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2 min read

3 mindfulness activities to reduce childhood anxiety.

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Mental health is a huge issue for children and young people. 1 in 6 children (aged 5-16) is identified as having a probable mental health problem. Highlighting the need to teach our primary and secondary-aged children strategies to stay physically and mentally healthy. We share 3 mindfulness activities to reduce childhood anxiety.

 

When is mental health awareness week 2023?

Mental health awareness week begins on Monday, 15th May 2023 and ends on Sunday, 21st May. It is a week where awareness can be raised for the importance of understanding mental health and recognising how to improve mentally healthy habits. This year’s theme is anxiety, focusing on identifying what might trigger anxious thoughts and behaviours and how to take steps to reduce anxiety.

 

Anxiety overestimates the threat and underestimates your capacity to process the information rationally.

 

 

What is childhood anxiety?

Children, like adults, feel worried, fearful and nervous in different situations. But when do these feelings tip into the realm of needing additional help? When a child’s anxiety begins to affect their well-being and everyday life, then extra support is needed.

Children between the ages of 6 months- 3 years very commonly experience separation anxiety from their parents or caregivers. This usually will reduce and stop around aged 3. Children commonly develop phobias and fears (there are common ones like the dark, clowns, heights, and loud noises like thunder or animals).

Anxiety in childhood can harm children’s mental health, impacting their confidence to take managed risks and self-esteem and belief. It is important that as members of the school community, you record any mental health concerns or near misses you might spot throughout the school day, just as you would with first aid incidents.

Medical Tracker easily records, tracks and analyses mental health concerns across your school or trust. Our 15-minute demo explains how to use the mental health feature (and the many other features too!)

 

Dos and Don’ts for supporting children with anxiety.

Helping a child with fears and worries is part of your role as teachers. But when those fears become extreme and consuming, how is it best to help an anxious child? We explore some simple dos and don’ts.

Do

  • Support with strategies to emotionally regulate.
  • Build strong working relationships with the child so they feel comfortable talking about their worries and fears.
  • Listen and give them time.

Dont

  • Aim to ‘get over it.
  • Promise a child the worry or fear will never come true.
  • Judge their fears to be silly or unrealistic.

 

 

Strategies to help with children’s worries or fears.

 

 

What is square breathing? A mindfulness technique to reduce anxiety.

Square breathing.

Have you heard of square breathing? It needs no resources and can be useful in any situation that triggers anxious feelings (for adults and children). You will need to find something with 4 sides, this can be a window, a tile on a roof, or imaginary in your mind. The first side of the shape will be a breath in, the following side will be holding the breath and the third side will be exhaling the breath. Begin again on the next side.

 

A loud clap.

When anxious feelings take over, it is easy to become reactive and not think logically. Focusing your thoughts on the present moment can help to re-centre thoughts and reduce feelings of worry or fear. To practice this next strategy, sit straight and comfortably, close your eyes and clap your hands (just once) as loud as you possibly can. Then, sit with your palms upwards and focus on the tingling. Where does the tingling start and end? How long can you feel the tingling? Do your hands feel hot or cold?

 

Easy mindfulness strategy to help reduce childhood anxiety.

 

Floating bubbles.

Recognising the feelings of worry can be useful in helping with letting them go. Visualise a balloon; you fill this balloon with one worry. And picture the balloon with that worry floating upwards until it can no longer be seen. Repeat this with any worries or fears you have. If the same worry keeps repeating, that is fine too!

 

 

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