Managing Expectations & Building Resilience
Managing Expectations, an Awesome strategy and our biggest challenge
Structure gives comfort
Help reduce your child's anxiety by managing their expectations. Give them clear instructions on how things will go and give them the opportunity to ask questions if they need more detailed information or instructions.
I don’t know about you, but I get crazy trying to make sure my girls are ready for school on time! I REALLY don’t like rushing out the door super stressed every morning, it’s not a fun way to start the day, for any of us. So we have re-vamped & re-implemented the ‘Daily Routines Chart’ (again) and it’s going great! Both my girls like ticking off each task each day once it’s done, as well as the rewards they get. And I love the fact that everything is done with minimal stress, minimal interaction from me, and on time!
Here is a link to the chart we use, feel free to print it off and implement your own rewards and calm mornings at home. Get the free printable 'Morning Routine Charts' here
Green and Red Thinking
We were introduced to green and red thinking through the ‘Courageous Kids Program’ at Kids First (see link in resources table below). It can be great, but you need to be careful to choose when the timing is right for this to go down well, (not when they are in melt-down, but when things are calmer), it can start some really good discussions.
How to use Green and Red Thinking
Acknowledge each of their thoughts and worries.
Ask if they think this is helpful green thinking? Or unhelpful red thinking?
Ask other questions around their thinking:
What do they think is the worst that could happen? (negative red thinking) Eg. It might not be mufti-day at school and everyone else is wearing their school uniform
What could we do then? Eg. We could go home and I could get changed
What do they think is the best that could happen? (positive green thinking)
The more Positives the better, distraction and a positive focus can create a great mind shift.
Detective Thinking – Help your child manage their own “what if’s”
If your child is anxious about starting something new, there can be sooo many "what if's"!!! ....
Our response as their parent needs to be:
‘What do you think?’
‘What would be an unhelpful thought?’
‘What would be a helpful thought?’
This is referred to as Detective Thinking from the Cool Kids Anxiety Program (see link below).
This helps them become more self-reliant, rather than expecting us to continually reassure them that it will be ok.
And one of my favourites, because we can’t always be sure it is going to go to plan. Let’s just ‘Give it a Go’ (thanks Forestville!).
Using Growth Mindset – Help when your child says “I can’t…”
And when the “I can’t do it’s” start popping up… Introduce some Growth Mindset tools.
The simplest way to do this is by adding “Yet” to the end of their sentences, “You can’t do it… YET”, and then ask “but… what might help you get better at it, so you CAN do it one day?” (An easy and great answer here is: Practice!)
Give examples: “…sports stars, do you think they were born Olympic level swimmers? Or do you think they have and continue to practice A LOT?!?”
You can find some fantastic Free Growth Mindset Printables on the Big Life Journal website (see link to the website in below).
PROGRAMS AND VIDEOS TO HELP WITH MANAGING ANXIETY
Courageous Kids is an Anxiety Prevention & Resilience Program for Children, run by Kids First. This is where we were first introduced to a fantastic strategy to help manage worries through green and red thinking.
The Cool Kids program is a structured, skills-based program that teaches children (including teenagers) and their parent(s) how to better manage a child’s anxiety. This is where we learnt about Detective Thinking, another great strategy for managing anxious thinking.
Receive fantastic Free Growth Mindset Printables from Big Life Journal.
Find a list of Top Growth Mindset Movies for Children on the Big Life Journal website.
The Resilience Centre provides programs, courses and has a team of Psychologists to help manage anxiety and build resilience. ‘Because life happens’.
I haven’t done any of their courses yet, but they have some great information and resources.
YouTube Video: Tales of Resilience, Living with Anxiety (4 mins) by Kate Elton. It is a short and inspiring video from a young person living with Anxiety. Kate shares how far she’s come and what has and continues to work for her.
YouTube Video: Gifts in Shitty Wrapping Paper (18 mins) by Jules Allen. Jules shares why she thinks the TRUE key to successfully managing anxiety is Acceptance rather than Resilience.
A confronting and very moving TedX talk.