Children's Mental Health Awareness Series

Presented by Children's Ministry


Week One

by Children's Ministry on September 4, 2020
Did you know that most children, up to late elementary school age, do not have the language to verbalize their anxiety? Children have their own, unique way of expressing anxiety that may not be so obvious to parents who have not witnessed it before.
With this school year bringing an unknown challenge to the mental health of kids and parents, Children's Ministry and NextGen Ministry want to highlight the natural responses to stressors in life and equip you to spot and engage those responses in an emotionally and spiritually healthy way.
If your child begins to display one or more of the following behaviors, they may be experiencing anxiety:
* Anger
* Agitation
* Restlessness
* Inattention, poor focus
* Somatic symptoms like headaches or stomachaches
* Avoidance
* Tantrums and/or meltdowns
* Difficulty separating from parent(s)
* Refusing to do usual activities
* Difficulties with transitions between activities
* Difficulty settling down for bed
* Difficulty sleeping/nightmares
* Having high expectations for performance
If you notice your child exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, be sure to pay attention to your child’s feelings and stay calm if you notice them becoming anxious. You may need to modify expectations during periods of anxiousness. As such, create and maintain a normal family routine they can depend on, but leave room for flexibility. It may help to plan for transitions if your child is attending in-person schooling or daycare by allowing extra time to get ready or preparing the evening before. As your child adjusts to their routine, recognize and praise the accomplishments, especially the small ones and refrain from disciplining their mistakes or lack of progress. There are many tangible activities that provide additional coping mechanisms your child may enjoy as well. With time, patience, and prayer your child may begin to adapt and heal from the stressors they experience.
For additional activity ideas to support children with anxiety, please read this article from Family Therapy Basics.
If you believe your child may need additional help, be sure to talk with a health care provider, such as your child’s pediatrician or a mental health specialist. Here is a list of health care specialists in the community. In addition to the health care specialists and facilities geared toward youth, the highlighted names also accept children and adolescent patients. These health care providers will be able to provide you with an evaluation and develop a plan of therapy that will best benefit your child and family. For very young children, parent and family involvement in treatment is invaluable, thus the plan may include a combination of individual child therapy and family therapy.

In a time full of many difficulties, we hope that together we will help our children know the truth. That Jesus is for them, that he wants to be their friend, and that life is full of love and value because they are known by the Lord. We are always reminded and encouraged by the truth that God knows what He is doing. He will work through these circumstances to bring about an experience beyond what we can hope or imagine for our children. You can do this! We can do this! And please remember that the Children’s Ministry staff is here to support you every step of the way.