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'Hector's Favorite Place' - Read and Rise May 2021

 

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.


Last week we touched on the big feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness with the story "Sometimes I'm Bombaloo" by Rachel Vail. This week we're going to tackle the a different big feeling - worry. 

I have always been a worrier but I never knew how to help ease the worry so I would just keep getting anxious - often about the same kind of situation - over and over and over again. Now that I have children of my own, I feel compelled to learn to deal with my own anxiety so that I can help them not become lifelong worriers like myself. 

The first thing I want to point out is that worry and fear have a very important part to play in our lives - they help keep us safe. The problem is when the worry and fear keep us from doing things that aren't really dangerous. I feel like the problematic worries usually fall into two categories: over-worry about getting hurt or sick and worry about being embarrassed or left out. You can see examples of these kinds of worry in today's story, "Hector's Favorite Place" by Jo Rook. Hector doesn't want to go out for a walk in the snow because he's worried he might get cold and sick and he doesn't want to go ice skating because he's worried he'll fall and hurt himself. Then, when Hector gets invited to a party, he thinks, "What if I can't dance?" Listen to the story with your children and find out if Hector lets his worries keep him from trying new things or if he'll learn to be brave and face his fears!




Activity: I think it's incredibly important as parents to not dismiss our children's worries as silly or meaningless or to simply tell them not to worry. I know better than most that once you start worrying, you can't just stop! That worry energy needs to go somewhere just like the angry energy or sad energy. Talk about the different things that worried Hector in the story and see if your children can come up with strategies to help him feel more brave. For example, if he's worried about getting too cold and getting sick out in the snow, he can bundle up to stay warm! 

And if your child gets anxious often, use the same strategy with their worries. Ask them what they think will happen and if they'll be able to handle it, or what they can do to help them feel braver. When I get really worried about something, I try to pause and really think it through now. I see if I can pinpoint what it is I feel worried about and then make a can't control/can control list. Then when the worry starts creeping up again, I can look at my list and choose something on the "can control" side to put my energy into. 

I'll do a simple example of this with Hector's worry about going out into the cold:
Can't control: the temperature, how much snow is out there
Can control: what he wears, how much time he spends outside

This is a great tool you can teach your children, and something they can learn to do all on their own without relying on you to ease their worries for the rest of their lives. Occasionally though, there is nothing you can do, at least at the moment. I remember a time when one of my children was experiencing some pain that I didn't know the cause of. I called the pediatrician and was told to come in to have the doctor check it out. There was literally nothing I could do until we went to the doctor and found out what the problem was and how we could fix it. At that point, instead of waiting and worrying for hours, that's when I just needed to divert the worry energy into ANYTHING else. A big feelings kit could come in handy here, the list of coping strategies in this post, or any activities that fill your/your child's bucket! 


I hope these strategies help you and your children take control of worry! For more information, check out this article about calming anxiety in children. And if you feel like you need more help, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

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