This is something that I recently came across as a tool to help children address things that worry them – it’s a tool used by social workers a lot when children unfortunately end up involved in the court system for a number of reasons, and it works like this…
There’s a bright, colourful, sliding scale on which children can place their worries.
Right at the bottom, you have the TINY WORRIES, then next up you have the LITTLE WORRIES, MEDIUM SIZED WORRIES, BIG WORRIES, and, at the top are the GIANT SCARY WORRIES.
|This is the “Worry-O-Meter” as used by Cafcass|
Using this system, children can write down what is worrying them, and they can put them into boxes according to what is worrying them the most.
As soon as I saw this, I instantly thought that this was a brilliant idea for all children. As parents, our children’s wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds, and those of us who have experienced mental illness want our children to grow up knowing that it’s okay to seek help and to talk about how they feel. This tool can really help us to do that, and it can be used in any environment.
At the moment, it’s pretty much only used for children with social services involvement for any number of reasons, but this could be used at school in liaison with the family if either of them raise concerns about a child’s wellbeing, and you could even use it at home yourself if you think your child is worrying about something and not opening up to you.
It’s a very child friendly way of opening up a dialogue with your child, and we all know how difficult that can be sometimes! How many times have you asked your children how their day was to be met with either silence or shrugged shoulders? While that may well be a very normal part of being a child/pre-teen/teen, sometimes it might not be normal. There might be something lingering below the surface that just needs a gentle pull so that your little one feels like they can talk to you about it!
I hope that sharing this is going to help someone, somewhere – it’s definitely a technique I’ll be employing later on when my daughter grows up a bit more!
Let me know if you have any other ways of getting your children to open up to you!