Kids and Worry: How to help your kids express their worries and let them go.
There is a lot going on in the world right now with COVID-19. Governments, businesses, schools, families….everyone is making decisions about how to be be safe and move forward in this situation. It is a time that invites a lot of worry, anxiety and stress.
Even if our children aren’t talking about it, they can pick up on what is going on in the world and they can definitely feel the impact to their daily routines. We would all benefit from some activities to help us talk about our worries, let them go and feel calm.
This is an opportunity to connect with your children and teach them some worry management skills. Here’s a few ideas…
Make a worry jar with your kids (you can use a cup, bowl, box, whatever you have). Take slips of paper and write whatever worry you might have and drop it in the jar. You can let go of the worry and let the jar hold it for you. This is a great time to invite your children to share their worries with you, but it’s also alright if they just want to keep it in the jar and not share.
Draw or create your worry. Remember, worry can look like sadness, feeling irritable, being argumentative, anger, and lots of other things that aren’t obviously worry. As an activity, we can talk to our kids about how worry can look and then we can draw faces or pictures with them of what worry looks like for each of us. One child might draw tight fists and a concerned face while another might draw a big tree blowing in the wind. You can share your picture with them and invite them to share theirs, if they wish.
Let go of worry. It’s great to name your worries, but then it’s helpful to let them go and move to other thoughts. Take some bubbles outside and blow your worries into the bubbles and watch them float away. This is also a great one because it’s a way to be outside and breath deep, both of which help our bodies relax.
Practice five senses. This activity can be done inside or outside and is helpful for calming ourselves and keeping us in the present and not focused on our worries. Go through each of your senses and talk about what you notice. For example, I hear cars driving, birds chirping, and leaves blowing in the wind. Take turns and move through each of your five senses.
Other than what is listed above, there are lot of simple things to do.
As a family, take a walk, practice stretching, make a list or draw a picture of what you are grateful for right now, color, tell funny jokes, talk about your happiest memories, and give lots and lots of hugs!
This difficult time can be a chance to connect and strengthen our relationship with each other and our mind’s ability to manage worries and stress. If you are looking for even more ideas, check out the book, No Worries! It’s full of lots of fun activities for families.