The best strategy for anxious kids, a toolbox!
Worrying is a normal feeling that we all have. It is a natural response to stress. However when your anxiety takes over your daily thoughts and impacts your everyday life then it could be something more than just worrying.
When my oldest was 4-5 yrs old I remember her complaining a lot of stomachaches. All. the. time. We did countless numbers of tests and every test result came back normal. Finally a doctor suggested to me that she could have anxiety. At 3-5 yrs old it is difficult for a young toddler to articulate how they are feeling. Often anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms.
- Stomach pain
- Biting nails
- Picking at skin
- Sleep disturbances
Now I know that some of these "symptoms" are common for this age group, however if you have more of these symptoms on a regular basis its a good idea to chat with your doctor.
After 15 years of helping my daughter manage her anxiety I have learned a few tips and tricks.
A tool box for coping with anxiety.
A few things you need in your toolbox are feathers, bubbles, pinwheel, weighted blanket and a teddy bear. One of the best things you can teach your anxious child is how to breathe. Deep belly breaths are the best thing to slow down your racing heartbeat which will help calm your mind.
Teddy Bear: I always suggest starting with a teddy bear or their favorite stuffed animal. Have them lay down on the floor on their back. Place the teddy bear on their belly. Take a big belly breath and make the bear move up while your breathing in. As you exhale watch the bear go down. This is a perfect way for kids to learn big belly breaths.
Bubbles: Practice taking a big belly breath and slowly blowing bubbles. If you blow to hard or fast the bubbles pop, so big slow belly breaths are perfect.
Feather: Practice taking a big belly breath and try to blow the feather up in the air.
Pinwheel: Practice taking a big belly breath and slowly blow the pinwheel and watch it spin. While it is spinning talk about the colors and what else can you name with those same colors. "I see orange and blue. What else is orange and blue?"
Coloring: Print out their favorite coloring page and color. coloring is very therapeutic.
Learning breathing techniques are so incredibly helpful for kids that are feeling overwhelmed. The key is to practice them daily. Don't wait until they are already very worried. It is much harder to calm down.
My last tip to help manage anxiety is distraction. I would have to say that breathing techniques and distractions are my daughters best coping skills. Her favorite distraction tip is the 5,4,3,2,1 technique. It is very simple but has a huge impact. It serves to somewhat "snap" their mind out of what is worrying them. This is how it works.
If after going through the 5,4,3,2,1 and they are still feeling anxious repeat it but have them go a little slower. Ask them to elaborate.
These are a few of our tried and true coping skills for when anxiety gets to be overwhelming. Give them a try and let me know which is your favorite. Anxiety does not have to take over your little ones days.
I am not a doctor. This blog was created to share what I have learned as a mother to 4 kids. 2 of which suffer from generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks and major depressive disorder. This was created for informational purposes only and should not be used in exchange for medical advice.
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Schedules, kids, work, chores, school and so much more. The list goes on and on. We as moms are more busy than ever. Lucky for you I have 3 easy meals that you can add to your weekly rotation so that you aren't spending more time in the kitchen than you need to. Hey, if you love being in the kitchen then this may not be the post for you. LOL
Meal option 1
When I was growing up this meal was a staple in our house. It is cheap, it is fast and it is easy. Win Win. This recipe came from a lady that worked with my dad. Mollettes. This dinner is a fan favorite in my house and actually my 12 yr old's most requested meal. It literally takes 10 minutes to put together and maybe 10 minutes to cook.
4-6 "hoagie" rolls, baguettes, sub rolls (this is what I use), or baguetttes cut in half lengthwise.
1 can of refried beans
1 bag of shredded cheese (can be cheddar, Mexican blend, pepper jack, mozzarella)
Seasoning of your choice (we use garlic powder and season salt. Goya would work well too)
How to assemble:
Preheat oven to 350
Place sub rolls flat side up on a foil/parchment/silpat lined cookie sheet.
Spread refried beans on each roll
Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice
Top with shredded cheese (no exact measurement. We love cheese so I'd guess maybe a 1/4 cup on each roll)
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and beans are warm
That is it! We put sour cream and salsa on top of our Mollettes.
Meal Option 2
Another staple that I grew up eating and still make it to this day for me kids. This particular recipe is most frequently requested by my 17 yr old daughter.
Cheese Nip Chicken
1-2 pounds thin sliced chicken breasts (can use raw chicken tenders as well)
1 box of your favorite cheesy crackers (can be cheeze-its, cheese nips)
1 container of sour cream
3 tablespoons of butter melted
Your favorite seasonings (we use season salt and garlic powder)
How to assemble:
Pre-heat oven to 350
In a 9x13 glass baking dish lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray
Lay chicken in baking dish
Spread with sour cream
Sprinkle with seasoning
Empty cheese crackers into a gallon zip lock bag and let your kids crush the crackers
Pour crushed crackers on top of sour cream chicken
Drizzle melted butter on top of the cheese crackers
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through
Voila! We like to serve our cheese nip chicken with fresh green beans.
Meal option 3
I found this recipe from a gal I followed on instagram. I unfortunately can't for the life of me remember who it is. If I find her I will certainly update this post to give her credit.
Who doesn't love trader joes?! This is also another quick 3 ingredient meal. Literally THREE ingredients!
Trader Joes enchiladas
1-2 packages of Chicken and Cheese Taquitos
1 bottle of TJ's enchilada sauce (out of the many enchilada sauces I have tried this is hands down the best. It is not spicy and all my kids love it. It has a great flavor)
1 package of Shredded cheese
How to assemble:
Preheat oven to 350
In a 9x13 glass baking dish lightly spray with non stick cooking spray
Pour half of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish
Lay the frozen taquitos on top of enchilada sauce
Top with the remainder of the enchilada sauce
Top with cheese (we love cheese so I usually use at least half of the whole package for my family of 6)
Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and taquitos are hot.
That is literally it! We eat this meal on sport nights or when I just don't feel like cooking. All my kids love it.
That is it. Mollettes, Cheese Nip Chicken and Trader Joe’s Enchiladas. The three amigos. The meals I feed my family on the cheap. If you think your friends need some dinner information, I’d love for you to share.
|Green Smoothie/hard boiled egg||Sautéed Veggies with scrambled eggs||Sweet potato toast with avocado or bananas drizzled with real maple syrup.|
|Lunch||Lettuce, Ham, cucumbers,||Leafy green salad with heirloom tomatoes and chicken breast with a vinaigrette dressing||Cauliflower “rice” with pesto over a bed of spinach, tomatoes, and avocado|
|Dinner||Kielbasa sheet pan dinner||Chicken and asparagus stir-fry||Taco Zucchini boats (go easy on the cheese LOL)|
Add as much protein into these 3 days as possible. Up your water intake. Ideally you should drink half your body weight in ounces.
You can do this.