Fear, worry and anxiety are a normal part of being human (in fact they are essential for our survival) but when they impair our wellbeing, or disrupt our day-to-day lives and health, we need help. As parents, we need to guide our children to better understand and manage these feelings, and to recognise when they might need extra support.
The pace of our world doesn’t help… I firmly believe that much of the stress and anxiety present in children’s lives comes from hidden pressures and overzealous expectations of well-meaning parents and teachers. Adults want to hurry up the innate and unique development of children in a busy, instant world.
I began noticing increased levels of stress and unhealthy anxiety in children and teens in the early 2000s and this was the major impetus behind writing my first book, Saving Our Children from Our Chaotic World: Teaching Children the Magic of Silence and Stillness. This book is now in its third reprint and our world is certainly more chaotic today than in 2003!
In the resources on this page, I address ways in which we can calm and soothe our children in our homes and classrooms. I also discuss the epidemic of anxiety and ways to support children in managing it. We also have a list of Books & Resources for Supporting Kids with Anxiety here. You may also want to start by listening to my episode of Parental As Anything called “Do you have an anxious child?”.
I’ve been using creative visualisation techniques since I was a high school teacher and now there is an even greater wealth of research supporting the use of mindfulness and visualisation in stress-reduction. Two tracks that are particularly helpful for younger children experiencing worry or anxiety are my free audio track Safe ‘n Sound and a track I’ve created to help children identify and manage their feelings when their fear/anxiety arises and it is not a necessary response to a dangerous situation. That’s called Soothing the Frightened Butterflies.