Happy New Year! I am not sure about you but it feels like this year went by rather quickly. In fact the entire holiday season seemed to fly by. It seems like we were just having turkey for Thanksgiving. But, not true. 2012 is upon us and this is when everyone starts talking about "resolution", a resolve or determination. And guess what? Kids can make resolutions as well.
This is a great time of year to look back on what happened in 2011. Doing it with kids is a fun activity to help get them thinking about what they want to stay the same and what they want to be different this year. Taking the family calendar and looking back at all of the things written on it is a good start. I use my work appointment book to look through and see all that has happened in a year. Usually it is surprising all that went on. The kids can make a list of the things they want to stay the same and what they want to be different. These lists should only include occurrences that were within their control. For example, if there is a dentist appointment on the calendar and there were no cavities, they would likely want that to continue, meaning good brushing is in order this year.
Below are some links to help your child make changes in the New Year that will keep them healthy and happy! But remember, if they identify things that were already good and want to keep them up, no change is really needed. A New Year does not HAVE to mean new things. Sometimes our kids have it quite right!
Helping your little worrier
For kids who worry, parents often wish for them to get their worry more under control ... all year. Worry can really creep its way into a family, often changing how everyone acts. Parents and siblings alter how they act or curtail activities to avoid an anxious melt down. If you have a little worrier, try this tip to help them get their worry under control in the new year:
Worry Time: Spending the day worrying is exhausting. Have you ever done it? Maybe you have gotten a call from your boss at 9 a.m. saying, "I need to see you at 3." And that's it. Sometimes our imaginations can get to us and when we worry, it tires us out. This is the same for the wee ones, even more so. So develop a Worry Time. That's correct; appoint a time for all this worrying. Say, at 4:15pm every day your little one can sit down and worry their brains out! For 15 minutes. They can worry about any and everything they want. They can even set an alarm on their watches if they want. But at 4:30 p.m. it is over. Then as the worries creep up for them at times other than worry time, they can tell themselves, "Oops it's not worry time yet, I'll save this for Worry Time." It is a diversion and something that doesn't make them feel like they have to STOP. It allows them to worry, just at a certain time. Usually come 4:15 p.m., they can't remember what they thought of earlier that day.
If your little one is worrying to a level that is affecting your family; if they are having difficulty sleeping or eating, or they cannot concentrate or separate from you in school, it is time to get them some help. It isn't always an easy step to take, but in the end it will minimize the impact on everyone because there is nothing worse than a parent worrying about his or her anxious child. If you wonder where to start for help, ask your child's school social worker for a referral to a local therapist or call your insurance company for a list of covered therapists in your area. If you are living with a little worrier, make your resolution this year to change that for your whole family. Childhood anxiety is common but that doesn't mean that it is easy to cope with. Read more about it here:
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year, in mind and body!
Beverly Carr is a licensed clinical social worker based in Norwich. Visit her at http://beverlycarr.vpweb.com/