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sensitive children Archives - A Step at a Time

Signs a child is struggling with health anxiety

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, emotional eating, health anxiety, mental health, sensitive children, worries | No Comments

Health anxiety is described as when an individual spends too much time worrying: That they are ill That they could be getting ill Whilst a certain level of concern is completely normal if we have symptoms of illness, health anxiety can begin to take over life. Health anxiety is often obsessive and irrational and individuals who experience it can misinterpret normal sensations in the body as being indicators of serious illness. What causes health anxiety? The actual cause of health anxiety is not well understood. However, the concept of anxiety is created when our body perceives a stress or challenge. In this situation, our body releases a hormone called adrenaline which creates the ‘fight – flight –freeze – faint’ response in the body. This creates a number of physical and emotional feelings in the body which warn us that there may be a potential threat of danger or risk. However,…

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6 ways to help a child who worries

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, confidence, sadness, sensitive children, Stress, worries | No Comments

When children struggle with worries it can feel impossible to know what to do for the best, do we talk about the worries? Is talking about them making them worst? Is there a risk of talking about them too much? Too little? Whilst worries are completely normal, when they become excessive, or a child is worrying about ‘what if’ or worst case scenarios then it can begin to encroach on every aspect of life. So, whilst we may not want to give them too much attention, they cannot be ignored either. What causes worries? Worries are created when our body perceives a stress or challenge. In this situation, our body releases a hormone called adrenaline which creates the ‘fight – flight –freeze – faint’ response in the body. This creates a number of physical and emotional feelings in the body which warn us that there may be a potential threat…

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Supporting Children with Sad Feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, child therapy, depression, loss, sadness, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

When children feel sad it can be heart-breaking for parents, sadness is a huge emotion and quickly starts to fill up whole days and affect many aspects of life. When a child feels sad it can quickly make adults feel helpless or frustrated that they cannot make it right. However, sadness is a normal emotion and we will all experience it at times in life. So how can we support it? What does sadness look like? Struggling to find happy feelings Feeling tired or have no energy Not wanting to have fun / do things they previously enjoyed Expressing that they are disappointed in things Feeling that they are missing something or someone Complaining of feeling a bit gloomy or low or empty Being frequently tearful or expressing that they want to cry Changes in food intake Changes in sleep patterns Irritable or angry Complaining that everything is ‘hard’ Feeling…

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Bedtime, sleep and children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, child therapy, sensitive children, separation anxiety, sleep | No Comments

One of the greatest issues that I ever speak to parents about is bedtime and sleep… Whether it is: Difficulties getting to sleep Difficulties staying asleep Restlessness at bedtime Nightmares Night terrors Separation anxiety We all know how it feels when we have not had enough sleep… and when children do not get enough sleep the impact can affect the day or the days surrounding it.   So why do we need sleep? Sleep is an incredibly important function, for both our body and our minds. Sleep is needed for: Healing the body Repair of the body organs, muscles and bones Reduces inflammation in the body Reduces stress Increases concentration and focus Improves memory Improves problem solving Improves performance (intellectual and physical)   How much do children need? So how much sleep do children need? Great Ormond Street Hospital released the following guidance on sleep: Infants 4-12 months – 12…

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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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Top Tips for Back to School!

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, mental health, school, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

As the world prepares for the return to school, parents up and down the country are getting the uniforms ready, purchasing new school shoes and packing lunch boxes…. But what else do we need to consider to prepare our children for a successful return to school? Get organised Double check school lists and requirements Make a shopping list and do it in one hit to reduce stress Wash uniform a few times to soften it up Plan a packed lunch menu so prepping is simple Practice putting uniform on and moving around to adjust Practice the walk to school to open conversation Prep everything you can the night before so the morning is less stressful   Get consistent Start getting up earlier in the week leading up to school to lessen the shock Start going to bed at ‘school times’ to adjust body clocks Create a morning ‘school’ routine and…

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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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Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, disordered eating, grief, mental health, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As lockdown eases in some places, and starts round two in others, the world feels like a strange place to navigate. For the many parents that I am speaking to on a daily basis, the concern for child and adolescent mental health grows. The uncertainty of the world, the disruptions to education and the distortions to social lives, for many, has created a wealth of mental health issues, ranging from low level to crisis. But, as a parent, what do you need to be looking for? And at which point should you be stepping in and looking for help?   Signs and symptoms: Seeing signs of mental ill-health as warning flags is a great way to keep things in check. I frequently work with children who, in the face of adversity, coped like a trooper. However, in the months/years after, then began to struggle. Because life had resumed to a…

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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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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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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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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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