Anxiety is commonplace in today’s culture and people experience it in a lot of different ways. Anxiety can be stifling…creating fear, worry, and uncertainty. It has also been discussed by researchers and mental health professionals as something that can propel us to accomplish tasks or assist in growth. Anxiety is experienced by people of all ages, including kids and teenagers and can be difficult to mitigate in childhood.
According to the CDC, “7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.” Also, children and teens who have behavioral problems have much higher rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. With these stats in mind, what are some ways to help with or even decrease the adverse effects of anxiety for kids and teens?
The Imagine Project
That’s where The Imagine Project comes in. The Imagine Project is a non-profit organization that strives to give kids and teens the tools to overcome the anxiety and stress of everyday life through creative writing and by providing free journals. These journals are designed for:
- children from kindergarten to 2nd grade
- older kids
- adults and parents
Because they have journals for every age group, they can be incorporated in your work with families and for teachers in the classroom.
Oftentimes when we are working with issues around anxiety there may be concurrent factors to explore. The Imagine Project shares resources on stress, trauma, and therapy. To stay connected with everything The Imagine Project is doing to help kids and teens, read more on their blog page that covers these various topics.
Additional Tips for Working with Kids and Teens Around Anxiety
The Child Mind Institute gives ten pointers on what to do when children are anxious. A few tips to highlight include:
- respecting the child’s feelings of anxiety using active listening and empathy
- thinking things through and designing a plan for all the “what ifs” that could happen to help reduce uncertainty
- the goal is to find ways to live with anxiety instead of eliminating it
When considering all the ways to support kids with anxiety, it makes sense to check in with the people who spend the most time with them. MindShift surveyed parents and teachers on social media to ask them about ways they have helped kids and teens effectively handle anxiety.
Anxiety for kids and teens doesn’t have to be a barrier and stop all momentum but can be seen as an opportunity to understand and overcome.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
Child Mind Institute (2020). What to Do (and Not Do) When Children Are Anxious. Retrieved from: https://childmind.org/article/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-children-are-anxious/
Mind Shift (2019). Your Strategies for Supporting Anxious Kids At Home And At School. Retrieved from: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/54238/your-strategies-for-supporting-anxious-kids-at-home-and-at-school
This post was written by members of the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Learn more about us at https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/family-development, and connect with us on Facebook, and on Twitter. Subscribe to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.