Helping Your Anxious Child
Anxiety in children is far more common than you might think. As parents, our natural instinct is to try to protect our children from their fears or fix whatever is upsetting them. However, as Linda, creator of Little Wuppy, found in her classroom days, giving children different opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings is often the greatest comfort to an anxious mind.
Little Wuppy – a sausage dog worry puppy – has been designed as an aid to help ease a child’s worries as well as provide them comfort. Children can talk to it, hold it, pop it in their pocket or bag, place it under their pillow, keep it in a special place, or use it in any way their imagination takes them.
With a little red embroidered heart, children can place the Little Wuppy against their own heart and send all of their worries and fears to their little wuppy!
Alongside the Little Wuppy, here are some other helpful ideas for your anxious child:
- Acknowledge your child’s fear. Avoid the natural response to say ‘don’t worry about it’ or ‘there’s nothing to be scared of’ and choose to listen and acknowledge your child’s fear. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to make you feel like a problem or overwhelming situation isn’t so big and scary at all!
- Role-play a situation they are unsure about. Eg. School or swimming lessons. Take turns being the student and the teacher or swimming instructor. Facing an unknown situation can be scary for anyone. Addressing any fears and unknowns through role-play is a great way to ease your child’s mind and help them see the fun and exciting side of a situation or experience.
- Help with problem solving. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking, “What can we do to make this easier for you?” Maybe that means getting a new pair of goggles if she is scared of water getting in her eyes at swimming lessons, or practicing his spelling words with him if he’s anxious about an upcoming test.
- Picture Books. Reading a book where a character faces similar situations can be less stressful for some children than talking about a problem directly. Linda recommends Nicky Johnston’s picture books such as Happy Thoughts are Everywhere and Go Away My Worrythoughts! In our house, In My Heart is a popular choice for those rough days, making it easy for children to identify their different feelings.
- Separation Anxiety: If your little one is struggling with separation anxiety, visit the Little Wuppy blog for some great tips on preparing for school and managing separation anxiety in kinder or school.
More about the Little Wuppy:
Made right here in Australia, Little Wuppy comes in three simple, neutral designs (to avoid overwhelming an anxious child), made from cotton fabric, filled with hypo-allergenic recycled PET fill and then backed with soft minky fabric (perfect for cuddling!)
Each Little Wuppy comes in a special pack with an adoption certificate, information card, calico carry bag, carboard box kennel (made from recycled cardboard) and ten stickers to decorate the kennel.
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