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22 Comments

  1. So many great ideas here! Thank you!
    One of my ten year olds still struggles with anxiety, especially around sleeping… but we are working on strategies that she can use to help herself and slowly slowly making progress!

  2. I received custody of my four grand girls about two weeks ago, ages 3, 6, 9, and 11. Each one of them has dealt with the same anxiety issues. I wasn’t sure how to handle them. Your tips are so helpful! I am going to try these tips to see what works for each girl as they are each unique in her own way. Thank you so much for this timely post!!

  3. I am glad to hear that these ideas are helping Abby. They are great suggestions that I’ll be sharing via K12’s Pinterest in hopes that they help other families as well.

  4. Our poor children. Paying for their parents mistakes…….Our job is to make them feel safe. As a generation we are failing miserably.

  5. Hi Kelly, thanks for sharing these tips. My boy shares many similar anxieties and I have to admit I really struggled with helping him manage them. I’ll be sure to try these ideas with him, your advice with homework and learning has helped so much already. I will tweet you a link to a children’s meditation CD we all listen to when things get so hectic and we need some help to calm down.

    In response to a previous commenter, I think a child can have the most stable (dare I say sterile) family environment and still have anxieties.

  6. Just as effective for people who are older! I used some of them myself to be honest.

  7. Thank you for these wonderful suggestions!

  8. I know I’m a little late to the discussion, but having struggled with anxiety issues myself, I’ve often found calming piano music to really do the trick (a favorite composer of mine is Ludovico Einauldi – his pieces are gorgeous!). Also, maybe using a safety blanket or stuffed animal each night to help her sleep could relieve some stress; when I babysit toddlers who are afraid of the dark or monsters under their bed, I tell them that their blanket is like a magic fortress and nothing can get to them while they sleep and they nod off within a couple of minutes!

  9. Great tips. Thank you!

  10. Thank you for sharing these. I cannot imagine sharing custody of my kids, but I’m sure you didn’t either. That father sounds terrible! Any parent who knows their child is suffering should be willing to give whatever they can to stop it. Thus give up co-custody if child is this affected.

    1. Couldn’t that be said about the mother, too, though?

  11. Frustrated says:

    This page is so overloaded with advertisements that it won’t load on a phone and the desktop version is even more crowded. Maybe idealist mom should cut back a little on her profit margin to make her blog actually effective.

  12. Both my brother and I went back and forth, it does not work. No matter how much both parents love their child it simply will not work and I wish parents would figure this out. Both of us wish we had just stayed with our mom during the school year and dad during breaks or when we wanted to for a weekend. My brother would become so anxious that he would have asthma attacks.. We had good parents, but they were selfish in thinking that it could work to cause so much up and down. I hope I haven’t offended you in saying this but it may be something you should both sit down and talk to her about and ask what she would like to do, don’t follow the custody agreement if she doesn’t want to switch and vice versa. Let her choose..

  13. This post is a lifesaver! Thank you so much Kelly, keep up the good work!

  14. The only thing I think would greatly improve this would be to “disconnect from social media and electronic devices.” I believe it’s a huge source of anxiety for everyone.

  15. Thank you, Kelly. It is overwhelming to watch them experience these episodes. But these are great tips to help them.

  16. Not sure where to start. My daughter and I are are going through some hard struggles with my 6 yr old grandson. He is the only child in the home. He’s been through a lot of drama and trauma. Well we have radicated that and have moved to make a fresh start. Grandson started a new school. He is in first grade. His focus isn’t there and Struggling really bad. And his sleep is a struggle too.
    I am glad I found your sight it helped me come up with some ideas. He is seeing a counselor too. Thank you and good luck on yours.

  17. Working on things says:

    This is such a helpful post. Thank you for sharing this. So many children and adults are suffering with anxiety now and what could be more motivating than wanting to help our children. These are all great suggestions, including disconnecting from social media. I have seen a huge behavioral difference with our oldest son when we disconnect. Something else to dig in to is nutritional deficiencies. I would venture to say most everyone has them, and it’s a huge problem we face now that our food chain has ventured so far away from nutrient-dense, whole food. Eliminating processed foods and refined sugar, and introducing meditation and more time outdoors can be really effective for helping to tame anxiety issues. If we as adults feel overwhelmed with “busy” family life, imagine how our children must feel. Being busy is not all it’s cracked up to be. For our family, slow and easy is better. Cutting commitments to avoid a feeling of overwhelm has been very helpful.

  18. This truly is a great article. Very helpful.

  19. Alison Davis says:

    My daughter is 15 and was diagnosed with anxiety a few years ago after suffering with ME and a few other things. It all made sense, when she was little and so excited for her birthday she would end up with a temperature half way through her party and fall asleep on a chair. She really struggled with going to sleep, still does sometimes. Changing classes at school caused issues. She often complained of a tummy ach when she was younger and her head hurts often now. Irritable and in a bad mood most of the time, snaps at me. I can tick off so many things on your checklist, I wish I’d had this list years ago, especially when she was about 9 and had the most awful tantrums. Unfortunately she doesn’t think she has anxiety, I think because she has lived with it for so long she just thinks how she feels is normal. She’s had some counselling but didn’t feel she needed it. We have another appointment with our doctor on Monday, she’s coming up to some important exams and her anxiety is greater than ever, hoping he can help. Thank you for this, do you know of any good books for a teenager with anxiety.
    When she struggled to sleep one thing that help was we would go to a happy place, her choice, she often chose a beach and I would talk about her floating on the sea, the warm breeze etc.

  20. Rachelle Watson says:

    My daughter has always been a terrible sleeper and we have always battled with bed time get ups. We have tried everything. We did the recorded voice last night and she fell asleep over an hour before the usual! Amazing. Thank you- the first really helpful article I’ve found for this so far!! Fingers crossed it wasn’t a one off. ??

  21. Cannot begin to tell you how much I needed to see your article today! My 6 year old is also going through a lot of this, and I’m an absolute mess trying to balance her anxiety with the necessity of being kind when she’s angry and controlling her words and actions… Thank you for sharing this! It’s not easy to admit that your child isn’t the happy ray of sunshine you want her to be, and it’s even harder to admit that a divorce has made things worse. Sincerely, thank you for reminding me that even the amazing blog-moms that I envy so much, have kiddos that struggle too… you really touched my heart today, and I’m so grateful to the ideas to help my girl.