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How To Help Your Child Cope With Social Anxiety: Another Helpful Article by Dr. Tom Gambino

“As summer is approaching, your child may feel anxious about an upcoming summer camp or other large social gatherings.

Below are some recommendations to help you navigate these tricky situations.

✅Open a dialogue with your child and listen to what or why they are anxious.

✅Be sure to listen for any irrational thinking or irrational expectation(s) that you can clarify with them.

✅If appropriate, role play with your child the situation or interaction that is making them anxious. You can role play the adult/child in the situation and your child can practice how to solve the problem or challenge.

✅Have your child meet the adults that are running the activity beforehand.

✅Find out if your child knows any other children also attending the activity.

✅Your child may require smaller steps that lead to the eventual goal of the summer activity. Think of a logical progression your child can work on that isn’t too overwhelming. For example, if your child is anxious about sleepaway camp, have them practice sleeping at another family member’s house and steadily increase the time your child is away from you.

✅Come up with a plan on how the first day will go and what your child should expect.

✅If possible, have your child bring a “comfort object.” This is something special that reminds them of home and “helps them be brave” when they are feeling scared.

✅Make sure to be mindful of your own stress or anxiety around your child’s activity.

Anxiety can spread quickly, and we want to be a calm presence for them.”

-Tom Gambino, Psy.D.