Weekly Wellbeing Tip

Dear Parents,

I hope that you found the first half of the tip on supporting children’s worries and anxieties from Kasia Mullan useful last week. Here is the next part!

How to Help Children with Worry and Anxiety

Children are remarkably resilient and learn rapidly from those around them (and their environment) about things that they are willing to try, things that feel safe and things that seem scary. Their parents, carers, teachers and peers are therefore huge role models in the process. However, some children will nevertheless be more prone to anxiety than others, and it is important to notice if things feel like they are overwhelming and getting out of hand. If that is the case, the best first port of call would be to talk with your child’s GP for further advice about help that is available to your family.

Additional tips:

Name What You See, and Talk:

It is important to talk to your child when you notice signs that they might be feeling worried, and make them know that it is ok to feel this way (there is no such thing as a ‘wrong’ feeling). It is not a weakness, and it is not a lack of resilience to experience some worry and anxiety at times. Name the emotion you think you can see (you won’t always get it right), and ask about things that might have happened that day to worry them. You might not get much information, and if they don’t feel like talking you could come back to the conversation later and give it another go when they might be more relaxed.

Model Simple Coping Strategies:

It can be helpful to give your child – and show them – simple examples of when you might feel worried yourself, and demonstrate how you would cope. This might involve taking deep breaths, writing down your worries, having a ‘reassuring object’ you carry with you or ‘safe place’ you think of when your worry becomes particularly strong; encouraging yourself (within reason) to do things even when they seem a little scary at first by taking small steps. Children rely a lot on adults to scaffold opportunities to help them ‘face their fears’ in a safe and manageable way, by providing lots of encouragement and reassurance, truthfully pointing out their strengths, resources and skills and helping them to tolerate feeling worried and       scared sometimes. Generally, when children see that we can persevere with certain situations that make us anxious, they are more likely to do this themselves over time.

Kasia Mullan

Clinical Psychologist

Katarzyna.mullan@nhs.net

A big thank you again to Kasia for her advice. I hope you have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Miss Barnes