I was always a shy child until I met a wonderful teacher who suggested drama to build my self-confidence.
This supported me to flourish and grow.
I’m now working in positions that enable me to speak in front of people to build confidence in others. This enables others to be successful in any learning endeavours that they wish to pursue.
I am still an anxious adult who over-analyses most situations. However, I now have the coping mechanisms to minimize anxiety on a daily basis.
If you are concerned that you have an anxious child, please consider my 7 top tips for reducing anxiety, empowering children and building resiliency in the early years.
MEDITATION – Foster children’s emotional wellbeing by providing meditation practices on a daily basis. Why not practice meditation for 15 minutes a day as an experience with young children. This will not only help children’s wellbeing, but will promote calmness in the environment. This is especially useful for children with challenging behaviour as a way for them to learn to self-regulate their own behaviour. There are some great yoga postures that relate to objects such as animals and nature to engage the children with.
CALMING DOWN – Encourage children to breathe deeply by counting to 5, and then release their breath. This will support children to self-regulate when they’re feeling anxious, frustrated or scared. A great game to promote this practice is the children pretending to blow up a balloon and then release the balloon…woosh it goes!
TALKING ABOUT FEELINGS – Support children to recognise their own emotions and to discuss how they are feeling. Ask open-ended questions such as “I can see that you are sad. Can you tell me why you’re feeling sad?” When children are able to recognise their own emotions, they will also begin to demonstrate empathy for others.
GET OUT INTO NATURE – There has been significant research undertaken regarding the benefits of nature for young children and adults alike. Provide a meaningful natural environment for the children to explore. This will promote freedom and a sense of calmness for children. This will also minimise the hours spent on computers and other gadgets to the detriment of the developing brain.
SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH CHILDREN – Children seek out meaningful attention with adults that they feel secure with. Spending quality time listening to children will help them to feel more relaxed in the environment. Children that feel a connection with their world, will have a higher self-esteem and therefore less anxiety as a result.
EMPOWER CHILDREN – Building resiliency in the early years is crucial for children’s social and emotional wellbeing. Children may be exposed to a variety of events or traumas in their life. This may include the loss of a loved one, family breakdown and/or moving to a new country.
DRAMATIC PLAY AND STORYTELLING – Of course, encouraging children to explore their creativity and imagination are a wonderful way to lessen anxiety in young children. The children will be able to engage in their own fantasy world through interactions that involve drama and storytelling activities.
Remember that as Educators we have a responsibility and duty of care to act in the best interests of the children and their families. Refer to the Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for further information and guidance.
Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au of https://web.facebook.com/earlychildhoodaustralia/
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child www.humanrights.gov.au