As an adult stress, anxiety and worry can be challenging emotions to manage. We can become overwhelmed, distressed and begin having catastrophic thoughts. For our children it is equally as difficult if not more to manage these emotions. Children do not have the emotional capacity or brain development like that of an adult and need out help to reduce the heightened power of these emotions.
One of the tools I use when working with children to help them work through these emotions is the 5 C’s
Let me explain these in a bit more detail.
Catch the thought that you think is making you the most nervous
Check and see if this is the “worry thought” that is causing you stress
Collect evidence for why this thought is making you worried
Challenge the evidence by using information you know to be true and discredits the worry
Change the “worry thought” to a thought that you now know is true because of the ‘challenge step’
The 5C’s are a great way to grasp hold of our worry and not allow it to control our thoughts or emotions. The C’s reengage the logical part of our brain that tends to be overtaken by strong emotions. The more we as adults practice the 5 C’s and help children do the same the easier it will become over time to avoid distressing moments and reduce the chance of catastrophic thoughts to form.
Utilizing these tools helps us and our children remain in control when worry tries to gain the control. Anxiety, stress and worry may be a part of our day, but it does not mean it has to take over our day. Begin practicing these with ‘small worries’ for yourself and then with your child. This way when a ‘big worry’ comes up you are already prepared and in practice of working through the 5 C’s.