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A Win Against Anxiety


We had a win against Emma’s anxiety.  At school the preps are doing swimming lessons.  One of her friends was a bit excited and pushed Emma’s head under the water.  Emma already has had a near drowning experience and with her anxiety at mega level it understandably upset her.

I contacted her class teacher immediately of the problem as I was not happy that it was not stopped.  I also took the next day off work to get to swimming to support her.  I spoke with her teacher and we decided that I would come once she was in the water.

Sadly I got a call from the school saying Em was upset at the pool and as I walked in the door she was hysterical.  She simply was too scared to go into the pool.  So I managed to sit in the pool area.  Instead of trying to coax her into the water, I sat her on my knee and simply sat with her emotions.

She cried her eyes out and I massaged her from head to toe with a deep pressure massage and there we sat.  I wasn’t expecting anything at all and if we sat there to the end of the swim session then that was a win.  I talked about what the children were doing in the water and just sat there.  The she got off my knee and got undressed and I suggested about getting in with another group which had friends in there and she had fun for the last 5 minutes.

Today, I went to swimming and she went happily into the pool.

Sometimes we do not have to fix the problem and  just be comfortable with sitting with their emotions which is the first step.

Helpful Strategies for Children with Anxiety at Home.

I have numerous people email me for some helpful strategies for children with anxiety at home, so I thought I would share some helpful tips for everyone.  I am not giving out a lot of tips all at once as that can be quite overwhelming for parents to see what works and what does not work at home.  So I will put up numerous posts that you can follow.

Anxious children like to have a sense of control in their lives.  They prefer like to be predictable, know what is expected of them and know what the consequences are for inappropriate behaviour.

Some helpful strategies are:

Setting limits which can be a massive challenge for parents especially as children grow older.  If limits are repeated and enforced, they help everyone feel more secure and, usually, a child or teen’s behaviour will improve. It can be a relief to have adults in charge!

Routines also help to reduce anxiety. But anxiety tends to disrupt routines. You need to work hard to build family routines so life is more predictable for your child. Help your child adjust to new family routines by preparing him or her in advance. Ask your child to help plan the new routine, and introduce it gradually. Making an attractive schedule for the fridge provides a sense of control and order.

Bedtime routines! A bedtime routine involves doing the same things, in the same order, at the same time, just before going to bed. This ritual helps your child gradually relax and wind down. For both your child and the rest of the family, a routine that lasts about 15 to 30 minutes is best. However, stimulating activities should start to wind down about an hour before bed (e.g. turning computer games off).

You can also include into your routine

  • warm milk or a small snack
  • a warm bath
  • read or tell a story

For older children set out times:

  • some one on one time to talk about their day.  Building a relationship with your child so that they know they can come and talk to you without you passing on your opinion, judgement is essential for children with anxiety.  You can ask them simply questions to help them come up with the answers to their problems is important.
  • Have soft music playing in the house can be quite calming when you do not have any TV on
  • Reading books, magazine together can give a child the chance to relax
  • Practicing some relaxation techniques.

For both young and older children, you can use weighted blankets which is about 10% of their body weight.  They can put them on and it helps calm down their sensory systems.  Drinking milkshakes through straws can help calm down the nervous system.  The girls come home and have a milk shake and I do see an improvement in their moods.  The straws with curves are even better for further sucking.  We have a swinging chair in our lounge room and Grace likes to jump in their and read a book.  Emma on the other hand likes to hide so we have numerous places she can retreat to.

If you have any questions about this topic feel free to ask them in the below box. If you have any suggestions which can be added please feel free to add them below or through the facebook comment box so that we can come up with an extensive list of strategies to help children with anxiety at home.

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It’s Hard Watching My Child With Anxiety!

Grace lines

To watch my child with anxiety is heart breaking.  As a person who suffers from high anxiety it is hard enough for me to deal with on a bad day.  The feeling that I have to flee from somewhere.  The tightness in my chest and upper body.  The feeling like I need to go to the toilet desperately.  The feeling that self harming is a way to escape the pain and turmoil within me.

The look of panic when I ask her something.  The need for her to line up her toys in lines. The above line has been moved and now three rows deep.  We got to the stage where there would be so many lines there was no floor space and watch out if you moved anything by a millimetre.  The clinging onto me when we enter the school gates.  Plus we can not forget the emotional volcano that erupts when we get home.  But that is only one part of the autism spectrum.

Strategies to help your child with anxiety:

  • We give Grace a chew necklace to give her something to chew on.  It is also a great visual tool for the teachers to know where her anxiety is at with the rate she is chewing it.
  • Listen to your child.  We do not need to have all the answers as sometimes it helps with listening and a cuddle.
  • Normalize what your child is feeling.  I find Grace understands more when I explain how I feel when I am feeling anxious.
  • Model ways to relax and let the child discover what works for them.  Grace tends to ask for breaks where she tunes out to her environment.  Sometimes she likes to do jump and crash type activities.  Grace also uses re
  • Avoid giving your child excessive reassurance but encourage your child your child to use their coping strategies.

If you would like help with creating a wonderful relationship with your child and you helping your child with anxiety is a goal for you please have a look at the two links below so that I can help you.


How to Help a Child with Autism During the Christmas Period

Amaze (Autism Victoria) in their monthly magazine The Spectrum Volume 9, Number 4, Summer Edition 2013-14, they have written a wonder article about how to reduce the anxiety and stress for ASD children.

Strategies that they have suggested are:

  • Talk about the holiday period and what that means for your child and family.
  • Minimise change as children are finishing schools for the year and will be heading into longer holidays.
  • Continue to continue to use positive behavioural strategies.
  • Make a visual calendar/timetable for them to follow.
  • Talk about any changes.
  • Keep routine as much as possible
  • Create photos albums of people who they will see at functions.

These could be some really important for children with autism.