Act your age in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, get out of here!”
“It’s not the same when Daddy travels. Who will be big and strong for us?” Tears form at the corner of her eyes, visible only by the moonlight shining through her window.
“I understand. It feels different. We miss him. A lot. But Mommy is big and strong too and Mommy would do anything to keep you safe.”
“But Daddy protects us and our house.” With that, she sobs the big, heaving sobs that only a child can muster. Curled up in my arms and clutching her lovey tight, she lets it all out. Within minutes, she will fall fast asleep, leaving me to take on her worries. If I could, I would take all of her worries, all of her hurts, and all of her skinned knees. If I could, I would cry her tears for her…
Everybody has worries. Big worries, small worries, worries that last a lifetime worries…at the end of the day, they’re all just worries.
While parents worry about worldly things like safety, health, and finances, kids have worries too. Their worries might not seem as big or as imminent as those of adults, but they feel big and overwhelming to the kids who hold them close.
Kids need a way to process their worries. They need to let them out, hold them close, and revisit them until they’re done. They need to work through their worries as they grow so that their worries don’t snowball and become a part of their very identity.
A childhood with a few worries along the way is simply a childhood. But a childhood marked by worries is sad, overwhelming, and full of loss.
Childhood should be marked by fun, excitement, learning, and play. Because every child deserves days full of play and nights full of dreams about the days that brought smiles to their faces.
Calming stones can help.
Visuals work well when helping children process difficult emotions, and the power of touch is an incredible thing. Sometimes a soft, fuzzy toy is all a child needs to release her stress and a long, warm hug can truly mend the broken heart of a child.
Soft, smooth stones providing a calming feel to the touch give children something to hold onto during times of stress or worry. Personalizing them with the things that make your kids feel safe and comforted helps them remember that worries are just moments, and that better moments are all around us.
How to make calming stones:
You will need:
- Several flat, smooth stones. Part of the fun is finding the stones!
- Acrylic paints in calming colors. Hint: Let your child choose the colors that feel calming to her so that the stones have greater meaning.
- Paint brushes.
- Small puffy letter stickers.
- Clear nail polish.
- Wash and dry the stones to remove sand and other dirt.
- Paint the top surface of the stones using the calming colors chosen by your child. Talk about what those colors mean to your child and why she chose them. Painting is a relaxing activity and makes it easy to open the doors to communication.
- Ask your child about her daily worries. What does she think about when worry sets in? Resist the urge to problem-solve – your child needs time to process her thoughts without rushing to solutions.
- Ask your child to think about the people, places, and things that make her feel calm and safe. Talk about what it means to feel calm and safe.
- Using the puffy letter stickers, help your child write one calming word on each stone.
- Apply one coat of clear nail polish over the stickers to keep them in place.
- Have your child create a safe place to keep her stones in her room so that she can revisit them when worried or under stress.
Sometimes you just need reminders that help and good feelings are right around the corner. Calming stones help your child take control of her worries and restore positive emotions when under stress.