During and after facing a pandemic, many of us will deal with worry, anxiety, or fear. It’s important that, while we are fighting our own battles during this time, we also help children cope with the worries they are facing.
Use this article to better recognize worry in children, and to help kids understand that they can give their worries to God.
What Is Worry?
Worry is sometimes called anxiety or fear. It is any uncomfortable feeling of being tense, nervous, or panicky.
Worried people often have faster heart rates, fluttering in their stomachs, sweaty palms, shaky hands, dizziness, headaches, and stomachaches. Some children and teens develop nervous habits such as nail-biting, hair-twirling, knuckle-cracking, or fidgety legs.
What Do Children and Teens Worry About?
When Is Worry a Problem?
You may need to seek professional help for a worrying child or teen when:
How Can You Help Children and Teens Deal with Worry?
Listen and Use Empathy
Children’s and teens’ worries are very real to them—even if they seem trivial to adults. Before children and teens can deal with their worries, they need to feel supported and understood.
Share the Facts
Sometimes children and teens worry because they do not understand something. For example, a child may be afraid of thunder. Explaining that it is only a loud noise may lower the child’s worry.
When children and teens have questions about big issues—such as war—provide them with correct information and calmly explain what adults are doing to help.
Share the Larger Perspective
When children and teens worry about small things—such as a failed test or embarrassing themselves—tell them that many problems are temporary and solvable. Tell them that they will have other opportunities to try again. Teach children and teens to be strong and hopeful.
Talk through problems and help children and teens come up with solutions. Be sure that you do not try to solve their problems for them.
Offer Comfort and Reassurance
Sometimes when children or teens are worried, they need a hug, someone caring to talk to, or some time to do something fun with friends or a trusted adult.
Teach children and teens how to slow their heart rates and relax their bodies through deep breathing, imagining a favorite place or memory, or tensing and then relaxing the muscles in their arms, legs, neck, and shoulders.
Help Them Think in Positive Ways
Teach children and teens to be positive about their worries. They can tell themselves why the bad thing probably will not happen or why it is not a big deal if it does.
Do not cater to fear or allow children or teens to avoid the things they fear. Build their confidence and encourage them to try new things. Help guide them in giving their fears to God.
Read the Bible and Pray Together
Talk about God’s promises and pray for children and teens to let go of their worries and give them to God.
Be A Good Role Model
Set a good example with your responses to problems and setbacks. Show the children and teens in your care that you are confident and trust God to help you with your problems.
Remember that God Is Faithful
In the midst of adversity, God is faithful.
Remember that He loves you and is with you. Remind your students, children, and teens of this as well. Remind them that He sees them, hears them, and cares so deeply for them.
And finally, verbally bless your kids with this Scripture when they are facing worry. May God’s peace wash over them and lighten their souls.
The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
More Helpful Resources for Facing Worry
- God Takes Our Worries (COVID-19 Elementary Lesson)
- God Is Stronger Than My Fear (COVID-19 Lesson for Kids)
- Taking a Family Prayer Walk (Coronavirus Resource)
- A Devotion for Kids: Why Hard Times Help Us Grow
- Hard Questions and Answers from God’s Word
- 7 Ways to Help Overwhelmed Parents in this New Season
- The Church of the Brave in the Day of Fear