Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! My Many Colored Days

This is my favorite Dr. Seuss book with no words on the actual cover (the publisher put the title on the book jacket).  It is a great stimulus book for a lesson on feelings K-grade 2.  There are a wide variety of art and writing responses after reading and discussing the link between feelings and color.  It is easy to trace the little person and make an outline for handouts.  You can ask students "What color is your day?" and they can color the person and write something about it.  You can also make an anchor chart that shows common matches for colors and feelings adding some that are not in the book.  If I use this with kindergarten this week I have them fill in the blanks " ____ makes me feel _________."  With first grade I have them may why so the model is "____ makes me feel ________ because ________." For example, blue makes me feel calm because it reminds me of being at the ocean and relaxing. For other ideas to use with the book check out my-many-colored-days or

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Children's Books About Anxiety

Something Might Happen by Helen Lester is one of my favorite books to help young children understand anxiety and that there are ways to cope with it.  Depending on the age of the child here a dozen others I use on a regular basis:
What to Do When You Worry Too Much
David and the Worry Beast
Is Worry Worrying You?
A Boy and A Bear
Don't Panic, Annica
Wemberly Worried
Wilma Jean The Worrying Machine
When My Worries Get Too Big
The Kissing Hand
Something Might Happen
Just in Case
Scaredy Squirrel

Get Repetitive to Decrease Anxiety

Repetitive motion calms the brain and the body.  Doing something enjoyable will provide a pleasant distraction and decrease anxious thoughts, worries, and the jittery bodily sensations.  Find out what a client enjoys that is highly repetitive and tell them to do that for 10 minutes when the anxiety part of them tries to take control.  It could be swinging or shooting free throws in the back yard or dancing to their favorite tunes. The more repetitive and fun the better.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America have some free resources to check out Click the link below to watch a brief video describing anxiety vs. anxiety disorders

How to Help Students Change Negative Thinking

How To Get Unstuck From The Negative Muck: A Kid's Guide To Getting Rid Of Negative Thinking
Sullivan's child-friendly guide to learning ways to cope with negative thinking offers some useful ideas for counselors. It explains that self-talk can be positive, neutral, or negative. If you have a client who is stuck in the negative muck - having a lot of negative thoughts about self, future, and even the world - this is a good resource.  The book suggests having the student choose 3 positive statements, write them on separate sheets of paper, and decorate. For more ideas, check out the book.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Best Parenting Books on Anxiety


     These are the 3 books I recommend most often to parents of children struggling with anxiety. 

Anxiety-Free Kids, by Zucker, offers parents strategies that help children become happy and worry free, methods that relieve a child's excessive anxieties and phobias, and tools for fostering interaction and family-oriented solutions.

You and Your Anxious Child, by Albano, has moving case studies and brings much-needed hope to families, helping them shape a positive new vision of the future.

Freeing Your Child from Anxiety, childhood anxiety expert Dr. Tamar Chansky shares a proven approach for helping children build emotional resilience for a happier and healthier life. This book was revised in 2014.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Awareness is the first step in helping anxious students

Many children develop somatic complaints and feel sick to their stomach, light-headed, etc. who have nothing wrong physically, but are actually suffering from anxiety symptoms.  At the beginning of counseling it is important that students understand anxiety - its a lie or a trick the brain is playing.  The brain is sending a false alarm that makes the person want to fight, flee, or freeze.  Many people try to avoid the source of anxiety (i.e., separating from parent) when avoiding dealing with the stressors will actually make the anxiety stronger.  If you want to learn more I am doing an ASCA Webinar, Monday, March 2 at 10 am.  Here is link to sign up Help Students Reduce Anxiety