Children's Therapy Archives - A Step at a Time

Flatten the mental health curve at home!

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As we exit lockdown and resume a semblance of normality mental health has become the buzz word of the moment. But, how do we ensure that we are actually planning for mental health and not just playing lip service to the current trending terminology? Mental health describes a child or adolescent who has a positive sense of self and their abilities, a child with good mental health has good coping mechanisms to manage everyday stressors. Mental health can be seen as a continuum, moving between mental health and mental ill-health. We all have mental health, and as such, we will have times in life when it may be better or we may struggle. For those who regularly read my blogs, you will have seen the timelines I released early on in lockdown predicting times and areas when we need to be aware of our family’s stressors and also key events which…

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Why treating mental health is like peeling an onion

Posted by | anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, mental health, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Mental health, and the treatment of it, causes so many families chaos, confusion and frustration. Accessing support can be difficult and in some cases impossible, and when support is accessed the expectations can differ from the outcomes. When working with clients, I frequently talk about mental health being an onion. Onions have layers and layers that you can peel back.  Some mental health issues are isolated, and therefore can be stripped in one go, therefore only requiring 1-2 sessions. Other mental health issues have developed over months, years, have multiple affects and triggers and therefore require us to strip off more layers to return to positive well-being – therefore requiring multiple sessions over a period of weeks or years. In some cases, clients will have attempted a number of therapies for only 1-2 sessions and when not finding an immediate cure give up and move to the next therapy. Others,…

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Planning for the summer – Helping children to manage expectations and develop patience

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, relationships, self-esteem, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

After months of disappointment, life being tipped upside down and some massive changes to daily routines, as adults we can feel discombobulated, and for children, many feel like their brains are about to explode. Supporting children to make sense of the world and to feel safer is key to building their resilience and helping them to manage natural anxiety. With the summer holidays now upon us, there is a wonderful opportunity to support children to start putting their worlds back into order so that they are well prepared for the return to school. Our brains run on patterns; every opportunity, sensory experience, place we visit, thing we hear is quickly run back to our brains stored knowledge to check if it is ‘safe’ ‘acceptable’ or ‘similar’ to what we have known before. If something matches then we can push forward, if not, it can raise anxiety levels, adrenalin or fear…

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Computers, teenagers and mental health

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, computer games, gaming, mental health, screen time, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Technology has taken the world by storm in the last ten years, and with it, brought new levels of graphics, entertainment and browsing. Long gone are the days of being impressed by a Commodore 64 or a Gameboy, as platform games and interactive social media platforms now absorb hours of our days. Whilst technology has opened new forms of communication, entertainment and interaction, alongside the blessings, for many it has brought a new curse onto their households. A curse that few people can avoid, adults, teens and children alike. Whilst some can take and leave electronics, easily switching off and putting them aside. For others, computers and electronics create unhealthy attachments and create huge emotional responses. The Royal College of Paedatrics and Child Health, surveyed 109 children and young people and found that: 88% of children and young people (11-24 years) acknowledged that screen time had a negative impact on…

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Strategies to support children: Homemade Sensory Boxes

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, grief, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, well-being | No Comments

Helping children to manage their emotions and learn to regulate them can be a daunting task. Children’s rapid brain development means that whilst they develop logic and reasoning from the age of 5, they can often be impulsive, as the frontal cortex of the brain, which controls logic develops much later. In fact, the frontal cortex development continues into adulthood, so recognising that children need our help to develop reasoning and control is the first step to connecting and helping them. The later development of the frontal cortex means that children; are more likely to act on impulse are less likely to think before they act are more likely to take risks or act out risky behaviours have difficulty considering the consequence of their actions may behave in inappropriate ways Therefore, as adults, supporting children to develop the knowledge and understanding of these areas is important in their social and…

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Supporting children with angry feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, self-esteem, Stress | No Comments

Why do we get angry?? Everyone has a different response to anger, and the reason for this is that everyone interprets the environment, relationships and situations differently. This is dependent on previous experience, developmental stage and our understanding of our own emotions and triggers. As such, no response to a situation is right or wrong, but merely our own response formed from our pre-learnt reactions. For children, as their brain development is in an escalated period and changing daily, their response to situations may not be what is deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘desired’ but will, like our own responses, be a response to the emotions that they are feeling internally and the learnt responses they have developed to date. These may be their ‘fight-flight-freeze-faint’ responses, they may be responses learnt from previous experiences or they may be learnt responses from the people around them. So, where do these responses come from?…

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How to recognise signs of poor mental health in children and 5 ways to support children at home.

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, emotional eating, grief, low mood, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

The thing about mental health, is that we all have it. If we imagine it as a swinging pendulum, throughout out life times, our mental health moves between good mental well-being and poor mental well-being, depending on life circumstances, events and situations. Everyone can have days when their mental health feels more sensitive, but for some, realising that their mental health is suffering and needs support can be a shock. For children and teenagers, brain development is ever changing and moving, children’s pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain that supports rational thought, seeing perspectives, solving problems and regulation continues its development throughout childhood and adolescence. So, we cannot expect our children to know how to manage their own feelings without guidance and support. In addition, as their primary responses come from their limbic brain system we can often see strong emotions, reactive and instinctive responses to issues –…

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5 tips to supporting children in separated families

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, Children's Therapy, loss, parent separation, relationships, sensitive children, separation anxiety | No Comments

Family separations bring with them a great deal of emotions, for parents, children and the wider family. As parents adjust to co-parenting finding ways to connect, interact and support children in an optimal way is paramount. Whilst some families glide into co-parenting, others can find that the transition is more difficult and the uncertainty of the best ways to support children can feel difficult to navigate. So, whilst the list of strategies and approaches is endless, here’s five ways that you can underpin your behaviours and reactions to co-parenting to best support children in the transitions. Keep child centred – work at their pace Co-parenting is an adjustment for parents and children, however, for children, the transition can be fraught with anxiety, worry and uncertainty. Particularly around when they will see their parent again and what will happen next. In many cases, parents may have been planning or been aware…

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10 Resources to support children with anxiety

Posted by | anxiety, books, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, life coaching, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety | No Comments

If your child is prone to anxiety, offering them support and knowing what to say, can feel really difficult. Offering children an environment where they feel able to talk without judgement, feel accepted and have their emotions respected becomes fundamental to helping them to grow their confidence and resilience. At its core, for children to feel more in control we need to help them build their resilience skills. Resilience is all about our ability to manage situations and bounce back from difficulties. In order to foster resilience we need: To develop children’s awareness of what their emotions mean To support children to develop the vocabulary for their emotions To help children to recognise their triggers and know what the feelings are that occur when faced with them To support children to learn positive coping mechanisms to manage their feelings In this blog, i’ll be sharing ten resources that you can…

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Motivating children, teenagers (and adults) to get things done

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, excuses, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Motivation is the word on everyone’s lips right now, at its fundamental core, as the world becomes a peculiar place and boredom and monotony sets in, removing us from the from the initial novelty factor how do we help our children and teenagers (as well as ourselves) to get motivated, and most importantly, is that even what we need? What is motivation? Motivation is defined as: “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”. Motivation can be intrinsic – coming from us, where we have a personal motivation to achieve something or extrinsic – where we do something because we are told to, or there is a reward for it e.g. money, success It indicates that we have a desire, or purpose which drives us to get things done. But, how does that fare in a pandemic? When we have countless days ahead of us? No…

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Supporting Separation Anxiety in Older Children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

In many cases, people can forget that older children can be as prone to separation anxiety as younger children and toddlers. In fact, as the years tick by, as a therapist, I see more and more children experiencing separation anxiety. What does it look like? In its simplest terms, separation anxiety, is when a child, teen or an adult is scared/afraid to be away from a particular person. Albeit a parent, guardian, partner or a pet. The concept of being apart from them creates severe anxiety. This can include physical and emotional symptoms: Headaches Stomach aches Crying / distress Begging or pleading not to leave Screaming Panic (inc. shaking, hiding) Retching or being sick Fear of leaving the significant person A fear that something ‘bad’ will happen if they are not with them A fear of being alone Refusal to sleep alone Refusal to sleep away from home / away…

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Supporting introvert and sensitive children

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, introverts, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

Having a child who is not the first in queue to do new things, meet new people or sit and chat, can feel that there is something wrong. However, for some children, being introverted or sensitive can mean that rather than think that there is something wrong with them, we need to identify how we can adapt our routines and behaviours to help them thrive. Introverts, are by nature, quieter, more reserved and happier to spend alone, whilst extroverts enjoy socialising, being active and larger groups. Whilst this is only the tip of the iceberg, we can often see in children we know, those who are happier in their own, peaceful worlds, and those who quickly become bored in their own company. The concern is often, whether the introverted behaviours are introverted or something to be concerned about. Signs of introverted child Deep thinkers and processors Self-sufficient Insular, reserved and…

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Supporting toddlers through separation anxiety

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, separation anxiety | No Comments

So many parents contact me regarding separation anxiety. In some cases, the anxiety is a normal developmental stage, in others it is part of a separation issues which is causing the child anxiety symptoms. So, how do we know the difference? Around 7 to 8 months old, children develop a concept called object permanence. This means that they understand that something still exists even when it is out of sight. Think about young children for a moment, and how, if you hide a toy they do not go looking for it, and may even cry when it is not in sight? Once a child has object permanence they will seek out toys or people when they are not visible. It is therefore natural, that at around this stage children can want to stay with primary carers and not want them out of sight. Most children will naturally work through this…

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Managing children’s disappointment when they have to stay home

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression | No Comments

With the sudden changes to children’s routines there is, understandably, a great deal of disappointment, frustration and anxiety being caused to a great number of children. Younger children struggle with not having planned and considered goodbyes to manage transitions, older children are missing out on planned trips and events, whilst those with GCSEs and A-Levels are frustrated and confused by the sudden changes to their exams. Those students who had worked tirelessly feel short-changed that they did not get an opportunity to show their work, those who took longer to warm up and were just hitting their stride to work are scared that they will be assessed on the work that is not a true picture of their capabilities. Regardless of which boat they sit in, the changes and tsunami of emotions that they are experiencing, and will experience over coming weeks is understandable. Without life experience, the resilience to…

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Is the world causing our children anxiety?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

As the years go by my office is filled with more and more children and teenagers who are struggling with unwanted thoughts and feelings. Since I wrote the Adventures of Brian book collection this has only grown more considerably. Leading me to question – is the world causing our children anxiety? 19 years ago when I first entered the world of early years (working in a nursery) we would occasionally meet a child with separation anxiety or thumb sucking but these were few and far between. 15 years ago when I first went to work as a lecturer with 16-19 year olds you may have one teenager in your class with depression or anxiety but again it was much more a rarity than the world presented today. In the early days of my career, or even in my own school days you just didn’t find a huge number of children…

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