Worry. It’s an emotion that affects all of us – everything from day-to-day “small” worries to “bigger” life-changing events. Feeling worried is a normal part of life. When life is disrupted by serious illness or death, it can be difficult to manage the feelings that trigger us to worry. Children are more likely to worry about things they were never worried about before, such as changes in family dynamics, and even death itself. These worries, if unaddressed, can quickly start to affect things like school, focus, learning, and sleep.
This month children and teens in Tu Nidito’s support groups are working through the emotional pain of serious illness or grief by acknowledging their worries and how to manage them.
Working Through our Worries – Activity for Children and Teens
For younger children, ages 4-12, it’s helpful to first define what it means and feels like to be worried. Begin with the book “Is a Worry Worrying You?” By Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz.
Next, ask the child to draw a picture of, or write about, one of their biggest worries. Once they have finished their picture or writing, ask them if they would like to share about their worry. Finally, crumple up the drawing or writing and throw it away, encouraging children to “release” their worry for now by thinking another thought, remembering a good time that they had, or talking about their worry with someone.
For teens, use a Worry Tree to identify worries and how to manage them. Encourage teens to share their responses if they feel comfortable.
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