How Your Health Affects Your Child’s Anxiety

by | Jan 3, 2023 | Family, Mental Health, Tips

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If your child struggles with anxiety, you do all you can to help them.  Teach them coping strategies, lessen their stress levels, or anything to take away what makes them sad.  But did you realize the impact your own health has on your child?  Taking care of yourself and putting the focus on your health, will have a positive impact on your child’s anxiety.

Parents always put their child’s needs before their own.  It is time to stop! Put yourself first.  It is one of the best ways to help your child.  Similar to an airplane emergency when  you need to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.  It is time to start taking care of your physical and mental health first and then help your child.

table with salad, weights and water bottle

Physical Health

One of the best coping strategies for children for stress and anxiety is to get some exercise and physical activity.  You are a role model for this.  If you take care of your own body, through proper nutrition and exercise, you show your child how they can take care of theirs.

Also, if your child is struggling with anxiety or depression, this can weigh on you, causing your stress level to increase.  Having an exercise routine in place will allow you to cope with your own stress levels, helping you to feel less tired, or overwhelmed.  You will feel confident and energized to work through your child’s emotions.

Put a plan in place to take care of yourself physically with a healthy diet and meaningful exercise.  Help your child develop their own plan or create one together!

Mental Health

Most parents don’t realize that their own stress and anxiety plays a huge role in their child’s anxiety.  You need to be honest with yourself and reflect on what your own anxiety levels may be.  Here are some questions to consider.

1.  What makes you anxious?

2.  How do show your anxiety?  

3.  Are you overly worried about events or situations?

4.  Do you get frustrated or angry when you know you shouldn’t?

5.  How do you process your emotions?  Inwardly?  Outwardly?

6.  How do you cope when you are feeling stressed or anxious?

7.  Do you notice anxiety in any other family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc?

Once you are aware of your own anxiety, then you can use your own coping strategies and share those with your child.  

woman journaling - child's anxiety

Journal About Your Anxiety

Having a daily journal gives you opportunities to learn about your own emotions, including stress and anxiety.  You can also use this as an opportunity to be mindful about how you handle these emotions.  Daily journaling is an excellent healthy habit to build.  Here are a few journal prompts you could use ever day.

  • Today I felt challenged by:
  • Today I felt supported by:
  • Something I can do to bring me more peace:
  • Today I connected with my kids by:
  • My victories today are:
  • I am grateful for:

Talk About Anxiety With Your Child

An empathetic child can tell when you are feeling stressed and anxious.  If you continue to tell them that you are OK, and there is nothing to worry about.  They learn to hide those feelings and not talk about them.

Be honest with your child and have open discussions.  It is normal to have some anxiety and stress.  The goal is to find healthy ways to cope.  Talk to your child, share with them when you are feeling anxious.  Then share how you cope, such as going for a walk to help clear your mind and make you feel less anxious.  

Your child will learn so much by watching you and talking about your emotions and their own.

Continue to take time for yourself, to build healthy habits and to talk about these habits with your child.  Together you find ways to cope with stress and anxiety.

How Your Health Affects Your Child’s Anxiety

Lisa Edwards, M.E., Parenting Coach

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