Teach Your Child How to Become a Worry Ninja
Nadine Briggs & Donna Shea
What is worry? It is when the brain becomes stuck on something and decides that it needs to be afraid, whether the fear is based in reality or not. Brains do not always make sense or get it right, and sometimes feeling worried can be a waste of time and energy and can prevent your child from being his or her happiest self.
Worry is also known as:
Stress, Fear, or Anxiety.
Sometimes the brain can become stuck on a thought that plays over and over in a loop. A thought that is stuck might be a worry and your child might not even be aware of it!
The thing about worried thoughts is that we never want them to make decisions for us. If your child has a brain that gets stuck on thoughts, especially if it gets stuck on bad thoughts that causes your child to avoid some good things, he or she can find help in our workbook for kids, I Feel Worried! Tips for Kids on Overcoming Anxiety. You can help your child conquer his or her and teach him or her how to fight back as an expert worry ninja.
Becoming a worry ninja means that your child can learn to manage those worried feelings and get them out of his or her way. He or she can be stronger and more powerful than the anxiety.
Our brains are taking in information all the time. Our brain must decide which things are dangerous or bad and which things are okay. A brain can become confused and get it wrong. This book will help teach your child’s brain to get it right!
What Makes Kids Worry?
Not understanding what is happening or expected
Foods that you do not want to eat
Not having friends
Not understanding what someone wants from you
School work that is hard
…have your child think about what makes him or her worry and create his or her own list.
A Worry Ninja Tool Kit
Your child can help fight back worry thoughts by creating a Worry Ninja Tool Kit! Here are a few ideas for what to put in your kit and there are more in the workbook. Some ideas are for inside the brain and some are for outside, too! Have your child choose the ones that are right for him or her or do them all.
Brain Scavenger Hunt
Have your child search his or her brain for facts to prove that the worry he or she has is likely to happen. Write down those facts in a notebook. Next, search for facts to prove that the worry is unlikely to happen and write those down in the notebook, too. Which list is longer?
For example: The child is worried that a parent who is late is not coming at all.
Practice Relaxing Your Body One Part at a Time
Coach your child to do the following:
- Find a steady and slow deep breathing rhythm, in and out.
- Think of his or her toes feeling heavy and tired.
- Now pretend his or her legs are super sleepy and can’t move off the bed or floor.
- Press his or her back into the bed or floor as though it is stuck there forever.
- Think about his or her arms feeling like big weights that he or she can’t lift.
- Pretend his or her head is now a big heavy coconut laying in the sand.
Voice Activated Brain
Inside his or her head, encourage your child to activate his or her brain to tell him or herself to switch channels to some other thoughts or to clear his or head of any thoughts altogether.
Comfort Zone Poster
To help your anxious child sleep at night, create a Comfort Zone poster. Draw two sleepy eyes at the top of the poster board to start. Then have your child draw pictures, or cut out pictures from magazines, of things that make him or her feel happy. Hang this by his or her bed to look at it while he or she is falling asleep.
Take control of your worries like an expert worry ninja! For more on how to manage anxiety, see I Feel Worried! Tip for Kids on Overcoming Anxiety available on Amazon.com.
Nadine Briggs, Director of Simply Social Kids and Donna Shea, Founder of the Peter Pan Center for Social and Emotional Growth are authors of the How to Make and Keep Friends book and workbook series. Shea and Briggs specialize in coaching and creating simple tips and language for kids with social and emotional learning challenges.