Teaching Your Child to Share Their Worries
Children today live in a much faster paced world than even a decade ago. Technology is everywhere and unfortunately sometimes replaces the human element. The lives of adults are also more complicated and overloaded and that techno baby sitter is welcomed. How often have you been in a restaurant and you see a whole family each on their own personal device? So not only are we filling their minutes with continuous games, we are depriving them of the conversation and exchange of ideas that encourages discussion and problem solving.
The turmoil from all around the world is displayed on the screen every day. Young ones cannot discriminate from what is happening close to them or far away. They are internalizing the events without even knowing it. They lack the skill to access what is actually affecting their little world. Children need continual reassurance that they are OK.
Furthermore, children are seeking perfection…getting everything right. They have an inner fear of failure. Everything they do is aimed for success. At school, perfect tests with no wrong answers. Add in extra activities. Win your game or dance perfectly. We are eliminating permission to fail, to get it wrong, to be able to say “I don’t get it” or “I don’t know, please help me!” They need the realization that not knowing is OK, in fact it is a gift. It is a chance to investigate and search for the answer and learn even more! It is a time for parents and teachers to interact and discuss and strengthen their relationships. Most of all, it is a time to show children that is just fine if you don’t know the answer. It is all right to question or even fear the unknown.
From the toddler who is sure there is a monster under the bed or a ghost in the closet or is afraid of the dark to the teen who worries about the big test or if they have the “right” clothes or what their friends will think, worry is real! It is essential that they recognize those worries and talk about them. One of my favorite quotes ever and one I have to refer to often comes from Mark Twain. “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened!”
So, to help your child. 1. Recognize their fears. 2. Let them know it is OK to not be perfect. 3. Make sure they have relaxing time…time to be a child. 4. Stay calm yourself. 5. Be positive. 6. Focus on something good in their lives. 7. Have a bedtime routine. 8. Give big hugs!
Consider the Worry Eater!
He is a lovable monster. The child writes down his worries and opens the zipper mouth. Place the worry inside and let the worry monster take care of it!
Worry does not stop when we become an adult. The worries just get bigger! Maybe we all need a Worry Eater for a better night’s sleep!