How To Soothe an Anxious Child After Early Childhood Assistant Training
As an early childhood assistant, your career involves ensuring the health and safety of the children you are working with. Sometimes, children can feel anxious due to separation from their guardians, new situations, or social fears. Being able to calm and soothe these children will help them comfortably integrate back into their group and feel safe and protected. Half of Ontario parents report having concerns about their child having anxiety, while one thirdhave had their child miss school because of it. This is clearly an issue that affects many children, so you may encounter it in your career.
Read on for ways you can soothe and comfort children who are experiencing anxiousness.
Deep Breathing Works Wonders in Early Childhood Assistant Careers
It’s common for children to start breathing quickly and shallowly when they are feeling anxious. Breaths start to come straight from their chest, never reaching the abdomen, where they can have a calming effect. To help an anxious child deepen their breath, you can use little games or cues that are easy for them to follow. Early childhood assistant training prepares you with communication strategies that work with children. You can use these skills when walking a child through a deep-breathing exercise.
Having a child pretend to blow out birthday candles, holding up your fingers for imaginary candles, helps them breathe deeply into their diaphragm. If the materials are available to you, have the child blow bubbles or onto a pinwheel – or you can use imaginary ones. These methods help a child focus on a longer exhale and a deeper inhale, slowing their heart rate and relaxing them.
Have Some Songs in Your Back Pocket After Early Childhood Assistant Training
Most children have songs that they enjoy or know quite well – they might be from group singing activities that their teacher has planned in the past, or classic children’s songs that they know from home.
The vagus nerve passes through the neck and thorax to the abdomen, and it is thought that stimulating it with the vibrations of singing can have a calming effect. Singing a fun song also releases endorphins and boosts a child’s mood, giving them relief from some of the unpleasant feelings they are having. Seeing you smiling and singing, having fun will cue the child that they are safe and supported.
Get an Anxious Child Moving to Help Them Focus and Ground Themselves
Movement stimulates a child’s muscles, joints and systems, grounding them in their bodies. When a child feels solid and focused in their body, feelings of fear or worry can dissipate. In early childhood assistant careers, you will likely see movement incorporated into many of the programs you assist with. This might give you a few go-to movements that you can cue an anxious child with.
For example, if their teacher leads dancing activities, you can cue a child to dance around, or if they’ve been shown how to do jumping jacks, that might be a good choice. You can use what the teacher has already provided to encourage movement in the child, taking out the extra step of instructing them on how to do it.