I remember the first time my parents allowed me to go to a sleep-away camp by myself, as well as the anxiety I developed prior to leaving.
I remember having difficulty sleeping, feeling a general uneasiness and becoming increasingly anxious that I wouldn’t be able to make the camping trip.
My dad helped me work through my anxiety and suggested some things that helped me to relax. This made all the difference and provided me with valuable coping strategies that I could use later in life.
• Tell your child when you notice that something’s bothering him or her. Be sympathetic and show you care and want to understand.
• Listen to your child and ask them to tell you what’s wrong. Listen attentively and calmly. Take your time to talk and let your child take his or her time, too.
• Comment briefly on the feelings you think your child is experiencing. Feeling understood and listened to help your child sense that he or she is supported by you during this anxious time.
• Together with your child, brainstorm some concrete things he or she can do to help alleviate the anxiety. By encouraging your child to be part of the problem-solving, you will help to teach him or her the skills necessary for facing future anxiety.