Four Worry-Taming Tips
For many parents, worrying begins the moment they find out they’re expecting their first child. Will he or she be healthy? Are there genetic abnormalities to worry about? Will the baby be born prematurely? There are so many things that can go wrong and they may be on a running loop in your mind until your child arrives in this world, which brings out a whole new set of worries.
There’s one thing that’s certain – there will never be any shortage of things you can worry about when it comes to your children. But worrying is a waste of your time and mental energy. Being cautious and mindful when making decisions is all you can really do. Allowing yourself to worry excessively just robs you of the joy of raising a child and does nothing to actually keep your child any safer than not worrying. So how do we stop this vicious cycle? Here are some tips for nipping parental worrying in the bud.
- Be mindful of when you are worrying excessively and try to talk yourself down or talk to a spouse, friend or counselor. Remember that worrying about all the potential things that can go wrong in your child’s life does not keep your child any safer than not worrying. It’s one thing to be aware of risks to your child’s health and wellbeing, but it’s another to predict every possible negative scenario and work yourself up about it. When you start to feel overly anxious, learn to recognize this and reassure yourself that worrying does not actually solve any problem. If you feel a lot of anxiety, it may be good to seek help from a counselor or therapist who is trained in techniques to reduce anxiety. You can also discuss your worries with your spouse and get reassurance and perspective.
- Assess the probability of risks you are worrying about and take everything you see in the media with a grain of salt. The media tends to over-hype and use fear mongering tactics to get ratings. While there are plenty of dangerous things in the world that you could potentially worry about, the news tends to blow things far out of proportion. Don’t allow media hype (or social media hype) to make you worry needlessly for your children. Keep things you see on the news in mind to exercise caution, but don’t live your life in fear.
- Tame your worries for your children’s sake. We often inherit worries from our parents and our upbringing. If a parent raised you to fear talking to strangers because you would be kidnapped, chances are you are inclined to pass that fear along to your children (whether you intend to or it’s merely subconscious). Parents worry because they want the best for their children, so use that to motivate you to break the cycle of fear and worrying for your children. Be very mindful of the messages you send to them and how you handle fear and anxiety. Children are very observant and pick up on your emotions even if you try to hide them.
- Practice good self-care. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet and get sufficient exercise. Taking care of yourself first allows you to be on top of your parenting game because you feel good and well-rested. When you feel bad physically, it’s hard to control your thoughts. Exercise will also release endorphins that fight anxiety. Anxiety causes a physical reaction when stress hormones are released and exercise is a natural way to combat anxiety.
Knowing your child is safe is a big deal and can help decrease parental worrying. We want you to be reassured that when your child is with us at Sparkles! they are in a safe environment. You are always welcome to call and check on your child’s progress throughout the day, or to virtually ‘drop in’ using our new iPad application. If you have questions about how we keep your children safe, contact us.