The Chronicle



HAVING experience­d anxiety as a child, new mum and life coach Tammi Kirkness shares her tips to ease your little ones’ worries.

When I was a kid I tried really hard to not make mistakes. Overall, I was a bit of a worrier.

Anxiety can affect anyone of any age. It’s tempting to want to protect kids from things that worry them, however the more we help them talk about their fears and worries, the more resilient they will be.

My parents were amazing, but if I could send a message back through time to relieve some of the tummy-twisting worry, I would. Here are some of the things I would suggest that might help your little one, too.

1. Learn to release other people’s feelings Kids who are empathetic frequently feel the feelings of others, but it can often cause emotional fatigue. To help release feelings that aren’t theirs, have them repeat this after you: “Even though I care a lot about others, it’s not my job to feel other people’s feelings. I choose now to breathe out all feelings that aren’t mine”. Have them take a deep breath and breathe out everyone else’s worries.

2. Quieten perfection­ism

When we try to make things perfect it leads us into the trap of black-and-white thinking. When kids think things are either all good or all bad it loads the pressure on. To help your child remember everything will be OK no matter what they create, add in a time boundary. Have them guess how long it might take them to finish a task and wherever they are up to when that time rolls around is where they stop. It could also help to talk about how finishing something feels better than spending too long trying to perfect it. 3. Focus on fun and enjoyment Emphasise enjoying things also helps that black-and-white style of thinking relax. If you find they are getting stuck doing something a certain way, have them list some things they are enjoying about the activity.

Tammi Kirkness is a Sydney-based life coach who specialise­s in holistic wellness and anxiety management.

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