Anxiety in Children – How you can help manage it. Natalie Hunt Mental Health Trainer tells us more in this vlog
More and more children are struggling with anxiety than ever before and this presents a huge challenge for parents and carers – our gut reaction is often to ‘fix it’ and remove what ever is bothering them, so they can be a happy, ‘normal’ child. There is a balance we need to strike – worrying is a completely normal, human experience, but worrying too much can lead to distressing feelings and behaviours that lead to anxiety.
Whether you are looking for something to support the early signs of anxiety in your child, or are wanting to manage things whilst waiting for professional help, here are some suggestions and resources that may be of help. There is a huge amount out there on anxiety, so do give APCAM a shout if you have found anything particularly useful so we can share with our parent community! facebook.com/apcamgroup
1. ‘Ruby’s Worry’ by Tom Percival is one of many fantastic stories that help children to think about their worries and how to manage them. A reading of the story can be found on You Tube atwww.youtube.com/watch?v=NajPK4wgI8I
After watching the video, I encourage you to have a conversation with your child about the story. Here are some suggestions to guide you –
· It is important to remember that worries are NORMAL and part of life. We all worry about things; some of us worry more than others. Ask your child what their worries look like – do they look like Ruby’s or are they different?
· Some worries are based on nonsense ideas, like having monsters under the bed. But some worries are real, like worrying about going to school. As we saw with Ruby, these worries can grow. What do you think Ruby was worrying about?
· Talking really helped Ruby – Why? What helps you? Who can you talk to when you’re worried about something? Have you ever listened to a friend talk about their worries? How did you help them?
2. ‘A Huge Bag of Worries’ by Virginia Ironside – again, this is available on You Tube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QwEOSBjOt8 . At the end of the video there are suggestions for discussions to have with your child.
3. ‘What To Do When You Worry Too Much’ by Dawn Hueber – This is a brilliant, interactive book that works well for you and child to do together. There are opportunities for your child to reflect and write/draw their worries and feelings.
APPS and Websites
1. Positive Penguins APP – Suitable for children aged 4+. Helps children to understand and manage their feelings.
2. Chill Panda APP – A fun game to teach children about breathing and relaxation techniques.
3. Clear Fear APP – Created by Stem4, this is an effective app for older children and teenagers.
4. Flight/Fight/Freeze – A guide to Anxiety for children www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfSbWc3O_5M
5. Young Minds – guide for parents –youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-guide-to-support-a-z/parents-guide-to-support-anxiety/
· Create a worry box/worry monster www.amazon.co.uk/worry-monster/s?k=worry+monster) – these can be bought or made from recycled materials, such as a tissue box. Children can write their worries down and post them into the box/monster – an effective way to share and release what is bothering them.
· Worry Time – particularly effective for those who are very worried and anxious; this involves dedicating a period in the day to focus on worrying. A clear explanation of this can be found at www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/WorryZones.pdf