3 Valuable Resources for Managing Children’s Anxiety
Jul 29, 2016
“Knowledge is Power.”-- Francis Bacon
Anxiety comes in many forms and is not exclusive to adulthood. Children can also experience various degrees of anxiety triggered by a range of situations. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that up to 25% of children between the ages of 13-18 experience some level of anxiety, so it’s perfectly normal for children to have anxious feelings, or feelings of worry, when a situation is new or unfamiliar.
Even if students aren’t new to the school, other significant changes can prompt a spike in a student’s anxiety when starting the new year. New teachers, classrooms, routines, faces, and the prospect of making new friends can be at the root of various anxieties for students...and sometimes parents too!
Understanding how to help our families minimize anxiety during this exciting time of year is a priority for us, so we have compiled three resources that can help you talk to your kids about anxiety and give you insights on how to help them cope with their feelings.
At World Academy, we’re committed to providing ongoing education and training for our teachers and staff. It’s important that we share a level of understanding so we can serve as a resource to families who have children experiencing any degree of anxiety during the school year. Last year, as part of our back-to-school “In Service” day, our teachers and staff participated in a workshop directed by Lynn Lyons, LICSW, an expert in childhood anxiety with over 20 years’ experience.
Lynn authored the highly-regarded book for parents of children with anxiety entitled, Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & Independent Children. In this book, co-written with Reid Wilson, Lyons provides a step-by-step plan to better understand and navigate the feelings of anxious kids. She explains the difference between healthy worrying and debilitating anxiety, teaching parents how to encourage both optimism and courage.
Coming up in August, as our teachers and staff prepare for students to return to school, we will welcome another expert who is highly-regarded in the area of childhood anxiety. Dr. Christopher Willard has more than a decade of experience in mental health and educational settings as a psychologist, learning specialist, teacher and author. He has written several books including, Child's Mind, The Teen Mindfulness and Anxiety Workbook, and The Teen Mindfulness and Depression Workbook. His most recent work, published this year, is entitled, Growing Up Mindful. This new book helps parents and educators learn how to embody and share the skills of mindfulness that will empower children so they can navigate through their emotions and feelings of anxiety.
One of the best ways to help children with anxiety is by simply talking through things. Most of us would agree that there is something therapeutic about putting a voice to worries, especially when a parent or trusted adult is listening. This is why children’s books that address this topic are so valuable. This third and final resource we’re recommending is written in a way that helps to initiate that important dialogue between a parent and their child who is suffering from anxiety. What to Do when You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide To Overcoming Anxiety, written by Dawn Huebner and illustrated by Bonnie Matthews is an interactive workbook that allows the child to write, share and then openly discuss the emotions they’re feeling. Parents and children read and fill in the workbook-style pages together and a dialogue ensues. (This book is best suited for children over six years old.)
The area of childhood anxiety is complex and it continues to receive a great deal of research and attention. At World Academy, it is important that our teaching and administrative teams stay intimately connected to topics like anxiety that affect our students’ abilities to learn, develop and grow to their maximum potential. We will continue to stay at the forefront of this topic and commit to sharing what we learn along the way!