It is certainly frightening times…things are so uncertain…there are so many unknowns.
All the mask-wearing, school and event-cancelling, and deadly virus-talking is enough to make anyone anxious.
It’s no surprise that my daughter has started pulling out her eyelashes again. She struggles with an obsessive compulsive anxiety condition called Trichotillomania. We had started to make so much progress through counseling and even tools I’ve developed, and for months, she had completely stopped hair-pulling. And now this…
Sometimes there is no tool and not enough counseling to completely halt anxious feelings or the actions that go along with it. That’s the life of an anxious child. But really, that’s just life. It’s unpredictable. It’s imperfect. And it can be very frustrating.
If you or your kids are struggling during this time, first of all, you are not alone. I’m right there with you!
But there are some tools we can use to make things a little better and ease some of our child’s anxiety (and even our own):
1. The Prayer Tool
God reminds us in Philippians 4:6-7 not to worry about anything, but instead pray about everything. We can come alongside our kids who tend to worry and remind them about the power of prayer. Pray with them. Ask God to protect your family and your loved ones and watch over our whole community and world. What a great example of putting our worry energy into prayer energy.
- A simple prayer for worry to teach kids:
- God, please take my worries away
- and watch over me and my family every day.
You can pray with your child. You can also remind them to pray on their own. You can even give them a journal/diary where they can write or draw out their worries or prayers. Set up a little time every day to pray and talk about their anxious feelings together.
Anxious kids need to get their anxious thoughts and feelings out (otherwise that anxiousness will turn to anger.) Yikes!
2. The Routine Tool
Most kids thrive on routine, but anxious kids especially need routine. Routines are predictable and make kids feel secure. And in such an unpredictable time, why not give them something they can count on. Now that we are all home together all day every day, take time to create a routine in your day together. For our family, our routine basically revolves around regularly scheduled meals. On most days, everything in between is just play time. But when we need more structure in our day, I give them a sticky note of chores. Then they need to complete their checklist before they have any TV or electronic time. And of course, any chore completion is always better with teamwork, so it’s OK to work with your kids to Team Clean their rooms with them or turn on some fun, dance music and do the house-cleaning together.
Your anxious child may complain about the chores (which is normal), but will definitely thrive on having the routine—even if it is a relatively loose one like ours.
3. The Connection Tool
Routine is definitely helpful for chores and schoolwork, but so is intentionally planning on some one-on-one time with our kids as well as time together as a whole family! The best thing we can do with our anxious children is to reassure them of our love and attention. That is certainly one way that God is making all things good in this situation. For more ideas of ways to connect as a family or with your kids individually, you can print out these 2 resources and use them as a checklist:
The more we point our kids to the Source of our peace through prayer, the more we can create some routine and normalcy in their days, and the more fun and light-hearted moments we can provide will not only build our relationship with our anxious child stronger, but will also ease their anxiety longer.
Lord, you are the Source of our Peace…even during times of fear and uncertainty. Remind us that our anxious kids feed off our own anxious thoughts and words. Be our Source of Peace. Remind us to pray about everything and be grateful for what You are doing in our families during this time.
Here’s to building better families together–