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Reading Corner: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety (& Activity)

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Many people suffer from worry and anxiety…moms and dads as well as kids. But the question is: what are some of the symptoms or signs of anxiety in your child?

  • worrying constantly about things that might happen
  • restlessness, defiance, tantrums, aggression
  • physical complaints such as stomach-ache, headache and fatigue
  • avoiding or refusing to go places or do things

What can a mom or dad do to help a child who is struggling with anxiety?

  • schedule an appointment with the pediatrician who may refer you to a therapist or counselor
  • establish a consistent daily routine
  • respect your child’s fears
  • teach and practice relaxation skills
  • talk to your child about his worries
  • read picture books where the main character is dealing with this problem

Picture books are a wonderful tool that parents can use to help their young children deal with many of the challenges they encounter in those early years. Every picture book has an important message…reading the story to your child provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss the problem.

The Worry Glasses: Overcoming Anxiety

Written by Donalisa Helsley

Illustrated by Kalpart

Publisher: Mirror Publishing (2012)

Ages: 3-9

Themes:

Overcoming anxiety, worrying, family support, empowering children, believing in yourself.

Opening lines:

“My name is Marjorie, but everyone calls me MJ. I love having fun, but I used to miss out on doing fun things because I was so worried.”

Synopsis:

MJ doesn’t swim with her family when they went on vacation because she was worried about sharks. She didn’t ride a horse at camp because she was worried she would fall off. And she didn’t go to a friend’s party because she was worried no one would play with her.

MJ’s mother realizes there is a problem and takes her daughter to their pediatrician…who recommends they see a counselor. The counselor is able to help MJ find ways to relax and view her fears in a more realistic way.

Why do I like this book:

This is a PERFECT book for young children who are beset with worries and anxiety (as many are). I wish this book had been available to me when I was a little girl. Ms Helsley provides the actual anxiety-relieving exercises that a counselor would give to a child who had this problem. In addition, there are parenting tips at the back of the book that will be helpful, not only to a parent for their child…but also to anyone who suffers from anxiety.

If you’d like to learn more about this award-winning author and the other books she has written, please visit her at http://www.wildaboutreading.net/

Related Activities:

WORRY-LESS GLASSES (photo courtesy of artistshelpingchildren.org)

Your child will have so much fun, making these ‘worry-less’ glasses. Put them on…and help your child examine carefully the things that are worrying him or her. Sometimes talking about a problem and sharing it will lessen its power.

You will need: Pipe cleaners, piece of cardboard, markers, pair of scissors.

  1. Bend one pipe cleaner into a circle and twist the ends together.
  2. Do the same thing with another pipe cleaner.
  3. Twist two pipe cleaners together to form the nose piece…and attach an end to each of the circles.
  4. Attach one pipe cleaner to the outside edge of each of the circles. (these are the temple pieces that go over the ear)
  5. Fit the glasses on your child’s face and bend down each temple piece so the glasses stay on your child’s face.
  6. If you like, you can cut out cardboard circles to fit in the glasses and draw eyes on them. Then cut out a circle in the middle of each so that the child can see out of them and fit them into the pipe cleaner glasses. Personally, I like it better without this…less muss, less fuss…and less chance of the child getting frustrated by the cardboard circles falling out.

Tune in to YouTube…Ms. Kirkfield reads the story and shows how to make the glasses in the latest episode of Show Me How Picture Books and Crafts for Kids: http://youtu.be/ObgrDLEmWpI

Vivian Kirkfield is a mother of three, a former kindergarten teacher and the author of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, a book that includes hundreds of picture book recommendations and activities. She lives near Denver in the Colorado Rockies and is passionate about picture books, enjoys hiking and fly-fishing with her husband, and loves reading, crafting and cooking with kids during school and library programs. To learn more about her mission to help every child become a reader and a lover of books, please visit her Positive Parental Participation blog or contact her to arrange for a school visit or hands-on parent/teacher workshop at vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com. If you order a book from her web-site in January, you will receivea BONUS GIFT of a hand-crafted fabric bookmark…what a great DEAL!  This is a must-have resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and daycare providers.

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