Managing Anxiety at Home
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A 'worry box' is a special box that allows children to write down their worries and 'post them away.' It can be opened weeks later so that past worries can be examined. Was it worth worrying about, did it happen, and can I tear it up now?
- A box
- Anything to decorate and personalise!
Worry boxes give children more understanding of their anxiety. Can they see any patterns in it? They give children a sense of ownership and control ("I've got a worry, and this is what I'm going to do about it"). They also provide children with "the three Fs":
- Face it
- Fix it
- Forget it
Once children put their 'worry' in their box, they can continue their day calmer and happier.
Children may enjoy making and decorating their worry boxes. They can make it their own in a way that is meaningful for them. They can also spend the time with a parent, discussing how and why they will use the worry box. It may help to have a practice - for the parent to 'have a go' to show it is ok and safe. Some children might prefer it if the whole family uses the box. They might be more likely to participate if they feel it is anonymous.
It may be helpful to put directions for use or a mantra (such as the 3 F's) inside the box as a visual reminder of its purpose.
If the child prefers to talk, then set aside an allotted period of time (every evening or week) when they can discuss their worries with a person of their choice. Try labelling and sorting their worries. Are they big or small? Are they somebody else's worries? Do they pertain to something that's happening now, something that may happen in the future, or something that's already happened?
Choose a favourite object (such as a balloon), and imagine blowing it up and deflating it as you breathe in and out slowly. For a younger child, visuals may aid this, such as five balloons they stick onto a board for each breath.
Deep breathing helps slow down their thoughts and focus them on the activity rather than what was causing their anxiety.
Deep Pressure Massage
Choose a body part the child is comfortable with massaging. Do they wish to massage themselves or have someone else do it? It is important to find a safe place where they feel comfortable (otherwise, the environment may become a distraction). Deep pressure massage helps to stretch and relax the muscles - helping to slow down the brain and helping them to relax. It may help to play relaxing music if you are at home.
There are many stress-relieving toys available on the market. Find one that is suitable for the child. They can help focus a child on a particular motion - away from the feelings buzzing around their head.
- Brackley Area
- Daventry Area
- Northampton Area
- Towcester Area
- West Northamptonshire
- Age range
- Suitable for ages from 0 to 18 years
- For people with
- Social, Emotional, or Mental Health (SEMH) Needs
- Eligibility criteria
- Age Range - Early Years
- Age Range - School
- Provider category
- Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support
c/o The SEND Support Service (SSS), West Northamptonshire Council, One Angel Square, Angel Street
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Last updated 29 February 2024