We all have our go-to strategies to help kids with anxiety. It could be deep breathing with helpful names like Balloon Breaths or guided imagery of a calm beach. In counseling, give students a couple of options to find the best for them. Here are four anxiety strategies for kids you might not have tried yet.
Mindfulness may be a buzzword, but it is also an effective practice for kids and adults. Grab these 15 free mindful minutes and start with the beginning script.
This is a great one! I recently discovered that singing is an effective strategy during a panic attack. It can be as simple as "Row, row, row your boat" or a current pop song.
Singing helps people regulate their breathing and focus on something besides their anxiety. It can also be used during moments of stress or anxiety, not just during panic attacks.
Putty and Rocks
Anxiety often stems from events or people that we have no control over. Students worry about the weather, a schedule change, or separation from a parent.
It is helpful for students to categorize their worries as something they can or cannot change. Then, they shift their focus to the things they can change or control.
What part of my problem is like a rock, and what part is like putty?
The student has a test coming up and is very worried. The test is a rock. The student can't stop the testing from coming. The students can change how they prepare for the test. The preparation is putty.
Give it a Home
Have students separate their worries from themselves. Their worry is a part of them, not all of them. They imagine creating a safe home for their worry. They can talk to their worry there.
In groups, we would make worry dolls. You may have had these as a kid. The student would talk to their worry using questions like the following:
- What are you afraid will happen?
- How long have you been worried about this?
- What do you want or need?
The student can also ask their worry to stay in the same home while they take care of the problem. It can be very effective for students to feel they are in charge of their anxiety.
What are your favorite anxiety strategies for kids?
Resources In This Post
Challenge Negative Thinking Resources
Help students with automatic negative thoughts identify them, find strategies to challenge them, and create positive replacement thoughts.
Anxiety Counseling Map & Skills Checklist
Counseling maps are where a curriculum map meets a treatment plan. This set covers psychoeducation, self awareness, self management, goal setting, mindset, problem-solving, and social connection.