How Do You Explain Anxiety to a Child? A Guide for Parents


How do you explain anxiety to a child? It can be difficult for parents and caregivers of toddlers 3 to 6 years old who feel anxious. 

Anxiety is a sentiment that can affect people of any age, including kids. Comprehending the signs and symptoms of anxiousness in your kid is critical so you can assist them to manage their feelings in beneficial methods.

In this blog post, we will discuss what anxiety looks like in young children, how to talk about it with them without overwhelming them or causing more distress, coping strategies they can use when feeling overwhelmed by their anxious thoughts or emotions as well as resources available for families dealing with childhood anxiety. Read the article and find answers to the question: how do you explain anxiety to a child?

Table of Contents

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is seen as a fear of what may come, combined with unease and worry. It’s often associated with feelings of restlessness, tension, increased heart rate, and sweating. Everyone experiences anxiety differently; some may feel it in their body while others may experience it mentally.

Types of Anxiety

A range of anxiety disorders exist, e.g., GAD, PD, SAD, phobias (e.g., agoraphobia), and PTSD; each having its own unique characteristics in terms of severity for those afflicted. Each type has its own set of symptoms which vary in intensity depending on the individual experiencing them.

Symptoms Of Anxiety

Physically, trembling/shaking of extremities, accelerated respiration and heartbeat, chest tightness, nausea or abdominal discomforts, headaches, muscular tension or soreness; lightheadedness or dizziness; hot flashes, as well as chills, may all be indicators. Emotional symptoms include excessive worrying and rumination over past events or future concerns, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, and out-of-control.

Anxiety can be a perplexing notion to wrap one’s head around, yet with age-suitable elucidations and affable expressions, mums and dads can assist their youngsters in comprehending what anxiety is and how it influences them. By encouraging open communication, they can create an environment that promotes understanding and acceptance of anxiety.

How do you Explain Anxiety to a Child?

Age-Appropriate Explanations

When explaining anxiety to a young child, keep the explanation simple and focus on the physical symptoms of feeling anxious rather than psychological ones. For example, explain that when someone feels anxious their heart may beat faster or their stomach might feel funny because they are worried about something. This can aid in comprehending why their physicality is altered when anxiety arises, without delving too deeply into the realm of psychological ailments.

Using Positive Language and Examples

Use positive language when talking about anxiety with your child as this will help them view it in a more positive light instead of being scared by it. Give examples of how people manage their anxiety such as taking deep breaths or counting backward from 10 slowly which helps calm down anxious thoughts or feelings of panic. Showing your own vulnerability by sharing times you have felt anxious can also help your child feel less alone if they experience similar emotions themselves.

Encourage open communication between yourself and your child so that if they ever do start experiencing any form of anxiety then you both know where to turn for support and understanding. Make sure that you listen carefully whenever your child talks about how they are feeling without judgment; this will make them more likely to come forward if there is anything worrying them in the future. Finally, reassure them that whatever happens, you are always there for them no matter what.

By aiding kids in comprehending anxiousness at an age-suitable level, parents can give their children the capability to manage their feelings and create beneficial techniques for dealing. To support this process, the next section will discuss some effective ways to help a child cope with anxiety.

Coping Strategies for Children with Anxiety

Anxiety can be a perplexing and unpredictable phenomenon for kids to grapple with. Fortunately, parents can employ a variety of techniques to assist their children in managing anxiousness.

Deep inhalations can be a powerful way to lessen stress and uneasiness in both adults and kids. Encourage your child to take slow, deep breaths when they start feeling anxious or overwhelmed. You can also teach them relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery which involve tensing and relaxing different muscles in the body while focusing on calming images or thoughts.

Physical Activity and Exercise

Regular physical activity is an important part of managing anxiety in children as it helps release endorphins which act as natural mood boosters. Entice your child to partake in activities, such as sprinting, paddling, grooving, biking, and more; which they relish doing so that physical activity is not seen as an obligation but something to look forward to.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy used by mental health professionals for treating various mental health issues including anxiety disorders in children. It involves helping the patient identify negative thought patterns associated with their anxieties and replacing them with more positive ones through cognitive restructuring techniques such as problem-solving skills training, exposure therapy, etc. CBT has been revealed to be a successful approach in diminishing symptoms of childhood anxiety, provided it is applied frequently and overseen by an experienced therapist or psychologist.

Navigating the realm of anxiety in children can be a challenging yet rewarding journey for both parent and child, equipping them with the skills to confront their apprehensions. With the right resources and support, parents can help their children navigate this difficult emotion in a healthy way and move on to explore other topics such as professional help and support groups, books, articles, online resources, and self-care tips.

how do you explain anxiety to a child


Resources for Parents of Anxious Children

Professional help and support groups are often the first step in finding relief from anxiety. These organizations provide access to mental health professionals, as well as resources and support networks that can assist parents in managing their child’s anxiety. Moreover, various medical facilities may provide counseling services for households struggling with anxiety issues; these can be either free of charge or at a reduced cost.

Books, articles, and online resources are also available to help parents better understand their child’s condition and how best to manage it. Popular books such as “The Anxiety Workbook for Kids: Helping Young People Take Charge of Worry, Panic & Fear” by Lisa Schab provide practical strategies for teaching children coping skills and self-regulation techniques that can reduce stress levels. Online forums like Child Mind Institute offer advice from experts on topics related to parenting anxious kids while providing an opportunity for parents to connect with other families facing similar challenges.

Finally, self-care tips for parents should not be overlooked when addressing a child’s anxiety disorder. Devoting a few moments every day to leisurely pursuits or fun activities that bring you joy can be of great benefit in sustaining your serenity during those trying times with your child. Additionally, regular exercise has been proven effective at reducing stress levels while improving overall physical health which will benefit both parent and child alike over time.


Now that we’ve reached the end of this article, let’s now answer our question: how do you explain anxiety to a child? It is important to remember that when it comes to explaining anxiety to a child, the most important thing is patience and understanding. Anxiety can be difficult for children to understand and process, so it’s essential that parents take the time to explain it in an age-appropriate way.

There are many resources available for parents of anxious kids which can help provide answers to the question: how do you explain anxiety to a child? Amidst a backdrop of compassion, empathy, and support from family and companions, children who feel anxious can gain valuable techniques to productively handle their emotions.

Parents can take action to help their children in managing and understanding anxiety. Start by talking openly about emotions, helping your child identify what they are feeling when anxious. Encourage them to express themselves in a healthy way such as through art or physical activity.

Additionally, provide comfort and reassurance that you will be there for them no matter what the situation is. Finally, seek out professional help if needed so your little one can learn how to better cope with stressors in life. Together we can make sure our kids have the tools necessary for success!


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