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10 Tips to Help Your Child Play Their Way Past Anxiety

By Debra Kissen

At Light On Anxiety, we believe in empowering children to overcome anxiety in playful and engaging ways. Our upcoming activity book, The Anxiety Busting Workbook for Kids was created to provide parents with a range of creative exercises and techniques to help children conquer their fears and live their best life. In this blog post, we’ll share 10 tips inspired by the activities in our book to assist your child in playing their way past anxiety.

  1. Embrace Your Inner Guard Dog: Teach your child to recognize anxiety as their internal guard dog, always ready to protect them. By understanding this concept, children can differentiate between helpful and unhelpful worry.
  2. Choose a Fear-Busting Partner: Encourage your child to select a trusted adult as their fear-busting partner. This person will join them on their anxiety-busting adventure, offering support and encouragement along the way.
  3. Build a Brave Points Bank: Create a rewards system to motivate your child as they complete anxiety-busting activities. Design a Brave Points Bank together, where they can store their earned rewards for their hard work.
  4. Make a Brave Prize Wish List:  Sit down with your child and brainstorm a list of rewards they can earn through their Brave Points. These prizes serve as incentives for facing fears and stepping out of their comfort zone.
  5. Practice Mindfulness Techniques: Introduce mindfulness exercises into your child’s daily routine to help them stay grounded and present. Activities like mindful coloring and breathing exercises can be effective tools for managing anxiety.
  6. Transform Fearful Thoughts: Teach your child how to reframe negative thoughts and fears into more realistic assessments of risk and the likelihood of negative outcomes actually occurring.  This shift in perspective can help them approach challenges with confidence and resilience.
  7. Engage in Playful Challenges: Encourage your child to tackle fear-inducing situations through playful challenges. Whether it’s confronting a fear or trying something new, teach your child to approach uncertainty with a sense of fun and adventure.
  8. Foster a Supportive Environment: Create a safe and supportive environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their fears and worries. Offer love and compassion while gently encouraging them to face their anxieties.
  9. Celebrate Progress: Celebrate each baby step forward your child takes in facing their fears.  Acknowledge their bravery and resilience by helping your child track and exchange their Brave Points for exciting rewards and prizes that memorialize their hard-earned fear-busting accomplishments.  
  10. Model Perfectly Imperfect Living: Teach your child the importance of embracing imperfection. Help them understand that it is not only okay but necessary to make mistakes in order to learn, grow, and live a fun-filled life.

Helping your child play their way past anxiety is a journey filled with creativity, resilience, and plenty of fun. By implementing these 10 tips and engaging with the activities in our new book (Coming October 2024), The Anxiety Busting Workbook for Kids: Fun CBT Activities to Squash Your Fears and Worries, you can support your child in building essential skills for managing anxiety and embracing life with courage and confidence.

Dr. Debra Kissen is CEO of Light On Anxiety CBT Treatment Center. Dr. Kissen specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)...

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