Friday, November 21, 2008

Ideas for Helping to Relieve a Child's Worries

Sorry for the long absence -- obviously, from my last post you can tell we've been going through some stuff over here, but the good news is that we are doing better!

This popped up pretty much out of nowhere for us, and took us completely off guard. I think the best advice that I can give to anyone dealing with something like this with your own child, is to ask a lot of questions and talk to anyone that you can -- pediatrician, school counselor, other doctors, etc. We've gotten lots of advice on things to do to help our daughter cope with her worries and fears, and we've also come up with a few things on our own. Here are some ideas that may work for you, whether your child's fears / worries are big or small:

- Create a "worry box" out of an empty tissue or some other type of small box. Let your child decorate it, if that makes it more fun for them. When your child starts worrying about things, have them write down their worries and throw them away in the worry box in an effort to get the worries off their mind.

- If your child seems to be worrying all throughout the day, set a "worry time" of the day, where you can sit down with your child and listen to all of their worries or fears at that time -- this helps so they are not thinking about them all day.

- Another thing that has been helpful is having some signs or symbols that represent "safety" -- especially if your child is having bad dreams. For example, since I had already established "Baby Hugs" bear as a sign that Mommy was there, it was easy for me to reinforce the symbolism of the bear with my girl, and remind her that the bear was from Mommy and would take care of her while she is sleeping. My father even remembers (way back!) when he was about my girl's age and he would have nightmares, but he had a special teddy bear that he felt protected him. You could also get your child (or make one with them!) a "dream catcher" and talk to your child about what it's job is, and help them hang it over their bed.

- And finally, a big thing -- diversion and distraction! Try to help take your child's mind off of the "bad stuff" by switching subjects and reminding them of the great stuff that is going on. I think that has helped a lot in our situation -- this a one of our favorite times of year -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and then my girl's birthday. Not to mention that we have snow where we are, so she's very excited about that. Keep reinforcing all of the great stuff and keep your child's mind busy with happy thoughts so there is not so much room for the worries and fears. And a GREAT bedtime distraction that we have been practicing, is as my girl is in bed trying to go to sleep, she counts -- she starts at 1 and counts in her head until she falls asleep. (She thinks she counted to infinity last night...)

These have all been great things that have worked for us, and there is certainly no harm in trying them, but by all means, if you have concerns about your child having excessive fears or worries - consult your doctor for more advice!

What ideas can you share for helping to alleviate a child's worries?

1 comment:

Christine said...

These are all really great ideas!