented playdough!

6 Reasons Your Child Might Need Physiotherapy That Is Commonly Missed

BC Parent NewsMagazine Logo | www.bcparent.ca | BC Parent Logo

A quest for sleep – my sleep training diaries


5 Great Tips to Help Teach Babies and Toddlers to Talk with Books

Money Talks: The Beginner’s Guide To Investing For Kids

Happy Child

Want a Happy Child? Here are 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Life

Join our weekly newsletter

Related Posts

Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, and other diet restrictions during the holidays

The holidays are known as a time to indulge. But what if you or a family member need to follow a specific diet for health reasons? What do you do to still share in the holiday treats without breaking your recommended diet restrictions?
Here are a few healthy alternatives to fill the sweet-tooth craving while still allowing you to keep on track with your restrictions.

5 Useful Tips for Reducing Eye Strain in Children This Winter

With 80 percent of children’s learning gained through their eyes, school-aged students are starting to notice the effects of digital eye strain from a younger age. To help your child see their best this year, here are some tips and techniques parents can do to help reduce digital eye strain for their children. 

How can you protect your children during heat waves?

Year over year, we are seeing extreme heat events become more common and severe in...

Do you love yourself enough?

Three-time award-winning author Shantelle Bisson was born and raised in Toronto and splits her time...

Scroll to Top

Connect with us

Signup today for the latest parenting tips, contest alerts and local deals.