A place for worries……

Published November 11, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Worries are a real issue here, I have 3 little girls that carry around a huge bag of worries every day. After spending another evening listening to baby girl reel off a huge list of anxieties after a massive tantrum,  followed by a super tired big girl who told me this morning that she spent all night worrying about a science activity in school today,  and tantrums from middle girl before school again, I decided we needed to try something………..

We’ve tried books with social stories about managing emotions, coping with worries, friendships, school, the list goes on.

We’ve tried worry dolls but they didn’t really take to the idea of telling their worries to a toy, no matter how magical I tried to make it sound.

We’ve tried the idea of dream catchers and dream fairies but they didn’t help.

We’ve tried setting aside special time to talk about things each day, they didn’t respond very well to being put on the spot and just made stuff up.

We tried family meetings but they became far to competitive with them each making up things just so they could be the one with the most to say.

So now we’re trying writing them down…………………

So I’ve been shopping today. I’ve bought 3 very pretty little tins, 3 very pretty little note books, some post-it notes and pens (I’ve also put inside their previously tried ‘worry rabbits’). It didn’t cost much money or take much time but if it works then the results could be amazing!

I’m going to suggest they use their box to write down anything they want to show me, they can bring me their boxes or leave them in my bedroom for me to ‘find’. They can also use their boxes to write down worries that they want to sort out themselves (aka throw in the bin) using the post-it notes.

I’d love to hear how you help your child manage their worries or if you have any other idea’s that you think might help us.

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7 comments on “A place for worries……

  • Along the same lines, as a primary school teacher I’ve always used ‘worry books’ with my classes; every child has one and every child writes (or draws cartoons) in it after lunch every day even if what they write is ‘I have no worries’ or ‘I had sausages for lunch today’. It’s part of the daily routine, as is my reading of every single book, every single day. Entries that need a smiley face, an ‘oh dear!’, a ‘that sounds tricky’ can be responded to quickly (by writing in the child’s worry book and returning it), whilst comments that need something more are replied to with a ‘would you like to tell me more about that…? Bring your worry book with you when you’re ready to tell me about it’ sort of a comment.

    It’s not foolproof but I’ve found that the vast majority of children tend to respond to it positively…eventually and via a few misplaced, thrown away or otherwise ‘missing’ books. Some value the daily dialogue/checking-in, some write ‘I have no worries’ for every entry from September until April when they’ll suddenly splurge, others will never write anything beyond ‘I have no worries’ unless they want to share an injustice (usually playground-related).

    I’ve found it particularly useful with children who have a tendency to tell tales; writing down the tale (or being helped to write it down – my TA and I scribe for children who need that back-up) helps them to process the event and I’ve read many an entry that finishes with, ‘I don’t need you to do anything about it because it’s ok now’. For those children, this record of ups and downs can be a useful tool to demonstrate that when X happened last time, it was solved by doing Y.

    Children who arrive in class in the morning/after assembly/at any point in the day looking out of sorts are encouraged to write down what they’re thinking and, as the year goes on, worry books are more independently accessed and thrust at me outside of the allocated post-lunchtime writing session. My class know that, like leaving the classroom without permission to throw up, they do not need permission to get their worry book and to write in it.

    Lots of things have come to light via worry books, friendship upsets, lack of loo roll in the KS2 toilets, small portions at lunch, the death of a grandparent, a mugging on the way home from school, being worried about a friend, thinking that a parent loves a sibling more than them. Some things we can work through at school e.g. loo roll or lunch portion issues but sometimes I suggest to the child that I invite a parent in so they can be shown the worry (I make a point of telling the children that the books are private in that they are not for sharing with other children but that they are to be shared with adults that care for them – I let children know if I think X, Y or Z needs to know about what has been written and we work out a way for that to happen e.g. would the child like to take it to X themselves, would they like me to ask X to come to class to read it etc.), on a couple of occasions a photocopy of the contents of a worry book has been used by the Police – the books belong to the children and they take them home once the book is full or the school year is over.

    Sorry this is so long! Your girls’ tins made me think of these books (I use the smallest exercise books – what I think of as French vocab books!) and I know from reading your blog that school isn’t an easy place for your girls to be so thought I’d share a whole-class strategy I use.

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