How to help your child beat overthinking
How to help your child beat overthinking
Children don’t have to worry about finances, career, making dinners, and other daily demands like adults, but that does not mean that they do not have their own set of things to worry about in their daily lives.
Overthinking is quite common for children and teenagers, as disappointments and frustration pile up children can get stressed leading to anxiety. Though all parents want to help their children eliminate this distressing feeling, it is not quite easy. At Sherwood High, we believe that children who can manage stress and tackle everyday problems develop a sense of confidence and optimism helping them master life’s challenges in both schools and later. So how do we instill in our children the required tools to combat worry, overthinking, and anxiousness? We will be reading just that in this blog.
Many parents might feel that this topic does not concern them, worrying does not have to be something of great consequence. For example, if your little one does not want to go to school, and makes excuses endlessly every day, your simple morning routine becomes a daunting challenge. This might not feel like a genuine issue, but when you look at your child and see that their emotions are as true as there can be, you’d want to try to ease the excessive worry that has become a part of their everyday life.
So overthinking for children could be something as simple as taking a bus ride, going to school, about their grades, an upcoming test, a game, peer pressure, being teased or left out, and so on.
Why it is important to address overthinking as an important issue:
According to science, thinking too much can take a toll on the general well-being of children, and there are many ways in which this can happen.
- Disruptive sleep patterns:
Children who are over thinkers may probably face sleeping issues, this is because their body does not allow them to sleep as their mind is not at peace. Worrying constantly about things on which they have no or little control can lead to sleep disturbances, thus impairing the quality of sleep that is necessary for children.
- Interferes with their day-to-day activities:
Over analysing things generally interferes with their abilities to be efficient at whatever they are doing, be it academics, sports, co-curricular activities, problem-solving abilities et cetera, As it causes children to dwell on the problem and imagine situations that may never happen, or rethink a past situation and how it could have worked out differently rather than finding a solution, overthinking will always hinder their ability to make the right choices.
- Possibility of triggering mental illness:
If children are fixated on the past or dwell on their mistakes, problems, and shortcoming, it increases their chance of being affected by mental health problems. Overthinking can take a toll on children’s mental peace, and as they lose their peace of mind, they tend to develop further anxiety, sleep deprivation, and other mental illnesses related to overthinking.
Helping Children Conquer Overthinking:
To help our children learn to live in the present rather than overthink about the future or the past encourage these simple, healthy and practical habits.
- Attempt to find out what’s on their mind:
Take an interest to know about their day-to-day activities; like what is happening at school, with friends, in the classroom. When we listen to what happened in their day’s events and ask what they feel about what happened, if your child seems to be worried about something, you know about it. Just letting you know and sharing their feelings about what happened to them can help lighten their mood and ease their overthinking.
- Show that you understand:
When you ask them and show interest in their day’s events, it shows that you are concerned about them and that they’re important to you, which makes children feel understood, supported and valued. Do not interrupt them while they are venting out and tell them that you understand only after they have finished speaking their feelings or about a specific problem.
- Stop reassuring without listening:
When our children worry about something, we might feel that it is nothing to worry about, so we end up saying that it’s okay, and that it’s nothing to worry about. This may be true for an adult, but not to a child. Listen to your children without judgement, no matter how simple or petty their concern may seem to be.
- Help them in finding solutions:
In order to help reduce overthinking, you can teach children how to deal with challenging situations. So when you sit together and discuss problems or concerns that worry your child, offer to help them come up with a solution. This does not mean that you fix the problem for your child, you need to resist the urge to do this and instead help your child think it through and come up with feasible solutions together. It is important for kids to take an active role in problem-solving in order to learn how to tackle problems on their own now and later in life.
- List down the issues leading to overthinking:
Help your child make a list of all that they worry, fear, or over think about. This act of simply recognising and writing will sometimes make the scary, seemingly large emotion seem less intimidating for your children. This will also allow you as to which particular concerns and fears of your child do you want to work with, and tackle one by one together.
- Practising thinking strategies:
Help children convert issues that lead to overthinking into assurances by teaching them new thinking strategies. Together you can list out each worry and come up with new solutions to combat that issue. By practising this with your children until they become habitual replacements for persistent overthinking issues, you help instil a key skill for building resilience.
- Keeping things in perspective:
Without dismissing your child’s feelings as unimportant or irrelevant, point out sensitively that many problems they are facing are temporary, solvable and that there are better days and other opportunities to persevere. Helping children learn to keep problems in perspective will lessen overthinking and help build strength, foresight, optimism, and perseverance to try again.
- Share your thoughts:
Children may learn about many things that adults concern about: war, terrorism, and financial situations ,so on. For example, most children know about the ongoing pandemic, so as parents we can help them by discussing these issues, offering accurate, necessary information and correcting misconceptions they might have. Do this and also talk about what you would do to tackle the situation to keep them and yourself safe.
- Encourage healthy distraction:
Let your children pick favourite activities such as; reading a book, playing a game, riding bicycle, even timed screen activity. Whenever your child is overthinking or seems to be stressed about something, allow them to do an activity that they like, for example exercise, or play badminton. Anything that will help them combat worry with pleasure and take their minds off the thoughts and feelings brought on by the worrying situation should be encouraged.
- Lead by example:
The most powerful lesson we can teach children are the ones that are demonstrated. Children notice your response to your own worries, frustrations, stress and so on. The way you deal with the situations can go a long way in teaching your children how to deal with their own set of everyday challenges. So it is utmost important to set a good example with your reactions to problems and setbacks. By responding with optimism and confidence, you teach children that problems are temporary and bouncing back with perseverance will help your children do the same.
Keep the above listed points in mind and remember that there is a lot we can do as parents, to help our children manage their overthinking, and stop it from interfering in their lives, or developing into serious mental health concerns. It is important to remember that overthinking can change the way your children do things, and can significantly affect their personal, social, academic life. To overcome this, you need to change perspectives and make a constant effort to help them beat overthinking.