It may seem like your child worries a lot of the time and about everything. Children can worry about all sorts of things, such as safety issues, tests and school work, friends, family, health, the planet, and more. They may seek reassurance and ask you questions repeatedly about their worries. By asking you about their worry, your child may feel better for a short while, but then some time later, you may notice that your child asks you again about the same worry. This tells you that your child’s worry did not go away (as you had thought or had hoped). Click here for more information on children’s anxiety.
In this post, I will share with you about the worry jar, which is one of my favourite techniques to help an anxious child contain their worries.
In my clinical work, I have found that being creative and making the strategies concrete and come to life improves their effectiveness and usefulness, especially with young children. I encourage you to do the same in helping your child.
The Worry Jar
A Worry Jar is a place for your child to put their worries so that they do not need to keep thinking about them. It is like storing them or putting them away for safe keeping. Just knowing that their worries are contained in the jar can free your child from having to replay them in their minds.
Create a worry jar with your child. Find a real glass or plastic jar. Have your child decorate it (which is the really fun part) and then label it with a name (e.g., ‘Johnny’s Worry Jar’ or ‘My Worry Jar’). Once the jar is finished, help your child write down all his or her worries in a list on paper. You and your child can then cut each worry into its own strip of paper. Fold each worry and put it in the jar. Once all the worries are inside, have your child close the jar.