Anxiety in kids is more common than you’d think.
Sadly in modern times, there almost seem to be so many more things to worry about. From an environment at school that can emphasise testing, to the pitfalls that social media and texting can bring.
It can really help to be able to explain to your children how YOU are feeling, and give them to tools to discuss the anxiety they may be experiencing.
For example, we have a printable worry tree, which can really get them talking about their fears. Alternatively, perhaps you can use the quiet time before bed to alleviate their concerns by getting them into a positive bedtime routine.
These tools can really help, but sometimes our children can’t really express how they feel, and what those worries are making them think, and do.
That’s when it helps to be able to start the discussions around those worries with something as simple as a mood diary or a mood rating.
If you can get them to “rate” their worries, or even explain that YOU are feeling a little apprehensive about your day, it can start a conversation that can really help your child to “let go” of their worries for the day.
This is a simple template from the excellent book, recently published by Everlief Child Psychology.
All you need to do is click on the image above to download the template and use it with your child to help understand how they are feeling day to day. If their mood is causing problems for you, then this is a great place to start to help them to talk through their difficulties. As you can see, it can help you identify what events during the day have triggered a particular mood in your child. This is, of course, helpful for both them and you to work out what effect events at school are having on them.
You can use it alongside the Brighter Futures book for even more understanding into the emotional development of primary school children. The book covers everything from tackling it when worries are holding them back, to navigating the difficult minefield of primary school friendship groups.
The diary is even more effective if used alongside a mood scale…
Talking about worry out of context can be even more disconcerting for children. However, being able to explain to them that anxiety has a scale; and it won’t go higher than level ten – and then it’ll come down, can really help them to set their worry in context.
To take this a step further, and be able to see where they are on that scale, can make it even more easy to understand. Particularly if you then use the same scale for your own worries. So for example, mum is feeling a little bit worried today, perhaps a 5, because I have to go to London for a big meeting.
Here, we can even take this further by sharing with our children how we bring that worry under control, perhaps by preparing for the meeting, so we know what we are doing, or breathing calmly.
Anxiety in kids (and adults too) is often worse in the anticipation of something, rather than when we are actually in the situation of course!
The scale below gives you an excellent example for discussing how cross your child can get, which can then be tweaked for worry, or other emotions. Why not download it, and adapt as you need to?
We really hope that these resources, and the Brighter Futures book can help you and your child. Anxiety in kids can be such a difficult thing to tackle, and anything that helps is welcomed with open arms.
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See you soon.