Much of the anxiety that children experience is normal, like when starting a new school or separating from their parents. The problem occurs when the anxiety becomes too intense, too prolonged, and gets in the way of kids being kids. Often times children with anxiety will avoid many situations that make them feel uncomfortable, and this is instinctive. However, if children are allowed to avoid many experiences, they may not be able to practice developmentally appropriate skills. These are just some of the psycho-educational and foundational skills that we provide families. Our psychologists utilize mindfulness-based interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and play therapy help children with anxiety feel more confident at facing their fears.
Anxiety generally appears in three main ways:
- Body: stomach aches, muscle tension, headaches, trouble catching breath
- Thoughts: easily sad, overly emotional, often worried, negative, irritable
- Behaviors: school refusal, tantrums, trouble falling asleep, being reactive, avoidance of situations
Ways in which you can support your child in times of stress include:
- Acknowledging that the fears or worries are real to the child and that you can help them through it
- Maintaining a regular routine (e.g., homework time, mealtime, bedtime)
- Advocate for real problems at school (e.g., bullying, a learning disability) that may be impacting your child
- Discover natural rewards. For example, for shy children, encourage them to ask for their own frozen yogurt to create a natural reward situation.
Techniques for reducing symptoms of anxiety:
- Breathing exercises. Multiple times per day practice this: Count to 4 for breathing in, count to 4 while holding breath, count to 4 while breathing out.
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Coping cards with written ideas for how to calm down during experiences
- Brainstorm and rank the situations that cause anxiety. Reward the child for overcoming each experience.
We support families with therapy and counseling in the following San Diego County zip codes and more: 92008, 92009, 92010, 92011, 92023, 92024, 92078, 92081, 92082, 92084, 92085, 92054, 92056, 92083, 92013, 92018, 92055, 92007, 92128, 92069, 92078, 92079, 92096, 92075
Our families travel to receive child therapy for anxiety from all around San Diego, including Carlsbad, San Marcos, Escondido, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, San Diego, Oceanside, Vista, Poway, Temecula and Rancho Bernardo, and San Elijo Hills.