Child
5th Aug 2020

Cast your mind back to your own childhood and you may recall feelings of nervousness before an impending maths test, your first day at a new school, or a tricky social situation.

As creatures of habit, unfamiliar circumstances can make us all feel uneasy from time to time. This is also true for our children as they explore the world around them.

When your child is feeling worried, they may experience excess nervous energy and have trouble winding down. But, by understanding the potential causes and having some handy tips to help calm their busy mind, you may feel better equipped to support your child in navigating life’s ups and downs.

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Why Might Some Children Feel Excess Nervous Tension From Time to Time?

For some children, exploring the big wide world and the array of new situations that it presents may mean they experience feelings of nervous tension and unrest. Common reasons for these feelings may be:

  • Academic pressures – such as a looming deadline or heavy workload (1)
  • Social pressures – such as bullying, disagreements with friends or peer pressure (1)
  • Changing environments – such as starting at a new school or moving to a new house (1)
  • Time pressure – such as too many extracurricular activities with limited downtime (2)

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Does Your Child Find Calming Their Busy Mind Difficult?

If your child is having difficulty calming their mind, they may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness or excess nervous energy
  • Nervous tension
  • Temporary sleeplessness or disturbed sleep

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Tips to Help Reduce Your Child’s Feelings of Nervous Tension

Regardless of the reasons why your child may be feeling tense, there are some tools that you may find useful for helping to support their healthy mood balance. You may like to incorporate these into their routine.

If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, talk to your health professional. They will be able to assess your child’s symptoms and recommend the options for appropriate support.

Slow Down and Breathe

If your child is having trouble calming their busy mind, they may not want to talk through the issues that are worrying them. But by encouraging them to take some slow, deep breaths, you may help to calm the physical effects of their busy mind.

Once they’re feeling physically calmer, they may feel ready to talk it out.

Model Positive Behaviours

Part of how children learn is through observing those around them. So, while verbally encouraging healthy coping skills is important, leading by example can also be a powerful tool for teaching them how to manage nervous tension and unrest.

When you’re feeling tense, nervous or irritable, be mindful to exhibit the kinds of coping strategies that you are trying to instil in your child.

If you have any concerns about your child or your own mental health, talk to your health professional.

Supporting Healthy Mood Balance – Talking to Your Child About Their Feelings

By encouraging your child to discuss their feelings, you may help them better identify and understand them in the future. Talking may also help to strengthen your bond and make them feel secure in talking to you about their emotions (3).

Some children may refrain from discussing their feelings as they worry that their parents will be angry at them, won’t believe them, or won’t listen (4).

Allowing them to openly discuss how they feel may help them to cope as well as let them know they are not alone with their worries (5).

Encourage them to talk about their feelings with trusted adults, including grandparents, aunts and uncles or their teacher to give them a breadth of emotional supports.

Encourage Team Sports

Sport requires our full attention and forces us to leave behind our thoughts, helping to clear busy minds, and is known to have positive health impacts for children and adults alike (2).

The social aspect of team sport is also fantastic for wellbeing and had multiple benefits for children, including helping them to maintain their healthy mood balance.

Want to learn more? Explore the benefits of kids sport here.

Additional Help

If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, talk to your health professional. For additional support or advice, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

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Have you found this information useful? If so you may enjoy the following:

How Stress Affects The Body And Tips To Help Relieve It 

References

  1. Medlineplus (n.d.). Stress in childhood. [online] Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002059.htm [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
  2. Beyond Blue. (n.d.). The mental health benefits of playing a team sport. [online] Available at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/wellbeing/the-mental-health-benefits-of-playing-a-team-sport [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
  3. (n.d.). Effective Ways Of Promoting Mental Health In Young Children. [online] Available at: https://www.playgroupnsw.org.au/ParentResources/Health/promoting-children%E2%80%99s-mental-health [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
  4. Kids Helpline. (n.d.). Talking To Parents. [online] Available at: https://kidshelpline.com.au/kids/issues/talking-your-parents [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
  5. Kids Helpline. (n.d.). Talking about feelings. [online] Available at: https://kidshelpline.com.au/kids/issues/talking-about-feelings [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].

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