Rethinking Happy Mom, Happy Child

For years, there has been a common saying told to mothers everywhere. Whenever a mom (for some reason, dad is never mentioned) is trying to decide whether or not to do something that impacts her children, inevitably someone will say, “Happy mom, happy child”. Is that necessarily always true? Is it really what is in the best interest of our children?

Not let me preface this post by saying I am not a member of the moms should be martyrs club. Even children can be selfish and may want to prevent their mom from doing something that won’t harm them in any way and will actually be good for both mother and child in the long run. It may even be exasperating because to you the choice should be a happy one for your child, too (like having a new baby).

Often, however, the saying has also been used to justify taking actions that will definitely cause pain to the child and worse yet things that are known to harm children. As Christians, we are told to consider the needs of others. There is no gospel message of putting your desires above the needs of others. God calls us to love others self-less-ly, not selfishly. What’s a mom to do?

I can’t tell you what to do in every instance where the desires of the mother and child don’t align. Even the same option. in two different families may have two different answers. What I can do, however, is share some things to consider as you encounter one of these “happy mom, happy child” type choices.

  • What does God have to say about it? The Bible is great because, while it may not list every possible situation one may encounter in life, it does contain a lot of godly principles that can apply to a lot of different life dilemmas. If all else fails, read verses on parenting, love and selfishness v. service/love, etc.
  • Pray. Not the “Please God let me have my way regardless”, but seriously asking God to give you the wisdom to make a wise choice that impacts your child spiritually in a positive way.
  • Allow your children to voice their concerns… respectfully. This is important. Your children will do better in any situation if they feel respected and heard. They also need to learn to disagree with others in a respectful, loving way. If they start being disrespectful, have them go off by themselves until they can present their case respectfully.
  • Consider their objections seriously. If they are communicating they are heartbroken over your choice, it is important to consider whether or not what you want is worth the pain it will cause them. Sometimes, you have no choice, but when you do, it is worth some extra consideration.
  • Is there a creative way that both you and your child can be happy? We tend to think there are only three options in any conflict – your way, my way and a comprise where neither one of us is happy. The truth is there may be several other creative solutions that may leave both of you satisfied.
  • Give your child permission to mourn and be empathetic during that time of mourning. If your choice is breaking your child’s heart, it is unfair to expect him or her to be excited about it – especially as excited as you are. If the loss is major in the mind of your child, he or she may have to mourn it as they might the loss of a friend or relative. Don’t try to force your child into happiness. It just causes children to be angry. Empathize with the pain your child is feeling.
  • Remember your child is still a child. Yes, you want your children to consider what is best for you, too. It’s a bit unrealistic, however, to expect young children to be “happy for mom” that you are getting a divorce, moving a long distance, switching from a homemaker to a career outside of the home or making some other choice that greatly impacts their lives. Getting angry because they are not putting your happiness first is unfair.
  • Sometimes what is in the best interest of your children is for you to sacrifice your desires for a time. Rarely is something truly a “once in a lifetime” offer. Often your desires can be deferred to a time when it will not be as disruptive to the lives of your children. I did not have our daughter until I was in my 30’s and I can promise you that most of you will have many years for second, third and even fourth acts after your children leave home. If what you want to do aligns with God’s plans for you, He may just catapult you farther and faster than if you had taken the option at a time that would not have been best for your children.
  • When there is not a better option, take the time to explain as many times as necessary why you need to ignore their desires and do what you think is best. This can actually be a good lesson for them about how God answers our prayers at times (assuming your decision is not a selfish one, but an unavoidable or truly best choice). Sometimes parents, and by extension God, say no to a request because it is ultimately in the best interest of the child. Or it may be a situation where you were not actually given a choice in the matter. Regardless, your children should be told age appropriate information to help them understand your decision making process. It may not make the choice less painful, but it does teach them how to make godly, tough choices.

“Happy mom, happy child” is not always true and we need to stop pretending it is. Handling those situations with the love and care they deserve is what is in the best interest of your children – regardless of what choice you ultimately make.

Teaching Your Children to Forgive

Have you ever noticed how often you hear someone say something along the lines of, “I don’t real have a relationship with my parents. When I was growing up, they…..”. Now I am not suggesting there are not some parents who are so toxic that they are genuinely dangerous to their children and grandchildren. Most of the time, however, the reasons given for the broken relationship(s) boil down to differences of opinion, style and other more mundane disagreements. While they may never be fully resolved, forgiveness would go a long way to healing broken families of origin.

The problem is that most of us have an extremely warped view of forgiveness – even biblical forgiveness. These mistaken ideas added to other natural barriers to forgiveness, tend to make us dig in our heels and hold onto our grievances. While talking about forgiveness as a concept involving ”other people” can be interesting, we can stay emotionally removed from the impact a lack of forgiveness can have on our own lives.

What, however, if those “other people” become your children? What if you are the person they refuse to forgive because of one or more of your parenting mistakes? Let’s get real. No parent is perfect. Even the most godly, most intentional parent errs. We just assume or hope our kids will forgive and forget. I am sure the parents of those adult children who refuse to forgive them thought the same thing. If you want your children to forgive you now and in the future, you are going to have to teach them about true, biblical forgiveness.

So what are some things you need to teach your children about forgiveness?

  • The overarching story (and many of the other stories) in the Bible is ultimately about broken relationships and forgiveness. The Fall ushered in sin and by choosing to disobey God, Adam and Eve fractured their once perfect relationship with Him. The remainder of the Bible is in reality about the Messiah coming to Earth to make it possible for mankind to repent and receive forgiveness and a restoration of that perfect relationship. Share this overarching story with your children. Teach them the other stories involving forgiveness. Share with them God’s commands about forgiveness. To be truly forgiving of others, it helps if they understand the enormity of God’s forgiveness of them.
  • Don’t accept the reluctant ”Sorry” as an apology or the even more reluctant “Fine” as forgiveness. This is probably one of the most common mistakes parents tend to make. Accepting a non-apology as an apology and non-forgiveness as forgiveness doesn’t teach your children anything about forgiveness. In fact, it encourages them to fake their way through the process rather than actually learning how to do the emotional work often needed to apologize and forgive with humility and grace.
  • Acknowledge that apologizing and forgiving can be difficult and take hard work on both sides of the equation. Sure, some things are easy to forgive and forget. The older your children get, however, the more likely they are to encounter a situation that is difficult to forgive. Or one where both parties are firmly convinced they did nothing wrong and don’t need to apologize. These situations break relationships and can cause all sorts of negative life consequences. Teaching them how to handle those situations when they are young is a great way to prepare them for the future.
  • Encourage humility in all things. A huge stumbling block to forgiveness is often pride. We would NEVER do those things that we are angry about…. except, when we hold on to our anger, it becomes bitterness and rage. We can easily become the person with whom we were initially angry. Humbly remembering that they make mistakes and sin, too – even if it is in different ways – and need forgiveness from others, can help your children be a little more empathetic when others sin towards them.
  • Forgiveness does not mean we are saying that what happened was acceptable. Forgiving a murderer does not mean that the murder was justified. It merely means we are no longer going to let our thoughts ruminate on the hurt and anger that murder caused. Will some trigger remind us of our pain from time to time? Quite possibly, but then we make the choice once again to forgive and move on with our lives.
  • Refusing to forgive means our lives will continue to be ruined by that incident. In fact, the repercussions from not forgiving can impact our lives in ways even worse than the initial incident. Did you know refusing to forgive ruins your physical and mental health and can cause fractures in other relationships? The list of the possible negative consequences from refusing to forgive is probably much longer than the list of negative consequences from the original incident. Even if it isn’t, do you really want to add more problems to the ones with which you are already dealing?
  • An effective apology mirrors repentance – stating what was done that was wrong, saying what changes will be made so it won’t happen again, asking for forgiveness and attempting to make atonement for what was hurt in the incident. “Sorry” should be sincere, but is only the beginning. Teach and enforce the rest of the steps. Atonement isn’t always possible, but should be encouraged.
  • Emphasize that forgiveness and apology are about the “heart” even more than the words and actions. Your children should work towards being truly sorry and truly forgiving – not just check off the boxes.
  • Teach your children how to redirect their thoughts when they start thinking about the negative incident. You can’t forgive something you never let yourself forget. Teaching your children how to redirect their thoughts, instead of continually ruminating on the incident, will make it easier for them to forgive.
  • Teach your children to pray for their enemies. I think God knows it’s very difficult to simultaneously be furious at someone while praying for them. By giving us the command to pray for our enemies, God is nudging us towards forgiveness.
  • Discuss the idea of “hurting people hurt people”. I don’t know if this is accurate all of the time and it certainly doesn’t excuse someone for hurting others. For those trying to forgive, however, it can remind their heart to show compassion in spite of their pain.
  • Model godly repentance and forgiveness. Apologizing to your children when you are wrong does not undermine your authority. It can actually increase their respect for you. Children need to be taught, but they also learn from observing you. If they see you forgiving others, they are more likely to do the same.

Even Christians struggle with repentance and forgiveness. Just because you may have not mastered these qualities yourself, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t teach them to your children. You might just find that teaching your kids helps you improve, too.

Top Tips for Raising Watchful Children

Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever been hiking and been so engrossed by the beauty around you that you forget to watch where you are walking? Inevitably, I end up tripping over a tree root or stepping into a huge mud puddle! If I had been more watchful, I could have easily avoided the ensuing disaster.

The Christian life can be very similar. We can get so caught up in the surroundings of our daily lives, we forget to be watchful for Satan’s traps. All of a sudden, we realize we have fallen for one of his temptations and sinned. What’s even worse is that it was a temptation we would have easily avoided had we been more aware.

Your children need you to teach them to be watchful so they can more easily avoid Satan’s temptations to sin. In fact, the imagery in 1 Peter 5:8 is perfect…. “…be watchful. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” You wouldn’t want your kids to be eaten by a lion. You would teach them how to be watchful to avoid that very problem were it even a remote possibility. Why not teach them how to be watchful for Satan and avoid his traps?

Here are some things your children need to know to be watchful.

  • Satan is real. Your children need to understand that Satan is real – not just a fairy tale or cartoon. You need to teach about Satan in age appropriate ways, but to be watchful your kids need to understand how real the potential danger to their souls is.
  • Satan has a goal in mind. Satan isn’t just toying with people because he is bored. Remember why he got kicked out of Heaven? He wanted to be God. His goal is to grab every soul away from spending eternity in Heaven that he possibly can. If he can convince your kids to sin…. he may eventually convince them to reject God entirely – another step towards his goal.
  • Satan sets traps of temptation to encourage people to sin. Satan doesn’t have to force people to sin. He knows that if he can provide just the right temptation, the person will choose to sin.
  • Satan is not really all that “smart”. If we are watchful, the vast majority of Satan’s traps are easy to spot. He uses the same basic traps over and over – usually involving the same type of lies he told Eve in the Garden of Eden. While your kids need to be watchful, when they are, they will usually find those traps are easy to spot.
  • Satan knows each person’s weak spots and times. One of your children may be more prone to sins of envy, while another is prone to sins born out of anger. One child may find it harder to resist temptation when tired, while another will be more susceptible when with friends. Your kids need to learn when they are weakest and to be especially watchful at those times.
  • Strategies to use when they notice one of Satan’s traps. Since Satan tends to use the same tricks over and over, having practiced effective strategies can make it easier for them to avoid those temptations in the moment.
  • Resiliency/problem solving skills – including repentance. Even the most watchful Christian will still fall into one of Satan’s traps from time to time and decide to sin. What happens next is critical. Teach your children to humble themselves and repent as soon as they realize they have sinned. Show them how to analyze the situation to see where they made their mistake and make changes so they are less likely to sin the next time they encounter that particular trap.

It is unlikely your church will be able to adequately prepare your children to be watchful, but you can. When you do, you will make it easier for them to avoid sinning.

A “Spooky” Family Devotional

Every Halloween children dress up in costumes and go from house to house in search of free candy. While some Christians debate the celebration or aspects of it, the idea of witchcraft, speaking to the dead and other black arts regularly make their way through circles of young people.

Your kids don’t have to be “goth” to be intrigued with the idea – or even just curious. As Houdini and one half of Penn and Teller can testify, mediums and witches often use basic tricks of magicians to make it appear as if they know things they can’t possibly know without the help of spirits or witchcraft. This devotional teaches older children and teens the techniques so they won’t be fooled by people who may try to take them down a very ungodly path.

This devotional is long, but can be divided into several sessions. Chances are your children will be curious and intrigued enough though, that they want to finish it in one sitting. (Please note citation for the information regarding the various tricks.)

Tell the story of King Saul and the Witch of Endor, being careful not to make it sound too scary. Explain that the fact that she could call up Samuel seemed to surprise even the “witch”.

Tell students that today many people have carefully watched people who pretend to talk to dead people and/or tell the future and have realized that they use tricks and not real magic.

Explain you will teach them some of the tricks people use to trick other people into believing they can tell the future and often taking their money from them to do it. The reason you are teaching them is so people claiming to tell the future or see spirits won’t trick them. Tell them it’s okay to do these tricks for fun, but not to really trick someone into believing they can do things only God can do.

Here are some of the most common tricks used by “seers”. Younger students may only be able to understand and practice one to have fun with their families, while older students may understand them all. Constantly remind students these are fun when everyone knows they are tricks, but wrong if people really believe they can tell the future. Only God knows the future. They should never use these tricks to convince people to do something or to make money.

The following information can be found at this link Please change the wording to be appropriate for your students.

The term ‘cold reading’ refers to strategies used by mentalists and by fraudulent psychics and mediums to give the impression that they can psychically discern personal information about a client.

The reading is ‘cold’ because it does not depend on any prior knowledge of the client. Instead, the ‘psychic’ combines careful observations of the client’s characteristics and behavior with a series of guesses that are based on deduction, knowledge of probabilities, and use of general (‘Barnum’) statements that are readily accepted by large numbers of people as being true of themselves.

There are several key techniques that form the basis of cold reading. These are

1. Setting the scene

The cold reader must set the scene for the client, manage client expectations, and elicit client cooperation.


It is vital that the client has full confidence in the professionalism and ability of the psychic or medium and this can be encouraged in various ways, for example:

By using professional props – e.g., tarot cards, crystal ball, pendulum, runes, or other items.

Managing expectations

Expectations must be managed by briefly explaining to the client what they may receive from the reading, for example:

“I will try to answer any questions you have about your past and future.”

Eliciting cooperation

Cold reading will only succeed if the client is cooperative and actively assists the psychic. This needs to be explained to the client at the outset. For example:

  • “You will need to help me to read the signs.”

2. Observing characteristics

The cold reader carefully observes the client. Important characteristics to note are:

  • Gender.
  • Age.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Weight, apparent health, personal hygiene and any noticeable disabilities.
  • Any scars, bruises or skin blemishes.
  • Clothing, hairstyle, jewelry and badges, body decorations.
  • Any transfers on the clothes (e.g., animal or human hair, grasses, mud, oil, or stains).
  • Voice quality (regional accent, pitch, pace and modulation).
  • Vocabulary.

3. Making deductions

From these observations, the psychic will be able to make some highly probable guesses about the client. This is sometimes referred to as the “Sherlock Holmes” technique.

For example:

  • An engagement ring will generally indicate an impending marriage.
  •  Educational level may be guessed from voice and vocabulary.
  • Wealth may be inferred from clothing and jewelry.
  • Particular interests may be guessed from T-shirts, badges, etc.
  • If the reading is done in the client’s home, much more information can be gleaned (e.g., from family photographs, bookshelves).

4. Pigeonholing and focusing

The cold reader will generally aim to pigeonhole (stereotype) the client into a particular category of person.

The most basic categories are based on gender and age (e.g., teenage female; middle-aged man; elderly woman).

More specific categories and stereotypes can also be useful (e.g., thirty-something, white, well-spoken, apparently affluent, female non-smoker with a New York accent). Consider, for example, what you probably could infer about such a woman.

Having pigeon-holed the client, the reading is then focused around areas stereotypically of concern to people in this category, and also around any specific deductions that can be made based on observations of the client.

 For example:

  •  A mid-teen female is likely to experience difficulties relating to popularity, peer pressure and boys.
  • A middle-aged, poorly dressed man, who is rather overweight and wears no wedding ring, may have low self-esteem.
  • An elderly person may have recently lost close friends or family, and may also have their own health concerns.

5. Using Barnum statements

So-called ‘Barnum statements’ are named after the American showman P.T. Barnum. Barnum statements are those that seem to relate to a particular individual but actually apply to everyone, or almost everyone. Such statements are a typical feature of horoscopes and they are used extensively in cold reading.

Research by psychologists (e.g., B.R. Forer) has shown that a person, if led to believe that the statements apply specifically to them, readily accepts such statements. Because the client easily accepts them, such statements also serve to enhance the client’s general faith in the psychic.

Examples of Barnum statements are:

  • “You have much unused potential.”
  • “You get a little anxious in new social situations.”
  • “You have been a victim of a theft or burglary in the past.”
  • “You have a strong need for approval and recognition.”

Experienced cold readers will develop their own extensive list of useful Barnum statements, which can also be tailored to particular categories of people.

6. Fishing

‘Fishing’ refers to making some very specific, seemingly improbable, statements that may or may not be true of the client.

If the statement turns out to be true, the strength of the “hit” will greatly impress the client, and the statement will be clearly remembered.

If wrong, then the psychic can simply move on to something else, and the client will very likely forget the ‘miss’. 

In general (to avoid embarrassing failures) it is best to choose fishing statements that are not too improbable but which are likely to be true of many people.

Examples of fishing statements are:

  • “The name Jane is significant in some way.”
  • “I am getting something about a car crash.”
  • “You were separated from your father during childhood.”
  • “You used to own a brown dog.”

Note that, when fishing, you should generally use statements rather than questions. (e.g., “The name Jane is significant” rather than “Is the name ‘Jane’ significant?”).

You can also go fishing using several baits in one sentence. For example: “I am hearing the name Jane, or perhaps it is Joan, or June, or John”. In this way you can maximize your odds of getting a ‘hit’.

Fishing is especially effective when cold reading with a large group of people (e.g., stage shows). Names make very useful collective bait. For example, “There is someone named George who has a message for a woman”. It is very likely that at least one woman in the audience will know a George who has died.

Experienced cold readers often learn the popular first names for both boys and girls for different decades.

7. Observing responses

Especially when fishing, you can gauge the accuracy of your statements by observing carefully how the client responds.

In particular, watch the face and hands, and also look out for any uncomfortable shuffling in the seat.

These responses can often give away how the client is feeling about what you are saying. In this way it is generally quite easy to tell if you are on the right track, or completely wrong.

If you are right, then continue along the same line; if wrong, then subtly change track.

8. Using verbal tricks

There are certain tricks and subtleties in the way that language can be used that will greatly enhance a cold reading.

For example

“Somebody here knows George”. This is a very useful trick often used by spiritualist mediums in group meetings. It is based on the ambiguity of the word “here” – it could mean either “here in the audience” or “here in the spirit world”. In this way, the odds of a hit are effectively doubled.

“I am getting something about a will”. This could mean either Will (the personal name) or an inheritance or legal document.

“The word ‘book’ is somehow relevant”. This could refer, for example, to an ordinary book (of pages), or “the Book” (Bible), or the telephone book, or a reservation for a show or flight, or a police booking, or a bookmaker (betting), or a financial account, or it could even be a surname.

By observing how the client interprets an ambiguous word, the reading can then follow up that particular meaning.

Stating questions negatively

A very commonly used verbal trick in cold reading is to ask questions in the negative form.

No matter how the client responds to these questions, the psychic can interpret the response as confirming the statement made.

For example:

  • “You’re not married are you?”
  • “You weren’t brought up in the country were you?”
  • “You’re not an only child are you?”
  • “You don’t believe in reincarnation do you?”
  • “You haven’t had a letter from your mother recently have you?”

If the client answers “No” to such questions, the reader replies with “I thought not”. If the answer is “Yes”, the reader can say “I thought so”.  The psychic therefore wins every time.

Repeating information given by the client

The cold reader should file away in memory every bit of information that the client gives during the reading.

This not only allows further deductions to be made from the information given, but the psychic can also exploit the fact that clients will often forget that they have said certain things.

This enables the cold reader to repeat back to the client, at some later point, information that the client has given, as if this information was being received psychically.

9. Reinforcing successes

Whenever the client confirms one of the psychic’s statements, this should be clearly reinforced by saying “That’s right”, or “Yes “, or “Good”, or something similar.

This will help to convince the client that the reading is succeeding.

10. Using ‘Outs’

Sometimes the psychic will say something that is contradicted by the client. When this happens, the cold reader should come up with a plausible explanation or excuse for the apparent mistake.

Magicians call such strategies for dealing with failures ‘outs’ and there are several types of ‘out’ that are useful for the cold reader.

Often, the psychic can save face by subtly blaming the client for not understanding or not agreeing with a statement  The implication is that the statement is true, but the client doesn’t realize it, and is wrong to disagree with it.

This strategy can generally be used whenever there is a possibility, however remote, that the original statement is true.

There are various ways this can be done, for example:

  • “You will understand this better later.”
  • “You should think about this later.”
  • “You should ask your grandmother – she will be able to confirm this.”
  • “No, there were definitely three brothers – you will discover this later.”

The psychic can also directly blame the client for any resistance to statements, for example:

  • “You must open your heart to these messages, my dear.”

Twist the statement

Often an incorrect statement can be subtly twisted to make it correct.

For example: “Your grandfather had two sisters.” “No. He had one.” “Yes, but there were two other girls, maybe friends or cousins who were like sisters.”

If all else fails, the cold reader can blame others for any errors made, or for any failures to come up with useful information.

For example:

  • “The messages are not very clear today.”
  • “The messages are a little mixed up tonight.”
  • “I’m getting some crossed lines tonight.”

11. Clinching the deal. At the end of the reading, the psychic should briefly summarize the key (correct) information that was given (including that which came from the client) aiming to do so in a positive way that will provide comfort to the client. This should be combined with a statement that reinforces how accurate and genuine the reading was.

For example: “So, your grandfather wants you to take away from this that he is alive in spirit and that he loves you very much. In particular he wanted to explain to you his sorrow over the will. The other information he gave about himself – working as a postman, about his sister and cousins, and about the soccer – I couldn’t have known any of this, could I? You can be certain that your grandfather has come through today and that he is still watching over your life with love.”

Preparing your children for when they are exposed to mediums and Wicca can protect them from getting fooled by it. It’s worth taking the time and effort to teach them about these tricks.

Teaching Your Kids Christian Coping Skills

Some people believe that Christians should never feel anxiety. While God does want us to place our faith in Him, anxiety begins as an emotion. Like other emotions, God created them for a purpose. A little anxiety can help build resilience and encourage us to prepare ahead of time for important presentations. Anxiety, however, was not meant to cripple our ability to try new things or fully participate in life.

Scientists have found however, that when our brains stay in a specific emotional state for too long without a break, our minds can have more and more difficulty in switching emotional states. It’s one of the many reasons it is important to teach your children some godly coping skills that will help them control their anxiety levels and even switch emotional states. Teaching these coping skills is also important because when young people don’t have healthy coping skills they often turn to more dangerous ones like alcohol and illegal drugs.

Here are a few ways to teach your children to help curb their anxiety.

  • Prayer. Teach your kids they can pray about their emotions to God. Tell them to let God know how they are feeling and ask Him to help calm them.
  • Scripture. Have your kids find verses that comfort them or remind them of ways to manage their anxiety. Philippians 4:6-8 is a great one. Have them create scripture art and place it where they will see it on a regular basis. Encourage them to memorize helpful verses and repeat them to themselves as a way to help calm themselves.
  • Controlled breathing. Anxiety makes hearts beat faster and breathing become quick and shallow. Slowing down the breathing can slow down the heart and calm the anxiety. There are various methods, but I’ve found for young children, breathing in for three counts and out for three counts is easier for them to remember and use. Tell little ones the story of Adam naming the animals or Noah and the Ark while placing a stuffed animal on their diaphragm as they lie on their back on the floor. Count as they make the toy go up and down for three counts each by taking deep breaths.
  • God’s creation. Walks on the beach or in a forest naturally soothe as they combine exercise, an opportunity to have a parent’s full attention and being in God’s creation – reminded of His presence and love. You can also bring creation indoors with natural decorative elements, art and recorded sounds.
  • Guided imagery. You can teach your children how to replace an unpleasant image or thought in their minds with a more pleasant one. You can find details online or in our book Ministering to Children of War. (There is a lot of information in the book about helping children and teens with anxiety. Much of it would be helpful to any child – even if they have not experienced war. It’s a free ebook on our website.
  • Math. Sounds silly, but asking your child to count backwards from a hundred by sixes, can calm him or her. You can also try having them recite their multiplication tables or do some practice problems in the math they are taking at school. Be prepared to bring their focus back to the math if they seem to start becoming anxious again.
  • Healthy habits. Eating healthy foods, exercising and getting 9-12 hours of sleep a night can also help curb anxiety in some. If nothing else, being physically healthy makes it easier to do the things necessary to be less anxious.

It is important to note that some children will need professional help in learning to manage their anxiety. If these coping strategies don’t seem to help, their symptoms worsen or they can’t function in their normal activities, consult your child’s doctor. For most children, the ideas above will help. It takes time, however, for them to learn these techniques and to remember to use them when anxious. Just keep coaching them until they automatically try a few without your reminders and assistance.