We all have worries and concerns from time to time, including children, but they needn’t become a major problem. Take a look at the following ideas and see if any can help your child to manage their worries.

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ACTIVELY LISTENING

Communication is key.

Take time to really listen to a child’s (or adult’s) worries and concerns.

If they can’t voice their worries try getting them to tell them to a favourite toy and then getting the toy to talk for them. This can have the effect of present the worry as someone else’s, enabling them to open up more.  

Or.. let them draw the worry, or act it out using their toys.

Seek clarity through statements using, ‘I wonder if ….. x is scared of ?,  ….. y thinks ? might happen. This approach is more open and often produces more information than specific questioning.

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ACKNOWLEDGING and ACCEPTING

It is important to accept any worry as real, however ‘silly’ or over reactionary it may sound to us. 

Acknowledge that you can see how worried they are and that it’s upsetting them.

Tell them it’s ok and that your pleased they have told you about their worry. 

Tell them that together you are going to try to help them to work things out so they can be less worried.

At other times it is good to acknowledge that you have worries and talk about how you manage them. Modelling from a trusted adult can be a powerful learning tool for children to see that we all have worries and tools to help manage them.

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DISCUSS

Talk through the main points of their worry.

You may need to prompt thoughts with…’I wonder if ……you feel / think that / are worried that….’ statements. Making a silly or ridiculous, ‘I wonder if ..’ statement can often spark a conversation. These can provide more information than a direct question which often has a yes / no answer.  

Find out what and why they are worried about these things, again using ‘ I wonder if ‘ phrases.

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PLANNING - working together

Through discussion help children to recognise whether their worry is;                                                                                              –  likely to happen, unlikely to happen or not going to happen.                                                                                                – something can be done about it, nothing can be done about it.                                  

If likely / something can be done  …… 

……what is their worst fear?

…….can you together, they, someone else, do anything to reduce the chances and impact of the worry? 

……how can they manage their anxiety? see next section.

If unlikely / but something can be done …..

…… what are the chances of it happening?

…… what is their worst fear?

……can anything be done to reduce the chance further?

……how can they manage their anxiety? see next section./

Not going to happen / can’t change it ……

…… write / draw the worry and either screw it up, or throw it away / burn it.

……how can they manage their anxiety? see next section./

 

USEFUL RESOURCES

Making a ‘worry doll’ can help children manage and let go of worries.

Story books in which characters have and manage difficult situations can be good models for children, helping them to see that others have worries to and can manage them.

Mindfulness and Wellbeing activities can be paths to coping and releasing stress. See ‘building emotional resilience / wellbeing’  blog.

Social Stories can help formulate ideas and give a record of solutions to be referred back to at any time.

Please email if you would like more support ideas and help.