Kids and Worry: When it’s more than just butterflies

Sometimes feeling a little anxious is okay! It’s just a part of growing up. But for some kids, those worries can grow like giant balloons, making it hard to do everyday things like school, playing, or even eating and sleeping.
Spotting these ‘big worries’ can be tricky, because they can look different for every child. One child might have tummy aches, or lots of headaches, while another might get extra cranky or avoid things they used to like.

It’s like they’re wearing a worry costume!

Here are some signs to watch out for:

Avoiding stuff: Is your child avoiding school, play times, meals, or even going to bed because of worry?

  • Lots of ‘ouchies’ and ‘owies’: Are tummy aches, headaches, or other pains becoming a daily thing?
  • Sleep problems: Can’t fall asleep, bad dreams, or waking up feeling like a zombie? Worry costumes can make bedtime tough.
  • Big feelings: Meltdowns, tantrums, and sudden bursts of anger can be signs of worry hiding inside.
  • Picky eater: Food suddenly seems less yummy, and maybe they eat too much or too little, or start to refuse some types of food.
  • Needing lots of reassurance: Asking, ‘Are you sure? Or ‘What if…’ again and again.
  • Mind in overdrive: Thinking way too much about what might happen, and getting stuck in worry loops.

Remember, these signs can sometimes just be a normal part of growing up. Lots of kids and families have to deal with worry costumes sometimes. But if they’re happening all the time and making it hard for your little one to enjoy life, it might be time to look at how you can help.

Taming those tricky wobbles.

When your little one seems a bit wobbly from worry remember you are not alone! Lots of kids get anxious sometimes, but there are ways to help them feel braver and stronger.
Helpful tips to defeat the wobbles:

1. Talk it out: Let your child know it’s okay to feel worried and they can always chat about their wobbly feelings. Everyone gets anxious sometimes, even grown-ups! Talking about their worries can help make them feel smaller, like letting the air out of a balloon.

2. Make a worry-busting tool kit: Just like superheroes have cool gadgets, you and your child can create a special worry-busting kit. This could include calming breathing exercises, like counting to ten while taking slow, deep breaths. Or a cosy blanket for snuggles, or they can choose a special phrase to repeat when worries attack, like ‘I am brave!’ or ‘I can handle this!’

3. Fun time is a worry time-out! Sometimes the best way to chase away worries is to forget they’re even there. Do something fun together, like building a cushion fort, playing a light-hearted game, or reading a funny story. Laughter is a powerful shield against worry!

Remember, you are your child’s biggest supporter. By showing them you understand and are there to help, you’ll give them the courage to face their worries and feel braver than ever before.

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