Notes from this week’s episode:
Let them know worry is natural
It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with a worried child. They need to know this and you do too.
We all worry sometimes.
Allow time and space to hear them. Even if their concern sounds silly to you, it isn’t to them. Hear their worries then they know they have support when they need it.
We can’t fix everything, but we can be there
Once a child feels heard and that they are allowed space and time to express their feelings you can start talking about supportive and solutions. But always listen to them first.
Strategies that can help
Breathe slowly and deeply together
Most people hold their breath when stressed.
Teach your child to notice:
Are your shoulders tense and up near your ears?
Are you clenching your jaw?
Are you taking shallow breaths?
Help them take a five breath break as many times as they can throughout the day. Use things like traffic lights on the drive in to school, or opening a laptop or a book as cues to take five slow deep belly breaths.
Breathe with them. Make it fun, imagine trying to blow the leaves off a tree, or blow a cloud along.
Sit with them and offer calm physical reassurance
Time and acceptance key.
Try the five senses calming practice together
This practice helps draw attention to the present moment and environment.
Doing this with an anxious child will help them feel calmer and also feel that they are safe with you to express their anxiety and receive support.
For this calming exercise, list:
5 things you can see
4 things you can feel
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Reassure them that the anxiety will pass and that they will be okay
Help them redirect their attention away from the anxiety by engaging their attention in an activity with you.
For example: taking them for a walk, running them a warm bath, reading to them, or asking them to help you in the kitchen.