Learning to deal with worries!

Many children struggle with worries and anxiety. Fears and worries can be a developmentally appropriate reaction to situations of stress. Elementary school children frequently have worries about school performance, friendships, storms, and even death.

At times worries can be helpful and beneficial. For example, without a bit of worry, a child might not put their best effort into a test. Worry and anxiety can provide children with the information they need to make choices that help keep them safe.

In order to effectively help children process anxiety it is important to have strategies to help them cope.

· Deep Breathing-Teach children to breathe in through their nose and out the rough their mouth. It can be great to practice with bubbles. The deeper and slower the breath, the larger the bubble they can make. Plus, bubbles can bring a smile to your face!

· Journal-Getting their worries out on the paper can help children process their emotions and help you as the parents understand their feelings. Children can draw or write about their feelings.

· Create a family worry box-Create a box where family members write down their worries and “lock them away” in the box for the week. At the end of the week read the worries and focus on how your child coped with his/her worries.

· Practice talking back to worries-Practice talking to your worries and saying things like “I don’t believe you”, “Leave me alone!”, or “get out of here.” You can model this for them by doing it yourself.

· Get active or exercise!- Moving around helps children expend their energy. Practice literally shaking out your worries.

If you are interested in additional resources to work through worries and anxiety, feel free to contact Sarah Vavreck at sjvavreck@wsfcs.k12.nc.us.