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Anxiety, Coping Skills, & Mental Health Tools to Support Kids

We recently attended a class regarding teen mental health and anxiety, “Taming Your Child’s Anxious Mind.” Many parents will recognize the Brain Wise curriculum used in many of our Jeffco elementary schools in collaboration with Jeffco Mental Health. Alistair M. Hawkes, MA, LPC, Mental Health Education for JCMH taught this particular class organized by Golden Rotary/Jefferson Center Speaker’s Bureau.

While we’ve heard about Wizard Brain and Lizard Brain from our kids and love that this is happening in our schools, we realized while sitting in this class that the “coping skills” that are being taught to our children aren’t shared with parents. We talk to our kids about what they learn but don’t necessarily get all the information. Having actually participated in this class and trying the coping skills out personally, we can say that they work and would be good for anyone to practice as well as doing WITH our children to reinforce what they learn at school.

Ask your kids if they can tell you what any of these things are: Tight Soft, Five Finger Breath, Warming Hands, Quiet Body, Visualization (Peaceful Body.) Let us know if they have the answers to show you!

We’ll share some of these coping skills that were shared with attendees soon (but they really require video so we’ll get on that ASAP.)

Overall, giving parents the knowledge and tools to support their children with mental health and coping skills is the goal.

“What you can do on your own, and what you can help your child learn…breathe.” You wouldn’t think it needs to be said but think through your own anxious times; lots of people hold their breath, flex a foot, tighten their shoulders…

A few other coping strategies she suggested:

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Aromatherapy
  • Movement – Athletics, Yoga, Tai Chi, Exercise
  • Art, origami
  • Positive Self-Talk

None of this is guaranteed to be easy, especially with teens who may think we’re lame but we can model the behaviors and skills and reinforce this at home by talking about it and doing it. Really, is there anyone who couldn’t use a few extra tools to feel better and reduce anxiety and stress?

In the meantime, another friend of SJK had some experience with services at Children’s Hospital and was kind enough to share a list of apps they received as a resource.  There are others and some that also charge a fee, but we’ll share the free ones here from that list:

Anxiety:

Relaxation:

We’re downloading some too! We hope you’ll let us know what you think of these so we can share your feedback!