It is human nature to worry and have fears but as children’s imaginations develop their fears and worries can escalate. Here are a few ideas to try with your children if they’re struggling with these emotions.
Worry Dolls – You can buy them here. Little dolls that your children tell their worries to and then they put them in their bag, place them under their pillows and the dolls make their worries disappear by morning.
Writing their worries/fears down and putting them into a box.
Making a dream catcher to prevent nightmares. We like this simple design here.
Make up stories together about their fears with silly and funny endings. This might help the child realise their fear isn’t as scary as their brain is telling them it is.
Books – For younger children aged 3-8 the book The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside about a little girl called Jenny. Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her? You can find it here.
For older children aged 6 and over the book What to Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. You can find it here.
Choose a safe teddy. One that they can tell their worries to and will also look after them in the night.
For older children creating a conversation book for them to write down their feelings in and for you to then reply in writing to them. Some children feel embarrassed confessing their worries aloud. This way also gives you as a parent/carer time to think of a thoughtful reply.
Be honest with your children but remember their age and adapt conversations accordingly. In our technology filled world children can gain access to news stories, photos and information that they maybe too young to process in a rational manner. Children are learning about the world around them, friendships, trust, safety etc etc and as parents and carers we need to support and guide them. We like this article, which talks about explaining the news to children.