I recently attended professional development on KidsMatter, a program which we are implementing at AGPS. As part of the program, we looked at the Kids Matter website, which had lots of resources to support families and students. I found the part of the website about anxiety particularly helpful and relevant. If you feel your child may be anxious, it is well worth a read.
It suggested a range of tips for dealing with anxiety which included:
Increase children’s helpful coping skills
Anxious feelings are fed by anxious thinking. It is important not to dismiss children’s anxious feelings, but to help children see that the situations they are worried about may not be as bad as they think.
Teach by example
Showing children how you cope positively with feeling anxious or stressed and remaining calm and positive when they are feeling anxious can help them to feel more conﬁdent.
Avoid taking over
Children with anxiety are usually very happy for someone else to do things for them. However, if adults take over, it stops children from learning how to cope themselves.
Encourage children to ‘have a go’
Having a go helps to show children that they can cope. Praise or reward them for every step they manage to take.
(Kids Matter, 2017)
As I’m sure you know, we practice yoga on Friday mornings. A couple of times a week we also use a meditation after lunch to calm down and get ready to learn. The app I use is Smiling Mind, which is free an available as an app or on the computer. It’s an Australian program developed with Beyond Blue to encourage meditation. It was originally just designed for kids, but also has adult meditations. If you or your child is feeling anxious, it’s a great way to relax and something I’d encourage you to try (even if you’re not feeling anxious!). Just like we eat well to keep our bodies well, we can practice things like meditation, just to keep our minds well.