First thing’s first. The title is very misleading, but it got you to click on the link, didn’t it? 🙂
All parents know what grounding is. It’s what they do with their children who misbehave. Currently, my three year old is grounded from the iPad for hitting her sister. However, parents of children with anxiety may practice a different type of grounding.
Grounding techniques are used for adults and children who exhibit anxiety. Anxiety can be terrifying and make you feel like you are not in control. It is almost as if you are having an out of body experience. During an anxiety attack, you may freeze up and go into a complete panic. Not only does anxiety affect you emotionally, it can affect you physically. Your body may sweat and shake, you may have trouble breathing, your heart rate may increase, your hands and feet may tingle, and you may feel dizzy and nauseous. It is downright frightening, especially for young children. For some children, this will be the first time that they have ever experienced something like this and they may struggle to find a coping mechanism. But don’t worry. Not only can you enlist the help of a child psychologist to help them manage their anxiety, but you can also read more about panic attacks and how you can stop them here. Fortunately, there are anti-anxiety attack techniques called “grounding.” They are given that name, because they keep you “grounded.” Their purpose is to help you reorientate yourself and bring you back to reality.
Children with ADHD often feel overwhelmed at times, which can bring on strong feelings of anxiety. According to a study done at the National Resource Center on ADHD, up to 30% of children with ADHD have also been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. My own daughter with ADHD has anxiety attacks every now and then. I have tried numerous techniques to help her get through her anxiety attacks (including having her look at a calm down jar and spend time in her calm down space at home), but the following technique (what I refer to as “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blast off”) is great, because it can be used no matter where you are.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blast Off” – How To Help A Child Having An Anxiety Attack:
- I tell her to look around and find five things she can see. I have her count them using her fingers.
- I then tell her to find four things she can touch. Again, I have her count them using her fingers.
- I tell her to find three things she can hear. Again, I have her count them using her fingers.
- I tell her to find two thing she can smell. Again, I have her count them using her fingers.
- I tell her to find one thing she can taste.
- Blast Off! By the end of step 5, my daughter has “blasted off” her feelings of anxiety and is calm, cool, and collected. She is then able to talk with me about her problem and we come up with a solution together.
What are some other techniques you have used for your child or yourself to get through an anxiety attack?