Managing Children’s Anxiety

As parents you may have questions and concerns about your children in response to critical incidents that may evoke emotional trauma or reactions. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed a special website called Managing Anxiety in Times of Crisis. The following tips are taken from their website:

How Children Respond

  • Children may be feeling frightened and upset.
  • Children may question their own safety in and outside of school.

How to Help Young People

  • Provide opportunities to talk with your children and ask questions about what they have heard, seen or read.
  • Admit that you do not have all of the answers to their questions.
  • Provide answers in terms age-appropriate for you child.
  • Talk in a calm and supportive manner.
  • Permit children to discuss their fears and concerns, which may be unrelated to the recent incidents.
  • Monitor your child’s television viewing and limit it if you feel it is necessary.
  • Repeated exposure to graphic or troubling scenes can intensify anxiety.
    Reassure your child that people experience a wide range of reactions that are normal and healthy to crises.
  • Encourage your children to express their feelings to adults.
  • Think ahead and develop a concrete plan for your family in case of an emergency.
  • Forward thinking can be comforting to both children and adults.
  • Help children identify good events such as heroic actions and assistance offered by people throughout the country and the world.