I love Autumn.
There are so many wacky and spiky things.
Everything looks a bit ‘alien’.
This space adventure has four fun, anti-anxiety tools (so you can all be as super chilled as these aliens).And you can do it any time of year. It’s perfect if you have a young child who’s worried about school, a new sibling, or just when you have one of those ‘everyone’s feeling a bit irritable’ days.
1. An Active StoryActive Stories is an idea covered by Laurence Cohen in The Opposite of Worry. Laurence says that when children concentrate on moving their bodies in a particular away, it helps to calm them – just like in Tai Chi or yoga. For children, an Active Story might involve walking on tiptoes, or making themselves really big to scare a make-believe character away. So perhaps you’re walking to school and your child is feeling really worried, one way to help is to make up an adventure where they move as part of the story (and I’ll give some examples in just a moment). This has worked wonders for us on the school run as an anti-anxiety tool.
2. Nature and the outdoorsNature is naturally calming… Unless you stand on one of those dog poo bags and have the contents splurge out onto your shoes, which happened on one of our outings. Why do people bag them up and leave them on paths? Or dangle them in trees five metres from a bin? Does this happen in other countries too or just England?
Anyway, we took our Active Story outdoors.We landed our spaceship on an alien planet (aka a woodland path on our housing estate!). The ground was very bouncy, so we spent some time jumping around and pretending like we were walking on the Moon. We met Spike the alien (a green, spiky conker shell). Here he is at a later picnic, with some eyes attached.
3. Giggly gamesIf your child does want to wake the alien bear, this is also an opportunity for giggly chasing. Cohen recommends bumbling and being a bit useless when you chase to get the giggles going. So the ‘sleepy bear’ could bump into trees or even fall back asleep mid-chase. (And if you want more giggly game ideas, you can get my free e-book, ‘How to Get the Giggles’, with lots of games to help tackle phobias and anxiety – yes, I know, shameless plug).
4. Sensory stuff
- Create an alien lake Use an old washing up bowl or art tray and add alien ‘plants’ and creatures.
- Make alien party hats Use recycled cardboard, and PVA/ strips of double-sided sticky tape to add natural materials
- Make alien party music Tap sticks together, tape pine cones into boxes to make shakers, or put stones and acorns in plastic bottles.