After the recent violence and looting experienced in KZN and Gauteng, our kids may be experiencing signs of anxiety and excessive worry. We can’t protect them from every conversation they overhear or the videos they may have been exposed to on social media or sent from friends, but we can help them manage their emotions in a healthy way.
The team at Labels4School has created a wonderful FREE resource for you to download and work on with your kids at home. The L4S Calm-a-Llama workbook offers calming colouring pages, worksheets about worries in their life and how to cope with these. We recommend this workbook for kids in primary school.
Download the Calm-a-Llama booklet here.
Signs of Anxiety in Kids – what to look out for
Anxiety in children can display is physical and psychological ways. If you are concerned about your child take them to a doctor to check if any of the following are related to stress or perhaps an existing medical condition.
- Increased irritability, excessive crying, frustration, tantrums and showing signs of self-soothing and seeking reassurance from you more frequently.
- Signs of regressive behaviours like or bed-wetting or excessive clinginess.
- Frequent stomach aches, headaches, lack of motivation, frequent bathroom breaks, rapid breathing, chest pains, shortness of breath, poor appetite, tension and trouble sleeping.
- Feeling irrationally overwhelmed and threatened by certain situations like school, social environments, shopping malls and events they usually enjoyed, but now triggers stress.
- The need for routine and structure to be exactly the same each day as a need for them to have more control over their environment.
- Signs of hypervigilance. Where they are constantly surveilling the room or surrounding areas to keep an eye out for threats or listening to conversations and noises they wouldn’t usually be interested in. This is absolutely exhausting for kids!
How to help your child deal with this?
Find out what they know about the current situation- listen to them and find out what stories they have overheard or found out from friends at school
Protect them from adult conversions – make sure there aren’t little ears listening to big conversations they are not ready to cope with.
Be their safe space – allow them to talk to you about how they are feeling and let them know it is normal to have these kinds of emotions. Help them work through these situations and focus the positives.
Model behaviours like self-care and positive-thinking.
Embrace and reward your child’s brave behaviours.
Make time for relaxing activities like calming colouring or breathing activities.
Remember to take time for yourself to make sure you are coping with the psychological effects of the past few months. Think positively and allow yourself time to practice breathing techniques and relaxing activities that ground you in the present moment.
“Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere” – Erma Bombeck