30. “Let’s watch your thought pass by.”
Ask your children to pretend the anxious thought is a train that has stopped at the station above their head. In a few minutes, like all trains, the thought will move on to its next destination.
31. “I’m taking a deep breath.”
Model a calming strategy and encourage your child to mirror you. If your children allow you, hold them to your chest so they can feel your rhythmic breathing and regulate theirs.
32. “How can I help?”
Let your children guide the situation and tell you what calming strategy or tool they prefer in this situation.
33. “This feeling will pass.”
Often, children will feel like their anxiety is never-ending. Instead of shutting down, avoiding, or squashing the worry, remind them that relief is on the way.
34. “Let’s squeeze this stress ball together.”
When your children direct their anxiety to a stress ball, they feel emotional relief. Buy a ball, keep a handful of play dough nearby or make your own homemade stress ball by filling a balloon with flour or rice.
35. “I see Widdle is worried again. Let’s teach Widdle not to worry.”
Create a character to represent the worry, such as Widdle the Worrier. Tell your child that Widdle is worried and you need to teach him some coping skills.
36. “I know this is hard.”
Acknowledge that the situation is difficult. Your validation shows your children that you respect them.
37. “I have your smell buddy right here.”
A smell buddy, fragrance necklace or diffuser can calm anxiety, especially when you fill it with lavender, sage, chamomile, sandalwood or jasmine.
38. “Tell me about it.”
Without interrupting, listen to your children talk about what’s bothering them. Talking it out can give your children time to process their thoughts and come up with a solution that works for them.
39. “You are so brave!”
Affirm your children’s ability to handle the situation, and you empower them to succeed this time.
40. “Which calming strategy do you want to use right now?”
Because each anxious situation is different, give your children the opportunity to choose the calming strategy they want to use.
41. “We’ll get through this together.”
Supporting your children with your presence and commitment can empower them to persevere until the scary situation is over.
42. “What else do you know about (scary thing)?”
When your children face a consistent anxiety, research it when they are calm. Read books about the scary thing and learn as much as possible about it. When the anxiety surfaces again, ask your children to recall what they’ve learned. This step removes power from the scary thing and empowers your child.
43. “Let’s go to your happy place.”
Visualization is an effective tool against anxiety. When your children are calm, practice this calming strategy until they are able to use it successfully during anxious moments.
44. “What do you need from me?”
Ask your children to tell you what they need. It could be a hug, space or a solution.
45. “If you gave your feeling a color, what would it be?”
Asking another person to identify what they’re feeling in the midst of anxiety is nearly impossible. But asking your children to give how they feel with a color, gives them a chance to think about how they feel relative to something simple. Follow up by asking why their feeling is that color.
46. “Let me hold you.”
Give your children a front hug, a hug from behind, or let them sit on your lap. The physical contact provides a chance for your child to relax and feel safe.
47. “Remember when you made it through XYZ?”
Reminding your child of a past success will encourage them to persevere in this situation.