The Best Ways to Connect & Support Your Anxious Child

Mina Minozzi, Child Emotion Specialist & Children’s Author, The Child Consultant

26th April 2023

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Anxiety is an emotion that all children experience at some point in their childhood. It can present itself for reasons we can see for example, when a child is worried about going somewhere new or nervous about trying an activity for the first time. But what about when the reasons aren’t so obvious? What do we do when we find it hard to relate to a child’s feelings because we don’t understand why they are anxious?

Here are some ways to connect with your child:

I hear you

The first step is to listen to your child. Focus on WHAT they are feeling rather than WHY they are feeling it. Having a funny tummy or feeling sick can be indicators of anxiety.  Encourage them to talk about what, if any sensations, they feel in their body. Bring attention to their breathing or awareness to their heart rate by placing their hand on their chest. Let them know that you are there to support them. When their physical symptoms of anxiety are calmed, they will be more open to sharing.

I see you

Saying what you see, and describing what you observe in the situation or in your child’s behaviour without interpreting or analysing it is a powerful tool. For example, you might say, ‘I notice that you seem to be hiding your face and folding your arms’. A good way to practice this is imaging that you are a mirror, and you are reflecting back in words what you see your child doing. This allows the child to feel seen without feeling judged or criticized.

Remember to avoid labelling anxious behaviour as ‘shy’. Labels are often limiting, discussion stoppers that may not accurately reflect your child’s true abilities or personality. Instead, by offering reflections on their actions, it allows the freedom of self-discovery and opens up a conversation.

I understand you

It is important to validate a child’s feelings and let them know that it is okay to feel anxious. Reassure them that their feelings are normal and that they are not alone. Avoid dismissing their fears or telling them to ‘just relax’ or ‘calm down’. Instead, try to connect by offering examples of when you were a child and felt nervous or anxious. It might not be the same as the situation your child is experiencing, but the feelings of worry are relatable. This helps your child feel understood and that they can come to you for support and guidance.

Final thoughts

When your child is feeling anxious remember to focus your attention on what you see and hear. Get curious about what they are experiencing and through connection, they will feel less alone with their feelings.

The most important thing is to be patient and supportive. By coming from a place of understanding you can help your child feel more comfortable and confident in managing their anxiety.

For more information and resources on supporting children with their emotions visit Mina Minozzi’s website & follow Mina Minozzi on Instagram @child_emotion_specialist or Facebook @thechildconsultant.

You can also email Mina for more information, at

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