How to Comfort Anxious Children…Mind, Body and Spirit
If your child struggles with anxiety, statistics don't mean much.
There's plenty of research on how anxiety is reaching epidemic proportions and is the number one mental health challenge facing young children. Studies also show that it is more likely to occur in children with neurodevelopmental or psychiatric conditions like:
- autism spectrum disorders
- cognitive disabilities
- speech and language disorders
Furthermore, anxiety occurs more frequently in children with:
- special health care needs
- medical conditions
- trauma background
The influence this condition has on a child's brain can be significant, reducing memory and learning. This, in turn, causes a ripple effect of school failure, a loss of economic productivity and, in some cases, depression and suicide.
However, those facts don't tell the whole story, and they certainly don't tell your child's story or offer any lifeline to help. For guidance and support, look instead to ComfortingAnxiousChildren.com, a new online resource to help you help your little one.
Anxiety Disorders in Children Affect Entire Family
No clinical study can measure the way chronic fear and anxiety steals your child's peace, sleep, mental and physical health, learning and friendships.
But you can measure it in your child's tears, sleepless nights, nightmares, restlessness, irritability, sadness, stomachaches, nausea, shaking hands or legs, tingly extremities, sweaty palms or feet, racing heart, rapid breathing, tense and achy muscles, shortness of breath and dizziness.
You can also measure your child's anxiety in the challenging times which overwhelm his or her ability to cope. Remember the time when you couldn't get your child on the bus or in the car to go to school? Or all the malls or movie theaters you left when your little one had a panic attack? Or during the nights when you watched the moon set and the sun rise, while your child was in and out of bed so many times you lost count? Of course, you recall those afternoons when the stress of the school day led to meltdowns that didn't end until your child escalated to the point of exhaustion…yours and his. Not to mention the countless birthday parties your child didn't attend because of social anxiety.
And while your heart breaks as your child struggles, you suffer too. You miss time from work to care for your child or end up having to quit working. You feel isolated as you coordinate doctors and therapy appointments, face financial strains and try to get your child's school to understand, which isn't always easy with an internalizing disability like anxiety.
Learn Innovative Anxiety Treatments at ComfortingAnxiousChildren.com
Take a deep breath. Smile. There is good news. Even though anxiety can be chronic, for most children and people, anxiety disorders are highly treatable.
While some children need medication, many others do not. In addition to mental health counseling and therapy, there's a lot you can do to help at home or in the classroom. You'll find hope, help, and inspiration at ComfortingAnxiousChildren.com.
Comforting Anxious Children offers research-based and alternative therapies to address anxiety from a holistic perspective, promoting peace for children…mind, body and spirit.
A quick Google search shows that thousands of anxiety websites fill cyberspace. Most are for adults, some are for children, but few, if any, address the needs of the whole child. Comforting Anxious Children offers:
- Cognitive strategies that engage the child's Mind: Bibliotherapy, Positive Self Talk, Visualization
- Kinesthetic ways to engage the child's Body: Relaxation Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Weighted therapies
- Sacred practices to soothe the child's Spirit: Prayer, Mindfulness, Meditation
The website was created by Janis Gioia, an Intervention Specialist with a Master's degree in Special Education, and offers guidance from experts in children's mental health, alternative therapies and religious teachers.
"One of the biggest challenges I faced as a teacher was the chronic stress and anxiety my students struggled with on a daily basis. It negatively influenced my ability to teach and their ability to learn," said Jan. "Some children were anxious about being bullied, their parent's divorce, an upcoming test, not having a friend at lunch or recess, an illness they or a loved one had, news stories or natural disasters."
"Other children, especially those with special needs like anxiety, autism spectrum, sensory processing and attention deficit disorders, struggled with anxiety that wasn't situational, it was chronic," she continued. "For these students, a change in routine, a substitute teacher, a fire drill, recess or any number of variables could cause extreme anxiety."
To alleviate her student's fears, Jan did extensive research on anxiety and calming practices. She created a soothing, thematic learning environment where every child connected, as part of a caring classroom community.
This caring classroom was called The Wolf Pack Classroom. The unique and successful program became the basis of a book Jan wrote which won a Ben Franklin Award for Best Education Book.
"I've struggled with anxiety on a personal level, as a parent of anxious children and as a teacher of anxious students. I understand how anxious children feel," she shared. "Having that empathy made my classroom approach compassionate, creative and focused on the whole child. These same qualities guide the content on Comforting Anxious Children."
Comforting Anxious Children offers interviews with professionals in a variety of disciplines. It blends research-based strategies with creative, innovative and anecdotal approaches like therapy dogs, storytelling and teaching self-compassion.
The result: A website that offers hope and healing for the whole child. While the website's content focuses on helping children, adults will find some anxiety reducing benefits as well.
About Janis Giola:
Janis Gioia is a special education teacher who writes for organizations supporting children and adults with disabilities and mental health challenges. Get her FREE guide: Comfort Your Anxious Child Now at www.comfortinganxiouschildren.com.
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