Childhood is time where children often experience fear and worry. Sometimes they share their fears with others, but often they keep them hidden where they can grow into anxiety if not addressed. During the quiet at bedtime when they are trying to fall asleep, these thoughts often emerge. Kid counselors like myself help kids win this battle of the mind with a took kit full of interventions. We often teach them breathing mindfulness strategies that distract the brain such as the 5 Things Grounding Exercise. Have your child think of 5 things they can see, 4 they can feel, 3 they can hear, 2 they can smell and 1 they can taste. Another exercise is square breathing. See the photo below.
It’s also helpful to teach our child a scripture they can say out loud when they are scared. My favorite is 2 Tim 1:7 and I like the KJV because it emphasizes a sound mind. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Another tool lots of kids find helpful is keeping a journal beside their bed where they can write down their thoughts before falling asleep. This process slows down the mind and also makes us bigger than our thoughts. Sometimes I will also have the write back to their worries shrinking the worry dragon that can grow in all of us.
The beauty of a girl becoming a tween is hopefully she is no longer learning to read by instead reading to learn. This season is a great time for mothers and daughters to share Scripture and grow in faith together. It’s a great time to prepare girls for middle school by becoming confident in Christ and train their brains to believe they are so loved by God that while the rejection of others may sting, what other’s say to and think about us doesn’t have to define who we are or how we relate to our world.
My favorite resource in this area that I’ve given to many girls as a gift is Lynn Cowell’s popular tween devotional Brave Beauty. This book focus’s on confidence in Christ, has a beautiful cover and Lynn offers a leader’s guide if you want to do this in a small group. She also offers free lock screens for phones. If you’d like to hear Lynn and I discuss this topic she guested on this episode of the Counselor Thoughts podcast.
Lynn and I also have linked together to create a Finding the Fearless You private Facebook group for moms and tweens and we are currently going live on Thursday evenings, following up with a password protected Zoom call which has been a blast with heartfelt sharing between us and the girls, and Lynn has been reading the first 20 of chapters in a Google classroom with the girls also providing them a safe to place to interact through chat with us during the week. It’s not to late to join us! You can receive the links for all these resources and how to join us by clicking here. Even if you find us after we’ve finished this series, we plan to stay active monthly in this group so go ahead and join our study and you’ll also receive the latest updates for when we launch our next tween devotional that Lynn and I have written together. Loved and Cherished releases September 2020 but you can preorder it here.