Paul and Michael of Dadsnet’s Diffability podcast spoke to Penny Lavis from Kids Inspire to get children’s anxiety help for parents. Almost everyone will recognise those feelings of unease, worry or fear from some point in their lives. And, in some people, these are symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder. This causes sufferers to feel anxious about a wide range of issues. For some, it can be debilitating.
When a child feels these emotions, it can be difficult to process. Which is why Paul and Michael contacted Penny to share her wisdom. Penny is the Assistant Clinical Director at Kids Inspire, which offers mental health and trauma recovery support for children, young people and their families.
Children’s anxiety help with Penny Lavis
Paul, Michael and Penny discussed the reasons why children might be feeling anxiety more today than ever before. With the pandemic preventing them from socialising for vast chunks of time, the cost of living crisis and hearing news of the war in Ukraine, the world has seemed particularly unsettled over the last few years.
Penny told the hosts that school closures and disruption has particularly affected those who are now in Year 8, and who missed out on the normal primary to secondary transition events.
Ways to help with children’s anxiety
Talking about ways to help children with anxiety, Penny acknowledged that NHS waiting times meant that parents often had to take the early initiative to help their children. She talked about starting off by using books such as The Panicosaurus to help kids understand and manage their emotions, as well as online resources like those offered by the NSPCC.
The next step, in Penny’s opinion, is to contact organisations such as Kids Inspire and others who are there to offer one-to-one and group support for children’s anxiety help strategies. Kids Inspire also offers parent and child sessions to help work together to understand and manage anxiety.
How parents react to children’s anxiety
Penny told Paul and Michael that parents often feel guilt when their child suffers from anxiety. Their own anxieties come to the fore. But Penny says that we need to be careful not to pass on our concerns. She suggests taking a pause and thinking sensibly about the steps you can take to find help. If you panic, that can cause greater anxiety in your child, so she recommends practising mindfulness and relaxation.
One of the biggest things parents can do for their children is to spend time with them without distractions such as phones. This way, you create an environment in which children feel comfortable confiding in you.
More children’s anxiety help
Listen to the full episode to hear more information on dealing with anxiety in children, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Diffability podcast too!