Anxiety & Insecurity
This free printable can be used to discuss mindfulness and to help children and adults bring themselves back to the present moment. Asking the user to decide which sense they want to use is a personal twist of mine, designed to implicate the user in their own process.
- Discuss what mindfulness is.
- Talk about how we can use our senses to bring ourselves back to the present moment.
- Discuss how each sense can help us focus on the present and divert energy towards our thoughts and emotions.
- Have everyone choose which sense they want to use and have them write their choices on the lines.
- Practice breathing in slowly and breathing out slowly.
- Draw yourself feeling calm and use the drawing as a way to calm down even more.
- Use in school, at home, or as part of therapy.
- Use as needed.
This month’s printable was created to support and encourage small steps of preparation to help our children feel ready for school. The printable is blank so you can tailor the steps to your child.
- Think of small steps that you can take together with your child to help them feel more prepared.
- Write or have your child draw each step. Discuss the steps together.
- If you have more than 6 steps, simply print out multiple copies of the free printable.
- Adapt the steps to the needs of your child. Anything that can help them practice something new or feel more prepared when showing up will be helpful.
- Helping them feel more prepared will also help them feel a little more in control over a new situation.
- Look at the sample for examples of the types of steps you can include.
- Use as needed.
A visual reminder that there is always something we can do to move past our fears or to be able to carry them in a way that affects us less. This visual reminder is meant as a conversation starter to discuss different tools, strategies, exercises and practices that help us grow.
- Use as a visual reminder not to let our fears stop us from being who we are and want to be.
- A discussion tool to discuss fears, anxiety, worries and the things that stop us from moving forward.
- A way to discuss different steps and strategies that can help with fears.
- A way to explore different tools that can help with managing fears.
- Use at home, school or as part of therapy.
- Use with Sam's Big Secret and discuss what tools from the stories you can use to help with your fears.
- Discuss as needed.
To use as a discussion tool with children after they have faced a difficult situation. Have them write different things they can do (or what they can focus on) to keep their hearts open. For example, after being bullied a child might want to close up. This tool can remind them that they have family that loves them, that they are courageous and brave, that they have people who love them, that they only need to be themselves…
- To use when discussing difficult events that are happening and to help children feel some control over how they emotionally handle these events.
- To use when dealing with sadness or loss.
- To use when something difficult happens and we have to pick ourselves up and continue.
- To use as part of therapy.
When fear tosses us around, these anchors serve to bring us back to safety. They remind us that we are always in control of our life choices and help us stop the negative energy flow.
These anchors are ours to use and deploy as needed. They are the affirmations we say to ourselves, the songs we sing to calm us down, the story we remind ourselves of, the hug we seek, the rituals that remind us that we are always bigger than our fears.
- Write down 3 things that you can do to help with anchoring and calming down when our fears take over.
- Turn into bookmarks and keep in books as reminders.
- Keep next to your bed.
- Use at exam time or during high stress time to remind children that they have anchors to bring them back to safety.
- Use as part of therapy.
This activity was inspired by a video made by Marie Forleo and the words that came along with it. “Your attention’s like a flashlight. Shine it out on others, and you lose sight of your own fear.” While she used it to talk about confidence in business, the concept of the flashlight is a great visual that children and teens can easily understand and relate to when it comes to focusing on fear and letting it stop us. So with their permission, we decided to create a tool that shares the wisdom of the flashlight.
- Use in class when children feel overwhelmed and cannot let go of the fear. Have them make a list of what they can do to shine the flashlight in a different direction.
- Discuss a situation and what happens in each column.
- Use as a conversation starter in therapy to discuss how focusing and obsessing on our fears keeps us stuck and what are other options may be.
- Use as you need.
- Keep the visual as a reminder that what we focus on expands.
Not everyone deals with anxiety and stress in the same way.
For some children it can feel overwhelming and paralyzing.
Lessons lose themselves in the chaos of the brain and everything feels frozen. Inspired by some fun buttons I received (from London), the idea behind this tool is to create a little pouch of reminders to be used during high stress time. Add your own wisdom to the collection, keep them close during tests or use them with other anxiety management techniques.
- Assemble in the classroom and fill with exam and anxiety-management strategies.
- Keep as a reminder that there is always something that can be done when we feel like things are out of our control.
- Add to your pouch by putting images that comfort you.
- Use as an inspiration - Find a small envelope and create your own pouch and list of suggestions.
A simple way to explore the concept of taking things one step at a time and focusing on what is in front of us.
Suggestions:- Use in class when children feel overwhelmed and have a hard time focusing one task at a time.
- Create your own strategies by using the blank sheet provided.
- Use to minimize anxiety by writing down the next step to follow. Discuss the importance of only focusing on one step at a time.
Who is part of your circle of love?
- Sometimes, it helps to be reminded that we are not alone. These cards can be filled and decorated and they will look awesome on that totally empty fridge of yours.
- Have fun with these and create a visual reminder of LOVE.
- Use as cards to provide emotional safety and security for children who need that reminder that there are people they can count on.
- Use as information cards for children with special needs to identify certain key people in their lives.
- Use in the classroom as a fun activity to help student realize that they have people around them that love them.
Have fun and join or create a circle of love!
Learning to look at our worries within a context that empowers us is a great way to stimulate our ability to deal with our fears and regain our emotional control.
Especially useful to help a child move past a specific worry.
Example of use (in cases of severe allergies where a child has developed anxiety:
My biggest fear about this: That I will die or that I never found out what was in the food and it was too late.
- What happened instead: Someone reminded me that I should ask about the ingredients and when I did, I made a different choice.
- What this says about me: It says that I am surrounded by people who are as alert as I am.
- The steps I’m taking to remain in control of my emotions & fears: I ask questions and make better choices, I carry my epipen with me, I make sure people know of my allergies. When I feel my mind getting ahead, I
breathe slowly and bring myself back to the present by reminding myself that I have a parachute.
When I feel out of alignment, I remind myself that: I control my emotions and choose what I wish to focus on. I remind myself that I have steps in place and that I do not need to worry about possibilities/
My affirmation about this: I stay in the present and make choices that support my body and heart.
Deep breathing helps children relax and focus their thoughts.Teach your child to breathe with this fish blowing bubbles example.
-Talk about times when this type of breathing can be helpful and be as specific as possible.
- Explain how the more you practice breathing, the easier it will be.
- Keep the visual reminders in places where they can have multiple effects or close to anxiety triggers.
- Practice before bed time or when child is feeling relaxed.
- Come up with a phrase that can be used to encourage the child to breathe.
Make this love pouch together to keep the absolute truth about your
love. It's a nice way to give them something to center themselves when they forget.
- Use for fun reminders of how you love each other. Add your own notes to make it personal.
- Use when distance will prevent you from saying the words in person.
- Use with nieces and nephews or grandchildren so they are reminded that they always have your love.
- Use with children who are very sensitive and get easily affected by simple things like you raising your voice or getting upset.
- Use with children who have a hard time understanding and dealing with emotions. This is something they can go back to when they are ready to deal with these emotions.
- Use with children who have faced hard challenges and may not feel that they are loved.
- Use however you can think of, and share so we can all learn from each other.
A simple activity to help children visualize themselves protected from negative thoughts. A great way to stimulate conversations.
A worry clock to help keep the worries from becoming constant dwellers in the brain. By acknowledging the need to share one's worries and allowing special time for it, children learn that it's okay to have worries and to want to share them, but those thoughts and feelings should not stop them from doing other enjoyable things
- When you need a visual reminder to explain the idea of the worry clock in a way that is easier for a
child to understand.
- To place on a door or fridge as a reminder.
- For the child to decide when they wish to talk to you about their worries.
- For you to have a vocabulary that the child can relate to (example: Honey, we've already done worry time. Is this something that you can let go of for now while you are in play time? Can we come back to it when worry time comes again?)
The legend of the dreamcatcher talks about the Spider Woman of the Ojibwe people.
In order to protect her children - who were now spread over the land - asked mothers and grandmothers to weave magical webs. These would filter bad dreams and only keep good thoughts from entering. (Source: wikipedia)
This dreamcatcher is a reminder to have faith in our dreams.
The dreams that fill our nights and our hearts.
- Use as visual reminder.
- Read and talk about dreamcatchers. Explain their meaning.
- Use to help with nightmares or to help children feel centered when it comes to their own dreams.
We all know that reaching for the stars is a little easier after a good night's rest. It acknowledges emotional and physical needs, allowing children to have more control over letting go.
- Print and keep in a place by the bed where it can be seen.
- Add some steps to your regular routine by sharing your ideal sleep routine together.
- When you hear the words, "I can't sleep!" You will be able to ask them what components of their getting ready to sleep needs are missing.
Use with sleep motivator cards as encouragement punch cards.
These were created for a little girl who I was told was having a very hard time with routine, transitions and change. These can be used at home or at school and will help create and reinforce new habits.
Suggestions:- Use with class or home routine when starting a new routine or introducing a change.- Use the encouragement card to acknowledge effort.- Use in class with anxious childrenand children who need that visual reassurance and consistency.