How to stop your child worrying
Many children worry, a lot.
Kids lack experience and are rarely in control of what happens in their life. Often we do not explain clearly to kids what is going to happen and why. That’s bound to make someone anxious.
Children also have big imaginations and that can make the world seem a scary place. Sometimes worries are specific and understandable e.g what will my teacher be like? what if she’s really strict like my last teacher? Sometimes they appear unfounded e.g if I leave mum and go to bed she might not be there in the morning.
All types of worries, however unfounded can feel very real and can impact a child’s well-being if they get too big or too many.
So how can we help?
Worry time is a really useful tool. I have been reading about it in the fabulous book What to Do When You Worry Too Much
It’s a very simple but powerful technique.
Rather than feeding worries with lots of attention (even trying to convince your child they are unfounded worries is attention) having worry time gives worries a slot in the day, rather than them taking over all of every day.
Worry time is a specific time (usually about 15 minutes a day) when worries can be aired and shared and you listen to your child express all their concerns. This time should be uninterrupted and set each day so the child knows exactly when they will be heard and helped.
If worries pop into children’ s minds at other times they are to visualise popping them in a worry box and locking them away until worry time. If they are not focussed on throughout the day the impact of the anxieties should diminish greatly
Adults you need to be firm about only answering worry questions at worry time. This will be hard for the anxious child at first but it is important to be resolute. Gently reassure your kids if they badger you that you will look at their worry with them at worry time and remind them when that is. Make sure you stick to the agreement and do make sure this special time DEFINATELY happens so kids trust they will be heard.
Worry time will allow anxiety to be contained and life to be full of many other things and your child will find most of their worries disappear if not given much attention.
I’d highly recommend getting a copy of this book if your child is anxious, it is an excellent resource with a lot of useful tools.
I do hope his helps.