Helping anxious children

I have many memories of growing up where I felt scared, sad and unsafe. Sometimes for no apparent reason all the time. It could’ve been from the dark, a noise or a smell. I recall being anxious many, many times.

Still to this day I really dislike things as they make me very anxious as I remember the feeling I felt when I was younger.

The smell of curry cooking – vegetable curry to be exact – makes me feel sick as I recall it being cooked often at a cult we use to go to as kids in Mudgee before my mum left us to go live there.

Camping – it took me a long time to like camping again, when I was a scout we camped the boys would come past and scare us in the tents, when we went to the cult we camped. However we also had so many happy memories camping when I was a little girl with my family – so this keeps me going. 

Bon fires – The smell. Though I’m getting better.

Garage toilets – I’ll never ever own one and always tell my children to never use one. 

Pools in front yards.

You know what I’m going to stop as writing this has raised my heart rate and I’m thankful I have a psychologist appointment in 1.5 hours and these were just some childhood memories.

What I’m meaning to say I know how it feels and I know how it feels to be dismissed and told my fears aren’t real and I’m being silly. I have also caught myself saying this once to Ivie and I quickly apologised – even at 2 am.

I put a call out on my Instagram page asking for help. Asking for advice. I was informed that right now, even though we are shielding them from what’s happening in the world with isolation she sees it, she hears it and unfortunately no matter how much I try and shield her she’ll see it. That her new anxiety is from the current pandemic, being told “we have to stay home so we’re safe” constantly drilled into their little brains. This is causing her to have some kind anxiety. The change in schools for her happened and then just as she was getting use to her new school she got taken out of it and put into lockdown. She did have many big things happen. Her brother said something to her and has over and over tried to tell her he was joking he made it up. 

So, with her current anxieties and fear that she’ll grow up like me I’m putting things into place now as I try and help her deal with them.

First off the list is something I was taught – anxiety and excitement have the same feeling, sometimes our minds trick us into thinking its anxiety when in fact its excited – like catching the new school bus, going to a new school – that is a good anxiety, its an excited anxiety, it’s just excited. 

I have books at home for her as this isn’t the first time, we’ve experienced anxiety with Ivie. But I will also download the calm app and put on some kids guide meditation through her iPad whilst she sleeps this might help her mind drift off to a positive sleep and also allow her mind to shut off those scary thoughts. However, this is only a two week free trail, so I’ll try and find something else soon.

Print off positive affirmations. I made some for Ivie that I know she’d like to read out and that suited her. I have made them so you can too download them and use them if you need. Follow this link to them.

Her light is on at night now, but she has requested we turn it off when we go to bed so it’s only her little night light on. So I’ll do this.

I’ll stand at her door until she falls asleep. 

No iPad before bed (besides meditation at bedtime). I did this with Ayden when he was little and I need to reinforce it now. I get lazy. Nolan and I will work together and make it story time or like last night played bingo before bed. 

Use words that she’ll understand and help her find comfort in her uncomfortableness. 

Tell her that her feelings are real and that her concerns are listened too. Talk through them with her. 

Get more of our routine back that we had. Though we can’t do much now I’ll try and do as much as I can and stop using sentences like “we have to stay indoors to be safe”.

I’ll just do the best I can and if that doesn’t work then we will reassess and find something else like a counsellor to help talk through her feelings.

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