We all have times when we feel anxious, and our children are no different. Often, though, it's hard to tell what will make them feel better, safe and secure.
Using the senses as a guide and understanding that an anxious child's sensory behavior will be exaggerated, you will be able to quickly decipher it, attend to their emotional needs and have everyone feeling better.
A tactile child, when feeling sensitive or worried, will not want to be alone. They need more cuddles and will want to be held by, or constantly touch, their loved one. Having a special teddy bear can help give Mom a bit of a rest, but still be prepared to hold, cuddle and sit with your tactile child a lot more during these times.
Pets are also great for tactile children under stress; so, too, are group sports and any activity involving family togetherness. Make a special effort to include them in your daily tasks, as tactile children love to help, and try to free yourself up to sit down and actually play a game with them.
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When auditory children are feeling anxious they will tend to express it verbally, either by complete silence or needing to talk about the same thing over and over. They will keep checking that you're listening, and it's important for them to know that you are. They will become extra-sensitive to unwanted noise, and may seem to be demanding in their effort to manage their sound environment. Allow them the ability to filter the noise by being able to turn the sound (TV, radio, etc.) off or down or by giving them an iPod to listen to their favorite tunes.
Taste and smell children tend to melt with anxiety. They will be teary, overly emotional and may seem unable to be soothed. Empathy and understanding is what they need. Help them to become more positive by talking about similar situations you had been in and how everything turned out fine. They will need lots of reassurance and will be even more attached to their special things and people. Allow them to take a "guardian angel" type of toy on their outings or to school and do your best to encourage them to eat, as their sensitivity to foods and tastes will become even more acute, making them extra fussy at mealtime.
When anxious, visual children will become more ordered and demanding. They need to control their visual world in order to understand their emotional one. The more out of control they feel, the more pedantic they will be about appearances and the order of things. Expect many clothing changes and a desire to reorder their toys, books and personal belongings.
Sitting down and spending some time drawing what may be making them anxious can be a great outlet, as well as brightly colored crafts, dress-ups and picture books and magazines.
Everybody under stress become more sensitive and less tolerant to the things that annoy them. By knowing the sense of your little anxious one, you will be able to lessen, rather than aggravate, their anxiety, simply by knowing what will make them feel better and more secure.