It’s truly shocking that we are living in fear.
I mean it. We really are. More and more I am seeing children who are traumatised by what they see on the news or what they hear is going on in the world. Here are the top 3 worries that those gorgeous children bring to me:
1. Getting it wrong
2. Getting told off
Which leads me to ask the following very important questions:
- Where are we having unrealistic expectations of children?
- When did this monumental pressure of school grades get so ridiculous?
- How are we role modelling making mistakes at home and in the classroom?
- How are we helping them repair or mop up when things go wrong?
- Are we punishing them for being human (for having feelings or being forgetful)?
- And basically, when did we all turn into such a big bunch of Judgey McJudgersons?
Answers on a postcard please!
I think social media has a lot to do with it. Oh and that pesky virus.
Whilst we can’t wrap them in cotton wool – dealing with uncertainty and fear is part of life – what we can do is give them practical self development tools. We can help them understand what is happening in their body and teach them how to think in ways that serve them. What a relief not to get stuck on that horrible worry train.
We can also consciously choose to be mindful of our own responses, (is it helpful?) and our own coping mechanism, (is it healthy?) when faced with an anxious child.
So, here you go …..
20 Helpful Tools + Habits for Soothing Anxious Children
- Don’t watch or listen to the news. I haven’t watched it for years because I don’t want that negativity in my life and I’m sensitive to it. Images of people being rushed to hospital with the virus is burned into my retinas for days.
- Spend time with people who make you feel good and doing things you love.
- Train your brain to think differently and more positively using positive affirmations. That’s what my Smiley Thought Cards are for.
- Learn how to use your breathing to calm your body. Here is a free exercise for you to try.
- Have a good bedtime routine to give yourself enough time to wind down from the day. Release, Reflect + Relax is my 3 easy steps to sweet dreams.
- Recognise that you cannot be brave until you are scared and some things in life will scare you. The Courage Chats can help you work towards overcoming and facing those fears.
- Educate yourself about how your brain works and how you can help it. You may want to check out my Smiley Reading Resources or this free episode of Truly Madly Smiley which tells you how I got a handle on my worries.
- Think about what you are in control of and work with that. You can’t control other people’s opinions of you.
- Treat yourself with kindness as you would a worried friend. The Reminder to Be Kinder Challenge will help you cultivate self-compassion on days where the worries are big. It has a plan and checklist so you can take action.
- Don’t push the worries away or hold them in. Talk to somebody, draw them or write them down. This will shrink them.
- Don’t judge the worries or make yourself wrong or bad. They are thoughts. They are not facts and they are not real. They cannot hurt you.
- Make a promise to yourself that you will be stronger than your worries when you can and you will try every day to help your brain think happy thoughts.
- Get yourself a hot water bottle or weighted blanket to put your energy back in your body so you can feel safe. Or you can ask somebody to hug you. Not everybody wants to be touched when they are upset.
- Stroke your pet. I have a furry friend called Moe and you can listen to me talk about how he helped me feel safe and trust again. I even wrote him a poem to say thank you!
- Listen to an audio story or podcast. Truly Madly Smiley is my soothing voice, reassuring you in many different ways that everything is going to be okay. I cheerlead you on to move beyond your worries and help you understand yourself more.
- Go for a walk in nature. Walk on the grass in bare feet or hug trees. Be close to water or listen to the birds. Join me for Episode 44 – The One with the Sunny Walk + Talk as we stroll by the canal and observe our beautiful surroundings.
- Learn how to thought stop. Clap your hands when your worries start and say ‘Not now. No!’ out loud. You get to decide – take back your power!
- Reduce your screen time. Episode 14 – The One with the Frozen Planet shows you how too much screen time isn’t good for your mind or body.
- Start your day with mirror work. Talking to yourself like you would a friend. Stand in front of the mirror every day, and over time you’ll build confidence and replace worries and unhelpful thoughts with more positive ones. Plug in 10 Days of Smiley Self-Talk and we can have fun trying this together. I will guide you through what to say or do.
- Love your life as it is now. Develop a daily mindfulness practice. I love this one by Action for Happiness.