Help for Kids with Anxiety
The count down is on!! Not only are my own kids both anxious and excited to go back to school,but this year they begin a brand new school in a brand new city, 3 hours away from the comfort of their besties!
I admit that what is usually my own delight on the eve going into back to school, I myself am feeling anxious for my kids this year.
Will there be kids who reach out and befriend them? Will they like their teacher? Better question, will I like their teachers!? Will they have kids to eat lunch with the first day, the first week? Will they eat their lunch at all? Will they feel part of the community or an outsider?
I remember when I was a teen, our family moved from Malton, ON to Brampton,ON the summer between junior high and high school. I sat out on the back school steps eating my lunch by myself, just praying no one saw me alone! Now a days I thoroughly enjoy an uninterrupted lunch hour!
There are a lot of unknowns, and with that comes anxiety, for all of us. But, you see all of those reasons why I just listed are just thoughts, what ifs ..... hence the anxiety!
And when you are anxious, it is always a good sign that you are either remembering or creating, so lets focus on drawing yourself back into the current moment!
Simply put, the art of being able to be in the current moment and observe what is happening as it happens is called mindfulness.
If we adults are able to live this way ourselves and instill this in our young children, and teens then we will be giving them a gift that will last a lifetime, and some would say, help them live a longer healthier life as well.
Each year and age seems to present a new set of challenges as my girls and frankly myself move through hormone and social shifts. So, this year as they move into grade 6 and 8, I found myself wondering what tricks I could come up with to help them at this stage to have mindful moments that will help ease anxiety. And then it hit me as we were shopping in Chapter's looking for their next reading books, I turned to see a display of jigsaw puzzles. I had a flashback to when I was a girl around their age. My parents, brother and I would sit for hours in a week, each with a TV tray in front of us. Each of us individually working away on our own puzzle, intently focused on finding the right piece or where this piece goes.
Yes! Now I held my breath while I awaited the responses from my girls as I presented this most awesome and nostalgic idea. Thankfully they were both on board and now the search begins for just the perfect puzzle for each of them.
The key to mindfulness is to find something that you like to do and where you feel like time stands still. That "thing" that when you are doing it, you lose track of all time. An hour can feel like only minutes. There is your sign! For some of you it may be crafting, coloring, journaling, photography, meditation, reading a book, walking the dog, or even watching your favorite TV series remake, BH90210 (even if you can't yet decide if you like it, or not!)
Here are a few more of my ideas for you and your kids, that have worked great with my clients:
- Fill a small container (I like the clear ones) with sand from your day at the beach, then "hide" little things in the sand (toy car, shopkins, eraser, spiral noodle, scrabble letter, etc) Make a scavenger hunt sheet and send your child hunting for their hidden treasures. The added bonus here is that playing in the sand/earth helps to ground them.
- As above, fill a container of sand and "hide" 20 scrabble letters in the sand. Have the child pull out 6 letters (or whatever number you like) and ask them to write as many words as they can think of using only those letters.
- Get 26 envelops, write each letter of the alphabet on each envelop, now place an item beginning with that letter inside. The child must try to figure out what is inside of the envelop.
- Place 10 items on a table, give the child 20 seconds to observe the items, then cover them and ask them to recall all of the items.
- Have a tween sift flour or sort a cupboard or yarn bin.
- Jigsaw Puzzles!
For some other ideas and insight on mindfulness here is a great article by Huffington Post here that you will enjoy!