“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

One anxious thought can repeat in the mind like a vicious broken record. Are you familiar with this phenomenon?

If you’re a parent of an anxious child, you might even hear this thought repeated out loud. What can you do to help? When nothing in your verbal toolbox seems to break the cycle of repetitive anxious thoughts, try the power of physical touch. A hug can actually activate the parasympathetic nervous system and soothe a child’s chattering mind.

But what if you are not around to give your child a hug when he or she needs it? Believe it or not, self-soothing touch can have powerful calming effects. Here are 11 techniques to teach your child:

1. Cradle your face with your hands

Anxious Child? Self-soothing touch

2. Gently pat or stroke one arm with the opposite hand

Self Soothing touch to help an anxious child

3. Rub one of your ear lobes

Self Soothing touch to help an anxious child

4. Cross your arms and squeeze (give yourself a hug)

Self Soothing touch to help an anxious child

5. Place one hand on your chest over your heart

Self Soothing touch to help an anxious child

6. Place one hand in a fist over your heart, place the other hand over your fist

Self Soothing touch to help an anxious child

7. Place one hand on your tummy

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8. Hold your own hand

Anxious Child? Try Self Soothing Touch

9. Rub the space between your thumb and index finger

Anxious child and self-soothing touch

10. Place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your tummy

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11. Place one hand on your cheek

Self soothing touch to quell anxiety

Have an anxious child? Get free animations to teach your kids stress management skills at www.gozen.com


References:

Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. New York: William Morrow.