How parents can help an anxious child

3) Tips to help your child – what to do when they are anxious

Parent with small child

© Crown Copyright 2013

Stay calm and look relaxed even if you are feeling anxious too. Your child’s anxiety will be worse if they know you are worried.

If you can, take the child to a quite room away from noise and distractions:

  • Speak in a gentle soothing tone.
  • Give sips of water.
  • Stay with your child until they have calmed down.

If your child is having an anxiety attack and not an asthma attack they may be breathing too quickly in fast, short, shallow breaths. If you are not sure check your child’s asthma action plan first and follow this. If you think your child is anxious sit your child down and ask them to blow out through pursed lips as if they were blowing bubbles. Try counting for a few extra seconds for each out breath and each in breath to slow them down.

Sometimes the stress of an anxiety attack can, in some children, trigger their asthma. Have your child’s inhaler close by. Follow your child’s asthma action plan.

If you have been taught relaxation techniques use them. Try to get the child to relax their shoulders. If you feel relaxation would help your child ask your asthma team or GP about relaxation for children.

To listen to an example of a wheeze see Has my child got asthma?