Anxiety and Food Allergies
5 Ways to Help You and Your Child Cope
It's a Friday afternoon and your child comes running in the door after school and yells “MOM!” You find him at the door all smiles from ear to ear. He hands you an invitation to a birthday party for a boy in his school class. You immediately feel anxious. The look on his face is priceless. He is so excited to be invited to a party with all the other boys, but you are not. It has only been a month since your little boy was diagnosed with a gluten, dairy and egg allergy. You are filled with fear and sadness as you think about what to say to him. These questions rush through your head: How do I make him feel normal around everyone else when he can’t have cake and ice cream with the other kids? What if something bad happens? I want him to feel included. You give your little boy a hug and tell him that you are excited for him to go hang out with his friends. What are you going to do with all your anxiety and prevent him from getting anxious?
These questions still go through my head when one of my kids is invited to an activity or birthday party. I posted this list on my bathroom mirror after my kids all got diagnosed with the same food allergies.
1. TAKE DEEP BREATHS
Think to yourself: or Say these out loud
- I can handle anything that is thrown at you.
- I am a good mom
- I am doing the best you can
- I am STRONG
- Stay Positive
- I am ENOUGH
There are so many positive affirmations that you can tell yourself or write down and keep in front of you to help you get through the moments of anxiety, fear, anger and frustration.
2. TALK TO YOUR CHILD
Ask him how he feels and let him know that there are a lot of kids that can’t eat the same foods. After the initial diagnoses with my 7 year old. I asked her if she wanted to draw a picture about how she felt. That made her stop crying about the fact that she could not have ice cream anymore.
3. DANCE TO THE MUSIC
I have found that a way to get my kids’ minds off of what foods they can’t eat is to ask "Alexa" to play dancing music. Or if we are in the car, then we actually turn on an upbeat Avril Lavigne or Taylor Swift song. Then we sing our lungs and hearts out. I do notice that not only does this take their mind off of their anxiety or anger, but it boosts all of our moods including mine.
4. MEDITATION AND YOGA
Teach your child how to take their fear and anxiety and release it through breathing and stretching their body. This is one thing that I try and do every day for myself. My kids have gotten into it just by watching me. I play soft piano music and do breathing exercises with them from this link on Youtube.
5. REPEAT SOME AFFIRMATIONS WITH YOUR CHILD
Write down some positive phrases about your child in a colored marker. Then hang it up by their bed. Read these every night before bed or in the morning after waking up. You can find a free download here
- I am Strong
- I take care of my body by eating healthy foods
- I can learn new things
- I am creative
- I am brave
I am not, by any means, an expert in psychology or anything like that. I just want my kids to get through this life happy and healthy and to believe in themselves no matter what is thrown at them.