Childhood should be a time when kids feel happy, safe, carefree, and fearless.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where children, even at a young age, experience incapacitating fears that take away their joy of life. Anxiety is not just being afraid of monsters under the bed. It is extreme fear and constant worries even about minor life challenges.
Anxiety can affect a child’s school performance, family life and last but not least, can cause physical symptoms. Children with anxiety can have constant aches and pains, tummy aches, headaches, poor sleep, and appetite.
If you think your child has anxiety, don’t wait for it to go away on it’s own. Most of the times, it will never resolve without help.
Here are my top 10 strategies and integrative treatment options for anxiety:
- 1. rule out physical causes of anxiety, like anemia, thyroid problems etc.
- 2. Stress management for the entire family, not just the child. Children easily pick up adults’ stress level and this changes their neurochemistry. Some stress management techniques are meditation, belly breathing, guided visualizations. Children as young as 5-6 years of age can learn how to meditate.
- 3. Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, fish, nuts, seeds, high quality meats.
- 4. Make sure kids don’t get hungry or thirsty.
- 5. Keep a routine in their daily schedule
- 6. Allow for frequent breaks, and do not over-book their calendar.
- 7. Make sure they get enough sleep
- 8. Limit screen-time!
- 9. Play outdoors at least an hour every day!
- 10. Other integrative options: Nutritional supplements (omega 3, magnesium, inositol); Aromatherapy (lavender, mandarin); Acupuncture