Friendly FYI: this site uses affiliate links. If you buy something, we might earn a small commission. Without your support, this site wouldn't be possible. Thank you! For more information, visit our Disclaimer Page.
What Do Kids Worry About?
Table of Contents
- What Do Kids Worry About?
- Why Do Kids Worry?
- Common Kid Worries
- 5 Soothing Strategies to Ease Anxiety
- Kid-Approved Products to Reduce Stress
- When to Seek Additional Support
- Fatherly Advice on Helping Anxious Kids
As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to see your child feeling anxious or worried. You wish you could wave a magic wand and make all their stress disappear. Unfortunately, worry is a normal part of childhood. The good news is there are many ways you can help your child cope with anxiety and feel more relaxed. In this post, we’ll look at some of the top worries plaguing kids today, as well as expert tips and Amazon finds to ease their minds.
Why Do Kids Worry?
Anxiety in children can stem from many sources. As a dad myself, I know how tough it is to see your child fretting. Some key reasons kids worry include:
- Big emotions: Children have big feelings but limited emotional regulation. Intense emotions like anger, sadness, or fear can become overwhelming.
- Active imagination: Kids envision vivid scenarios from monsters under the bed to tragic events. Their creativity can run wild.
- The unknown: The world is full of uncertainty. Kids worry about things that seem unfamiliar or unpredictable.
- Big changes: Major life changes like starting school or moving disrupt their sense of stability.
- High expectations: Pressure to excel in school, sports or activities creates stress.
- Environment: A tense home environment or stressful world events filters in.
The good news? As a dad, you can help your child develop coping skills to tame those worries. Let’s explore some top anxieties and ways to calm the jitters.
Common Kid Worries
Here are some worries that often preoccupy kids, from preschool to the teen years:
Preschool Worries (Ages 3-5)
- Monsters under the bed
- Loud noises like thunder, fire alarms, or barking dogs
- Getting separated from parents
- The dark
- Costumes and masks
At this young age, vivid imagination intersects with inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. Night lights, monster spray (just water in a spray bottle), and comforting bedtime routines help preschoolers face their fears. Having “worried” stuffed animals they can talk to is another great idea. For separation anxiety, try giving them a photo of family to keep or a love note in their pocket.
Big Kid Worries (Ages 6-12)
- Social dynamics with peers
- Academic performance
- Sports and extracurricular activities
- Getting hurt or sick
- Natural disasters
- Death or loss of loved ones
This is a huge developmental period covering the transition to “big kid” school. Kids have more independence and responsibility, but also insecurity about friends and schoolwork. They also gain awareness of dangers in the world.
You can alleviate social stress by roleplaying interactions or setting up playdates. Provide academic support through reviewing work, creating study schedules, and praising effort. Having a nightly “worry time” where kids can talk through concerns is great for addressing fears. Physical affection and reassurance go a long way too.
Teen Worries (Ages 13-18)
- Peer acceptance and self-image
- Dating and romantic relationships
- School performance and plans after graduation
- Global events and politics
- Personal health and safety
The teen years come with hormones, social pressures, and looming adulthood. Teens seek to forge their identity. Bolster their self-esteem with praise and quality time. Have open conversations about relationships. Help with academics by proofreading essays, providing study snacks, and chatting about careers or colleges. Share your own experiences handling uncertainty as a teen. And respect their growing independence.
While the concerns change with age, listening, empathizing, and sharing coping skills are powerful tools at any stage. Let’s look at more ways you can help.
5 Soothing Strategies to Ease Anxiety
As a fellow parent, I know how distressing it is to see your child anxious. You wish you could vanish those worries! While that’s not possible, you can come to the rescue with research-backed methods to soothe those frazzled nerves. Here are my top 5 go-to strategies:
1. Listen Actively
Being heard is incredibly comforting for kids. It validates their feelings and reassures them you “get it.” When they share a worry, stop what you’re doing and listen attentively. Maintain eye contact, ask questions, paraphrase, and resist the urge to problem-solve immediately. Let them unload without judgement first.
Empathy demonstrates you understand and care. Say things like “You seem really frightened about ___” or “I know this is hard for you.” Share times when you felt similarly worried as a child. Your empathy will help them feel less alone.
3. Problem-Solve Together
Once they’ve shared their anxiety, you can gently shift to problem-solving. Ask them to brainstorm solutions and collaborate. Help them view worries in perspective by posing questions like “What’s most likely to happen?” or “What would you tell a friend in this situation?” Work together to tackle solvable problems.
4. Use Calming Strategies
Equip your child with go-to relaxation skills to short-circuit anxiety. Deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness cards like these Affirmation Cards are great options. Model these strategies when you feel stressed too. Set a serene tone in your home with relaxing music, cozy spaces, dimmed lights, and activities like reading, crafting, or yoga.
5. Avoid Avoidance
It’s natural to want to remove stressors, but avoiding worries reinforces anxiety. Gently encourage your child to face manageable worries through exposure or practice. Scared of dogs? Slowly observe them at a distance. Worried about speaking up in class? Rehearse with you as audience. Avoidance brings short-term relief but prolongs anxiety.
With compassion, patience, and creativity you can help your child gain confidence facing their fears. But don’t hesitate to enlist a pediatrician or child therapist if anxiety persists. Your support means the world to your child in taming those worries.
Kid-Approved Products to Reduce Stress
Incorporating fun anti-anxiety activities and products into your child’s routine can make coping with worries more enjoyable. Here are some of my top picks you can order on Amazon to relax those frazzled nerves:
- Weighted blankets: The gentle pressure is super soothing and helps kids sleep better. Great for preschoolers to teens.
- Calm jars: These mesmerizing glitter jars help kids focus on slowing their breathing. Fun DIY project too.
- Fidget toys: Spinning, clicking, and bending these little gadgets provides a outlet for nervous energy.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga: This yoga YouTube channel takes kids on adventures while teaching poses. Great for active minds!
- Mindfulness coloring books: Colorful designs help kids practice mindful breathing and focus. Fun solo or together.
- Night lights & projectors: Soothing ambiance helps banish bedtime fears. I love star projections.
With a mix of empathy, routines and kid-approved tools, you can help ease your child’s worries and build their coping skills. Trust your instincts – you’ve got this!
When to Seek Additional Support
It’s normal for worries to spike during stressful times like starting school, moving, or countless other life events. But if anxiety is ongoing and interfering with your child’s functioning, it may be time to seek professional support. Signs to look out for include:
- Persistent and excessive worry about many things
- Repetitive habits to manage worries like compulsions or reassurance-seeking
- Avoiding school, activities, or social situations
- Trouble sleeping, concentrating, or appetite changes
- Headaches, stomachaches, or other physical symptoms
- Confiding they feel anxious or depressed
Seeking counseling doesn’t mean something is “wrong” with your child. A therapist can assess if a diagnosable anxiety disorder is present and work with your child on skills like CBT and mindfulness to overcome fears. Your pediatrician can also refer you to child psychologists and psychiatrists. Support groups allow kids to realize they aren’t alone.
With professional help and your love, kids can learn healthy ways to cope with life’s curveballs. If anxiety runs in your family, early intervention can really change their trajectory.
Fatherly Advice on Helping Anxious Kids
As dads, we just want our kids to feel secure. Childhood stress is inevitable, but stay patient. Don’t minimize their worries or try to fix them immediately. This delegitimizes their feelings. Listening with compassion is huge. Help put fears in perspective, but don’t belittle them. Share any stresses you juggle as a dad – it normalizes anxiety.
Work together to tackle solvable problems step-by-step. Kids feel empowered gaining life skills. Model self-care and relaxation techniques you use like exercise, nature walks or reading. Set a chill vibe at home and minimize pressure. And don’t forget to take care of yourself – your calmness reassures them.
Most importantly, let your child know you’re always on their team. Having one stable relationship is the best buffer against anxiety. Your unconditional love and support is the most powerful anti-anxiety medication around. They’re so lucky to have you in their corner.
Well, I don’t know about you guys, but writing this has helped relax me too! What other kid worries or soothing strategies would you suggest? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments to help all parents foster resilience. Wishing you and your little ones peace and laughter as you face those worries together!