Supporting Children with Anxiety or Stress

At Montessori By The Sea, we care deeply about the social-emotional health and well-being of children and families. As a school community, we recognise that after a year of normality for everyone in Cayman, the return of Covid-19 to our shores and the resulting measures to prevent the spread may have impacted some of us, and may have increased stress and anxiety for both adults and children.  

Children respond to stress in different ways depending on their age, personalities and coping skills; stress and anxiety can manifest itself in both behavioural and physical ways. Sometimes, we may overlook the underlying issues that may be causing changes in our children’s behaviour and below are some signs to look out for: 

  • Moodiness, aggression, a short temper, or clinginess 
  • Development of a nervous habit, such as nail-biting 
  • Fears (such as fear of the dark, being alone, or of strangers) 
  • Anxiety in social situations 
  • Refusal to go to school 
  • Withdrawing from family or friends 
  • Bedwetting 
  • Stomach aches or headaches 
  • Decreased or increased appetite 
  • Sleep problems or nightmares 

There are many different approaches to how to help a child experiencing anxiety or stress. Here are just a few activities and website links that parents may find beneficial to use at home: 

Meditation: research has shown that meditating for a few minutes each day reduces stress. There are many different meditation apps and this website has a list for a range of ages Meditation Apps for Children. From personal experience both in the classroom and with my own children, I have used the following videos on YouTube – Children Meditation YouTube videos (Beware of falling asleep while listening to these!)  

Sesame Street Name That Emotion: This is a short but fun video aimed at younger children to help them name emotions – Sesame Street Name That Emotion  

Social Emotional Learning Activities:  This website has some useful tips for social emotional practices such as deep breathing, practising gratitude and self-talk – Social Emotional Tips  

Parents seeking extra support for their child can reach out to a variety of organisations on island that provide mental health care for children:  

The Alex Panton Foundation: The Alex Panton Foundation specialises in children’s mental health and also allows families to apply for financial help for children requiring mental health services on-island. 

Chatterbox : Chatterbox provides many services and has a licensed child counselor on their team. It has recently hired a new Occupational Therapist who specialises in building emotional literacy as well as developing emotional self-regulation through Yoga Therapy and Persona Doll training. 

The Wellness Centre: The Wellness Centre provides many services, including Mental Health Counselling and Play Therapy for children. 

Aspire: Aspire is a highly specialist psychological health provider and provides mental health services to children. It even has a certified therapy dog named Charlie. 

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