The school gates are due to open in a matter of days. I have helpfully reminded all those concerned about this fact in an effort to ease them into the next mind-set.
Monday night our quieter boy came back down the stairs to tell me he thought he was going to be sick. I managed to convince him otherwise and tucked him back in.
Last night he appeared again. “I have the hic-cups so when I lie down I think I’m going to be sick.”
He is not going to be sick. I know exactly what is bothering him.
School is bothering him. The thoughts of it are bothering him. I went upstairs with him and sat on his bed. We had a chat. Or at least I tried to chat to him. He turned away from me to face the wall. I chatted anyway.
We did a little relaxation exercise taken from a book I can highly recommend called A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety” by Dawn Huebner, PH.D.
You might also find it helpful for your child if they are worrying about the return to school. Or about any other anxious occasion in their life.
Picture your mind like a television and the worry thoughts are a programme you don’t want to watch. Think about changing that channel on the television. You can do this by “re-setting your system” and this means doing something to change the way your body feels.
Try this relaxation exercise.
Squeeze your hands into tight fists.
Scrunch up your face.
Tense your body.
Hold this “body scrunch” for 5 seconds.
Then let everything go so you are nice and floppy.
Now it’s time to breathe deeply.
Imagine the breath you are taking in as being cool and calming. Think of it going all the way down into your tummy.
Now breathe out. Think about this breath out as beign hot and bothered air.
In – cool and calm.
Out – hot and bothered.
Do this 5 times.
This next bit is my favourite.
Pick a happy memory. It can be anything at all. As long as it gives you happy thoughts when you think about it. It can be a tastier than usual hot chocolate. A day at the zoo. Going into the shop and finding your favourite magazine.
Now, think about what you see. What are you wearing? Can you hear anything? How do you feel?
When I did this exercise with the boy it was intended for, two more joined in and had a great time.
Ten minutes later the hic-cups were gone and all thoughts of feeling sick had stopped. He wasn’t facing the wall anymore and he wrote down a couple of good things that had happened that day as well.
Then he fell asleep.
I think a little distraction exercise like this can work for everyone.