Anxiety is so common in our children. I still remember reading the word anxiety in ‘Dolly’ or ‘Girlfriend’ magazine when I was a tween, but never fully understanding what it meant. Then one day I decided to look it up… I couldn’t believe how well one word described me! I was terrified to go out with new people, worried what they would think of me, I was terrified in the classroom, thinking over and over in my head ‘this is too hard, this is too hard’. I would stress out about not having friends, I would stress out about what I had said to them. I had anxiety!
I see this in so many of my students, way to much worry for someone so small. Of course for them the worry doesn’t seem to last long… or does it?
So what can we do to help this situation? In my classroom there are 5 activities that I do to help anxious children stay calm.
We do a breathing exercises that help them stay calm. We make ourselves a boat and we watch it rock on our bellies. We do this when have just come in from lunch or we have had a fairly heavy day. The kids enjoy watching the boat rock forwards and back and in order to move the boat they have to breath deeply.
Drawing and colouring in can be very calming for children. We have fun loud art time, although when they need it I ask that all the children are quiet and they sit and enjoy the calm art time. It can be quite meditative.
3. Daily plan
Each day we go through exactly what we are learning. This way children can become more mentally prepared for the day and are less anxious about what’s coming next. I also have a visual timetable on the board to help with this. This can work at home too.
Putting feelings down on paper can be very relaxing and therapeutic. It is away of expressing the feeling and letting go of any worry.
Think can be jumping jacks for a burst of 2-5 minutes. It can be a bit of yoga or a walk around the block. This movement can help children forget about what they’re worried about and shift there thinking into a more positive direction.
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