The extended family can play an important role for parents or caregivers of an anxious child. These extended family members can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other close relatives. All of these extended family members can lend their support to parents or caregivers, making it easier for them to provide their child with the necessary care and attention. Here are some ways extended family members can provide this support.
Avoid Judgemental Comments
Judgement from family members will add unnecessary stress to the parents or caregivers of a child with anxiety. A child may pick up on this stress which could impact his behavior, adding more tension to an already stressful situation. By avoiding judgemental comments, extended family members can help provide a more relaxed environment for everyone involved. Instead of judgemental comments, extended family members should focus on the positive things they can say to help uplift parents or caregivers and reassure the anxious child.
Respect The Routine
Routines can be very helpful for children with anxiety. Extended family members should respect the routines that parents or caregivers have in place. For example, if an anxious child is used to eating lunch at noon, the extended family member should stick to that timeline. Continuing this schedule, will help reinforce the routine the parent or caregiver has in place and will improve the comfort level of the child. This is particularly significant if an anxious child is in a new environment or dealing with other unusual circumstances.
Unexpected visits can be stressful not only to an anxious child, but also to his parents or caregivers. Extended family members can support parents or caregivers by scheduling visits in advance. This will help the parents or caregivers prepare themselves and their child for the visit. This preparation can make a big difference for a child with anxiety. It can make them more comfortable with the change, which in turn, can make the situation less stressful for the parents or caregivers.
Be Mindful of the Child’s Diet
Some children with anxiety have particular diets. Even if it’s something as simple as avoiding sweets, the diet can help keep a child’s anxiety under control. Extended family members should become familiar with any dietary restrictions that a child may have and do their best to follow these guidelines. Planning out meals ahead of time will provide extra support by reassuring the parents or caregivers that they do not have to worry about meal prep or buying special food for the visit.
Offer To Help
Extended family members can provide additional support by asking parents or caregivers what they can do to help. Managing routines and dietary plans can cause a lot of stress for parents or caregivers. Even if they do not have a particular request, they will be grateful to know that help is available to them.
Extended family members should try to become familiar with all of the methods that parents or caregivers use to manage their child’s anxiety. This will provide the parents or caregivers with a sense of security knowing that there are other people familiar with their child’s situation. It will also provide a new level of confidence for the child because the extended family member will be able to create a more comfortable environment for him.
The support of extended family members can make a big difference for the parents or caregivers of a child with anxiety, but sometimes additional help is needed. Take our Anxiety Test to see if a child needs professional assistance.