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How to Manage Parental Anxiety and Soothe Kids When They’re Unwell

Parents have admitted in a global survey that they get easily anxious when their child is unwell.

More than 2000 parents worldwide took part in the survey, which revealed many parents could manage day to day struggles, but ill children can be a cause of stress and anxiety. In fact, a sick child is the biggest concern for many parents as they are often unsure of how to manage the illness and soothe their child.

Australian respondents to the survey said they were confident in treating their child’s pain or fever, yet 71% of Australian parents feel anxious about their child having a temperature or fever.

This anxiety can impact children and the family atmosphere.

Leading child psychologist Kimberly O’Brien believes parents need to have planning and coping strategies in place so they can deal with the unexpected occurrence of their child being sick.

“Children are likely to vicariously experience stress when their parents are stressed. Even a change in facial expression or voice tone between parents may trigger stress responses in children, such as excessive crying, separation-anxiety and withdrawal,” says Dr Kimberley O’Brien.

“One of the most important things for parents is to have a plan, in case your child wakes with a temperature at three in the morning. Having tools in place to keep parents calm makes a big difference to sick children,” says Dr O’Brien.

Children’s Panadol has recognized this concern for parents and have created an interactive and customizable app which can help children be comforted and distracted enough for parents to administer Panadol or get their child a drink of water.

Buddy Bear is the latest development by Panadol, where parents can create a personalized video for their child. Buddy Bear can sing nursery rhymes and can even say the child’s name.

buddy bear

TV Host and mother Shelley Craft is a fan of the new Buddy Bear app.

“As a mother, sometimes I feel like I need to clone myself and be in two places at once – particularly when one of my kids is sick. A resource like Buddy Bear means you can distract and calm a toddler with a personalised story, giving you the chance to go and measure medicine, or even just take a moment to breathe.

“You pop in their name and photo and choose from a list of common nursery rhymes for Buddy Bear to sing, so it really is a personalised video just for your child when they need it most,” says Shelley.

The app can be a godsend to parents dealing with a sick child who is upset or requires to be distracted.

Panadol has produced other tools for parents to help them deal with the early years of parenthood including The First Five Years Book and The Bub Tracker App.
Buddy Bear is specifically for children as Panadol recognized if a sick child was able to cope with their temporary illness, parents would be less anxious which has a positive effect on both the child and parent.

Interestingly the top three feelings about parenthood most reported by Australian parents were happy (73%), responsible (67%) and joyful (58%), however 51 per cent of all parents did admit to at least one negative feeling.

“We know parental anxiety negatively impacts on children and this is amplified when they’re unwell. Parents are encouraged to develop a routine with their child for managing unexpected common illnesses. This ensures everyone knows the drill and will alleviate stress for both parent and child,” says Dr O’Brien.

To download the app, head to buddybear.com.au.

Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard is a plumber by day and stylist by night but these days she changes more nappies than washers. She is a happily married mum to three young daughters who she styles on a regular basis. Rebecca is not only an award winning plumber, she also writes an award winning blog called The Plumbette where she shares her life experiences as a plumber and mother. Rebecca also blogs at Styled by Bec believing a girl can be both practical and stylish. Links to the blogs are http://www.theplumbette.com.au and http://www.styledbybec.com.au/blog

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