Anxiety in children is not a new condition and it is perfectly normal for children to develop specific fears and phobias as they experience the world for themselves. As children grow, so can their anxiety – especially when big changes take place. It’s only when these anxious feelings start to interfere in your child’s everyday life that they may need a little extra help.
Sometimes, the more you read, and hope to understand anxiety in children, you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of scholarly, holistic and medical information out there. The Internet is flooded with helpful articles that can teach you techniques in order to help your child understand, and, in turn, ease their anxious mind. Information is key to understanding any mental health issues your child may face, but what if there’s a practical step you can take in order to help your little one understand why they feel the way they do?
Here at Ni4kids, we’ve taken the time to find some handy products full of positivity that can help you and your child come to understand the complex emotions they might be experiencing and hopefully help them process things when they’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.
Getting The Conversation Started
Author, Molly Potter, has released the book ‘What’s Going On Inside My Head’ (£10.99, WH Smith,) which helps explain to children just how important mental health is to their happiness and wellbeing. It reveals practical ways that can help children keep their minds in good shape and encourages them to talk positively about themselves, their emotions, relationships and mindfulness in general. These ideas will hopefully help them develop healthy habits and good coping strategies from an early age.
‘Little Affirmations’,(£10 plus £1.95 postage) the brain-child of Newry mum, Clare Hegarty, are positive affirmation cards specifically designed for children as a great little conversation starter, giving parents a tool to nurture their children’s self-esteem and they also give kids a chance to explore the language of positive self-talk that helps build a positive mindset. The cards can be purchased via the Little Affirmations Facebook page.
The Irish Fairy Door Company has developed an interactive ‘Worry Plaque’ (£17.99) in order to allow your child to ‘give’ their worries to the fairies. When your child is feeling overwhelmed or panicked by a particular worry, they can place their hand on the plaque and think about what is bothering them. Once the plaque turns green your child knows the worry has been transferred successfully to the away to the fairies. Find one on their website (irishfairydoorcompany.com) where you can also check out their helpful videos dealing with common childhood worries.
Along the same lines, the ‘Worry Monster’ (£8, The Works) can also be used to ‘take’ away your little ones’ troubles. Simply let your child write, or draw, their worries and pop it into the monster’s mouth before bedtime. Whilst they’re sleeping, simply remove the worry from the monster’s mouth. When your child awakes, they will see no worries left behind as the monster has ‘eaten’ them. The bonus with this is that you will be able to find out what is worrying your child.
Another creative way for the older child (age 7+) to express themselves is through keeping a daily record of their thoughts and feelings. ‘The Happy Confident Me Journal’ (£18.99, from happyconfident.com) encourages the practice of just a few minutes of daily journaling to develop self-awareness, positive thinking, confidence, mindfulness and gratitude. The journals also encourage conversations with peers, parents and carers about important themes, helping to normalise and identify the many emotions experienced each day.
Weighted blankets can help any child who struggles to sleep all night but also specifically children who suffer from stress, ADHD, autism, other sensory-related sleep issues and anxiety. Invented by a mum-of-two Snoozzzy Blankets (from £75) are filled with just enough non-toxic beads to provide deep pressure touch stimulation without uncomfortable restriction. NB You should select a weight which is roughly 10 per cent of the child’s bodyweight and the blanket should be big enough to cover the user’s body, not their bed.
You can continue to set a relaxing tone in your child’s bedroom with the inclusion of a Lava Lampwhich have been found to particularly useful for anxious teens. Lamps such as this rainbow we one found at Dunelm (£10) work best when you encourage your child to concentrate on the lamp instead of what’s making them anxious and to concentrate on their breathing. Something as simple as this can help pull someone out of an anxiety episode before it becomes too overwhelming.
Some of these products may be able to help soothe your child when they become overwhelmed but should not be relied on to completely combat the problem. If you feel that your child’s anxiety is growing and beginning to impact their day-to-day life then you should arrange an appointment with your GP to discuss the issue further.