3 Tips for Parents Who Want to Help Their Anxious Child

WorriedAs moms, nothing brings more pain than seeing our children suffer. when they are feeling down or hurt, we want to help. With anxiety though, things aren’t so simple.

Helping them in their time of need is the gut reaction most mothers act on.

“It’ll be OK, Tommy. Everything is just fine.”

But that’s the problem with anxiety – everything is not fine. In fact, telling an anxious child that “everything is just fine” usually makes them more anxious.

They start to wonder if something is wrong with them, or why no one seems to understand.

Mothers with anxious children know this all too well. Their kids are too scared to ride the bus, or go to school events with other kids, or even play outside for fear of getting hurt.

If you have an anxious child and aren’t sure exactly how you can help, below are 3 tips for you.

  1. Stop Dismissing Their Fears

Children are worriers, too. Dismissing their worries and fears then reassuring them with things like “everything is fine, Tommy” doesn’t actually help them at all.

Deep down they probably want to listen to you, but on the surface, their anxious mind doesn’t let them. Pretending that everything is fine won’t do much to solve your child’s anxiety issues.

Instead, bring those fears to light. Don’t simply ignore your children the next time they tell you they’re worried. Try actually talking to them about their fears. Force them to acknowledge what’s really bothering them.

By exploring those fears, you start to expose them for what they are – just feelings.

Anxiety at its core is fear, and fear feeds on itself. By dismissing their fears, you actually make their anxiety worse. That’s why exploring those fears is a much better option.

  1. Explain That Worrying Is Normal and Good

Anxiety is universal to all human beings. In fact, it’s part of what makes us human. Worrying about certain threats to existence is what has helped our ancestors survive and bring life to us.

The act of worrying simply happens to keep us (and your children) safe. Explain to them that worrying is completely normal and that it actually protects us from danger most of the time. Plus, everyone experiences it.

After you’ve explained the normalcy of anxiety, then you can begin to dissolve it by discussing your children’s fears, as mentioned in tip #1 above.

  1. Let Them Worry (In Small Doses)

Sometimes, a little bit of worry can actually do your children some good. It’s never a smart idea to completely dismiss or ignore something that your children are thinking about.

When exploring their fears isn’t a viable option for whatever reason, the next best choice may be to just let them worry. In fact, let them share all of their worries with you for 5 to 10 minutes. Listen to them openly and do not judge what’s on their mind.

Afterwards, acknowledge these worries and let them know that you empathize with how they are feeling. Sometimes an anxious child just wants to feel like they’re not alone.


Anxiety is a tricky little devil. Many adults struggle to deal with it on a daily basis, so you can only imagine the pain a child with anxiety experiences. Try the tips above if you’re at a loss and nothing seems to be working. Above all, never give up on your children and always let them know that they are loved.


  • Kelly O

    Great tips. I agree that you should never dismiss a child (or anyone’s) feelings. They have a right to feel what they are feeling. More important is teaching how to deal with those emotions.

  • Deanna

    Great tips! Anxiety is an important matter and it’s important to understand and communicate with your child. And not just your child, but really anyone you know who suffers from anxiety. It’s a real issue and people of all ages can have anxiety.

  • michele

    Telling children the truth to me is the most important tip…children intrinsically know when you are not telling them the whole truth and then that knowledge will make them even more anxious.. the fact that they cannot fully trust you…Share the unpleasant truths with them as kindly as you can but share them….

  • Jasmine

    Good relevant tips. Patience and compassion are key! If your child feels like you truly care, that will help already. 🙂

  • CJ

    As someone who suffered with and still suffers from anxiety, it is very important to talk with your kids and not dismiss their fears. They need to feel safe and secure, and if they feel you care and want to understand what’s troubling them they will open up more and talk to you.

  • Katrina Brockavich

    My boys both have anxiety. It’s a tough thing to see their little minds worry beyond what they should think about at their age. It’s tough for both parent and child.

  • Kate Sarsfield

    Talk, talk, talk to your children! I remember an old lady saying this to me years ago. I wonder what she’d think of today’s society when social interaction is sadly lacking within families and other groups. Children need to feel safe & secure in order for them to grow up well-adjusted and able to cope with all that life’s going to throw at them, the poor things!

  • Tamra Phelps

    I definitely went through a stage when I was very anxious. It was when my parents were divorcing & that definitely turns a kid’s life upside down, & creates a lot of anxiety. I agree the worst thing an adult can do is be dismissive. You need to explain that some anxiety is normal & help them learn to deal with it.

  • Rosie

    These do sound like good suggestions. Some kids just have a tendency to be anxious, as a trait. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to help them learn strategies to cope better.

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