3 Effective Ways to Help Children Overcome Social Anxiety

In this rapidly moving world, one of the greatest problems in developing young minds is social anxiety. Social anxiety can often prevent children from engaging in conversations, from taking appropriate risks and learning through making mistakes. A child with social anxiety can become so self-conscious that the fear of being embarrassed or letting others down can overtake their natural learning progression.

Anxious child

Here are 3 ideas on how to reduce anxiety in children:

  1. Connect with Your Child Through the PACE Model
    The PACE - Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy model will help you engage with children primarily to help them feel safe. This model allows a child to find trust in you knowing that should they make a mistake, you will be calm and understanding and helpful toward them. Allowing children to explore their curiosity through play based activities while providing a scaffold of acceptance and empathy helps children to feel heard and connected.

  2. Talk About Social Anxiety
    Do not be afraid to talk to children about anxiety. Let them know that anxiety is something very normal and it is often a feeling to help keep us safe. Ask children to describe how they feel and allow them to practice speaking, sharing or playing in a safe and accepting environment. Let them know that over time, our brains can be trained to use anxiety as a tool to help us with new experiences.

  3. Focus on the Process, Not the Goal
    Different fears in children like that of being judged negatively by others, failure and embarrassment or not being able to achieve as much as expected, contributes heavily to anxiety in children. One strategy to help children positively with an experience is to focus on the process rather than the goal. Allow them to reflect or talk about how they are feeling during the process.

These are very basic steps that you as a parent or a teacher can take to help a child overcome social anxiety. There are several social-emotional learning programs too, that help prevent anxiety in young children allowing them to live a balanced life of resilience and wellbeing.

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