Many young children suffer from anxiety. In this short video, clinician John-Pierre LaFleur offers some simple tools for managing anxiety in young children.
How to Help a Young Child With Anxiety
John-Pierre LaFleur, M.Ed., School Counselor, East Baton Rouge Parish School System
[John-Pierre] Greetings. My name is John-Pierre LaFleur and I work as a school counselor in a public high school here in Louisiana. Prior to being a school counselor, I was working as a math teacher for a couple of years. I thoroughly enjoy building significant relationships with the students, as well as their families.
So our question for today is, “How can I help my child with anxiety when he’s young and still doesn’t understand anxiety?” Great question. So what I really wanna make sure I point out is that play is the language of children, and identifying what they enjoy playing and doing it with them would be a perfect time for us to model the behavior we want our child to express when anxiety happens.
Now, I have a few examples that I wanna share with you, and these are just breathing exercises, that’s all. The first one is STAR. STAR stands for smile, take a deep breath, and relax. STAR: smile, take a deep breath, and relax. STAR It works great with young children and I really think they would get into the motion and the tune of it.
Now, the second example that I wanna share with you is simply you filling up some water, or excuse me, rinsing some water out and then letting the water come on down, all right? Very simple. As you bring your hands up, you breathe in, and as you let your hand go down, you breathe out. [demonstrating breathing exercise] This is a very, very simple exercise that young children would love, very, very eager to do just as a little game, but we’re also teaching them what they can do when they get anxious.
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To hear more from John-Pierre LaFleur on mental health and parenting children with disabilities, check out his recent webinar.