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  • Writer's pictureDragonfly Healing Room

Helping To Recognise and Help Children With Their Worries

Helping To Recognise & Help Children Deal With Worry The outside world is changing again with news of more facilities being allowed to open while others remain closed. For some this has the potential to create worry. If there had been adjustment during lockdown to a new ‘normal’ then as news is given that things are changing again this can create worries on how to re-integrate from where you had created your ‘safe space/place’. Just like us, children have their own worries and anxieties, they may differ greatly from the worries that ‘grown ups’ may experience but that doesn’t mean they are any less important. Not all children have the words or confidence to describe how they are feeling, they may show you instead using signs such as: *Becoming clingy, tearful, irritable *Changing sleeping patterns, waking at night, difficultly sleeping *Confidence levels *Change in appetite How you can help Listen – The most important thing you can do. They may be talking around one subject – usually lego in my house but then as the conversation develops gently asking questions about school, friends, family, hobbies they will be able to talk to you and the subject will change or they will use a base of that subject: i.e. I really like inventing space ships with Lego, at school I play with Adam and he is really good at creating aliens and we make stories together, I miss that we can do that now…. Be Open – Take them seriously, no matter how big or small the problem. Being open doesn’t mean you have to give all of the details but keep things appropriate you know your child and how much detail they can handle: i.e. it is good news they will be opening the shops soon and you could buy the Lego set you have been saving for. The shop will look a little different than before and we might have to wear a facemask/gloves but they are to keep everyone safe etc… Take them seriously – Focus on solutions when there’s a problem to be solved and involve your child in finding that solution, things might not seem so scary once they begin talking about them. Be patient – If your child becomes panicked or anxious, remember that this is the symptoms of their body producing high adrenaline, their brain is telling them they might be in danger. They aren’t deliberately trying to be difficult or manipulative they may simply not understand what is happening around them and just use whatever terminology or resources they have to get away from the perceived danger. Dealing with anxiety – If your child is feeling anxious and showing symptoms of being panicked then these steps will help: • Get down to their level and take deep breaths together – the oxygen calms the parasympathetic nervous system – after a few of these breaths using the out breath ask them to imagine blowing a balloon that’s getting lighter and lighter and floating into the sky • Let them know you understand • Offer to hold their hand or hug them but if they are too overwhelmed they may now want additional contact • When they are feeling calmer that is when you can talk through the worries they are having Feeling Braver Try gradually to give your child opportunities to form positive memories associated with the fear they are having. For example given a countdown clock to answer questions for schoolwork can make children freeze rather than motivate, something we did in our house was to work out what ‘time’ actually is…we play scavenger hunts where we ask for things to be found and how quickly they can be returned – we worked out that time wasn’t as scary as it sounded and in scavenger hunt it’s actually fun. AND the biggest thing for you as the ‘grown up’ to remember is – YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB whatever help and support you are able to provide for your child is more than wonderful – it’s OK to have a go and not get things right the first time – remember the wonderful saying that’s applicable to both grown ups and children – “I can’t do it yet – but I will sometime soon” XXX

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