After validating his feelings and reassuring him that I will return, he transitioned into the teacher’s arms.
At pickup, he was all smiles and continued to play on the courtyard for another twenty minutes.
Let’s see how tomorrow goes.
Fear and anxiety can be incredibly overwhelming for children. We can help them release those fears and overcome them with a fun activity of making worry dolls. This is an activity that can be great for young children as well as adolescents.
Loose parts and a child’s imagination are the only things that are needed.
Suggestions for Loose Parts:
While they are creating, discuss what they are afraid of and how it makes their body feel. Normalize, validate and strategize for healthy ways to cope and express their feelings. They will begin to feel safe in expressing their fears and gain control over them.
At bedtime, children can tell the dolls their fears and release them from their bodies and mind. Let those fears go and have a restful night’s sleep.
Some of you know the struggles of the weekly swim lessons that my five-year old deals with. He gets very anxious all week-long, especially Thursday evenings and all day Friday.
He has been struggling for over a year now with his swim fears, but has made leaps and bounds. With every new technique, he begins to self-doubt himself and think the worst, drowning.
As a mom, I do my best to support him. I have had numerous play sessions helping him work through his fears. I validate his feelings, listen without judgement and offer strategies to help him cope.
Yesterday, he found a little worry doll that I got from a restaurant, years ago.
“What is this?” he asked.
Bingo! The light bulb went off in my head. I explained that you tell it all your worries and then place it under your pillow before you go to sleep. It will take all the worries away.
His response, “Yeah, right! That’s fake.”
Well here we are Thursday evening and he comes downstairs with his eyes welled up with tears. “I’m scared about swim.” He then looks over at the kitchen table and sees the worry doll. His demeanor completely changed and he says, “Can I have that to help me?”
“Yes, you can!”
With the worry doll in his little hand and another kiss goodnight, I closed the door and waited. Then I heard the little voice say, “I’m worried about swim”.
Ahh, let’s see how he is in the morning. I hope this works.
Making worry dolls with kids is easy, fun and very therapeutic. It is a great intervention that child life specialists, parents, teachers and therapists can do to with the kids and families.
Looks like we will be making our own tomorrow!