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A Kids Guide to Overcoming Worry & Anxiety (made simple)

We all know that it is important to have a good base from which to set off and explore life in order to confidently develop healthy future relationships. Developing trust early on is vital to healthy relationship. Trusting in your caregivers to feed you, keep you warm and safe are the beginnings of viewing a world through a healthy perspective. Years ago I set out to study Maternal and Paternal Sensitivity and It's Effect On Attachment for my graduate thesis. My findings concluded with significance that in fact learning to trust ones parents/caregivers early on significantly impacted later relationships in life. I won’t bore you with the details but in a nutshell a secure base as coined by the famous Psychologist, John Bowlby is vital for developing secure attachments later in life which ultimately help to serve as your buffers when life gets tough. Why do you need to know this? What is a buffer and why does my child need it to help with his/her anxiety?

When your young, like up to age five, your buffers are your caregivers and maybe your blankie and binkie. They comfort you when you are feeling sad or unsure or even when your just simply tired. As kids get older- comforts (buffers) remain parents but friends can be buffer providers too now along with a good game of soccer, or even a great video game (yes I said video games…yikes!). As kids grow older and hormones begin to kick in I especially recommend physical activity as a buffer. It is a great way to blow steam, regroup and release some extra energy which is how anxiety manifests in the body and how it is released best. Essentially, buffers are there to comfort you, make you feel better and provide good feeling endorphins when times get tough. They can offset the pain of loss, fear and get kids through challenging times. These comforts/buffers (hopefully healthy ones) are important to have in everyday life for everyone. But for the anxious kids it is crucial that they have these buffers in place and that they have identified these buffers. Do they turn to a book, tv, internet, text a friend? Whatever it is they should know what makes them feel good when they are down and they should always have access to their comforts when times get tough. A child (or an adult) will do better in an anxious situation and during particularly stressful times when they have buffers and use them. What are your buffers and how have they helped you to get through some hard times? Have a discussion with your child about what their buffers are and how they can help them during times of high anxiety. Having buffers in places strengthens mental resiliency. Its great to discuss the connection between their feelings and what they do to cope. Making this type of connection is proactive and can help to identify unhealthy patterns early. (Think of some of your unhealthy buffers too!) We are role models for our kids so what you do to cope also sends them a message about how to cope. That is important. Think about that. I know I will now that I just pointed it out to everyone else! Look -we are all parents learning as we go- myself included. I learn from my own posts as well. I sometimes didn't realize something until well I wrote it for everyone else. So no judgment here..that I promise. But seriously, what are your own buffers? Its never too late for a positive change! Just remember-buffers for anxious kids can mean the difference between a bad day and a complete and absolute meltdown. Help your kid today to learn his/her own individualized roadmap for success. Help them to identify the tools they need to be successful even during challenging times. That’s all for now. Best, Stacy

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