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Tips for helping my DS's anxiety

(9 Posts)
Barmymummy Fri 02-Oct-09 11:36:10

DS was 4 in June and has always been an anxious clingy child. As he has got older these anxieties have not subsided like many know it alls said it would wink. We know he dabbles on the spectrum but does not have a dx.

Nearly all his anxieties revolve around either

a) Seperating from me
b) Going to new/unfamiliar places

His latest anxiety is having lunch at playschool. He's been having lunch there for months no problem now all of a sudden he's asking me countless times a day if he's having lunch at playschool. Each time I say "no" and within minutes he's re-checking with me again. We believe it is down to him realising that lunch signals a longer day away from me and also his little friend goes home at lunchtime. Lunch is on Monday so cue big tears when I go to leave. Other days he is fine.

He has got huge anxiety about starting school in Jan (we have a number of things goings on to help him here so fingers crossed) but even the things he likes he gets anxious about. Last Sunday he went to see Lazytown Live with his daddy. DH said to him "we'll go by train and go and see sporticus!" DS is looking up for it right up until its time to go. Lots of crying and having to be manhandled into his carseat and big cries of I DON'T WANT TO GO sad. 5 mins later he was fine, loved the train and seemed to enjoy the show (even joined in a bit too shock. Comes home said he had a great time but doesn't want to go again.

Life is like this daily, there is awlways an anxiety on the go. He has 1 or 2 at a time as opposed to getting anxious about everything and other than getting very upset/cross he doesn't show his anxiety in other ways ie eating or sleeping etc.

Are there any tips or strategies that can help him with anxiety in general that have worked for you or your dc?

Thanks smile

ki28 Fri 02-Oct-09 12:06:54

hi,not sure what if this is advice will be much use but here goes. My son is 4 and half and was (still is slighty)extremley anxious,he bites his nails down to the skin untill they bleed on a daily basis and always has thoses little worried eyes when i leave and wants to know where im going and for how long. He is currently going through a asd dx,but im not to sure reguarding this i think most of his problems are down to being anxious. One of the first things we did was went and watched the school empty out at 315 and saw all the boys and girls walking home,we introduced him to the games that he would play at breaktimes,had pack up at home for dinner(i even made my mum,dad,auntie,sister,grandma and others sit dowm to packup for sunday lunch once!!)(i know) reguarding his friend going home,we drew pictures of the table he sat on and drew the other children who also stayed dinner,drew pics of them going home for dinner also and just explained bout what they do at home is usually the same as what they do at school (have dinner),then drew more pics of him playing in the playground with his friend once he was back from dinner,so he could make the connection.my ds gets angry/cross to and iv still not solved that, i think its also frustration as he crnt have it his way. Reguardin new places,once again we drew pictures looked at the places on the internet,if poss. and if we was going to a major attraction or place. i would make a 'treasure hunt' and if he mangaged to tick all the boxes he got a little treat,i also got leaflets from the place before we went. he was like my shadow,so i tried to get others to do the routine things i did with him ie,bath,making tea,playing with him just so it wasnt always me and that he could see others doing what 'mummy does'.I think they get so used to us doing everything all the time and then to expect them just be happy to pop off for the afternoon with family,freinds can be a bit of a shock for them. all of the above i think really helped me,as you can tells the drawing element of it really helps. hope its of some use to you x

PerryPlatypus Fri 02-Oct-09 14:26:37

I've found that my two with ASD cope better with new places if they can find out more about it in advance. For days out we look at the pictures on websites if possible. Printing the pictures and making them into a little book can also help. I tend to do this for things like school trips or general days out.

My 6yr-old gets upset about things that he'd been looking forward to. It's a bit like wanting to go on a big rollercoaster ride. The anticipation is exciting but when it's your actual turn you suddenly get scared and wonder if you're doing the right thing. The ride itself turns out to be great but at the same time you really don't feel like going through it all over again.

Having a small toy in his pocket to fiddle with is something that often reassures my ds2 when he's worried about things. It can either be a favourite toy/object or a stress toy to be squeezed at.

anonandlikeit Fri 02-Oct-09 16:41:39

HI my ds2 (6) is very much as you decide.
As he has got older it is becoming more difficult to just pick him up & chuck him in to the car.

Week days he's fine, he has the school routine sorted... But it took 2 yrs of tearful pre school plus a ful yr in reception for the anxiety to subside, stick with it, its a long haul but worth it. He's in yr 2 now & goes happily every day & we only have the increased anxiety if he knows something different is going on at school eg sports day, or a day trip out. Then he's back to the repetitive questioning.

As for weekends & school holidays, I confess some weekends I allow him to stay home & not leave the house BUT I know we have to keep pushing him, little steps all the time to build his confidence.

I have a photo album of ds2 enjoying fun things, we use it to remind him of how much he enjoys "new things". I was a bit sceptical at first but it really seems to work.
He also likes to take a camera with him now, it gives him something else to focus on.

This only works if we all going out, if one of us is staying at home we are back to tears & tantrums big style... so if you do find the magic anxwer please let me know!

troutpout Fri 02-Oct-09 17:01:01

Mmmm. Ds has had a long term problem with suspense...about waiting for something to happen that he know will happen at some point. Anxiety about the 'event' (whatever it is) can build up. As he has got older it is only attached to things which could potentially be uncomfortable for him but when he was little it could be any event when he wasn't sure what exactly could happen. Obviously making a visual story of where he will go/ what he will see/ what it will be like before the event does help to calm him...but there is only so much you can do.If you do do this btw..then take it with you so he has a checklist of the order of things and can visually remind himself what comes next.You could do this for lunch days too? A picture diary of his day maybe?
My ds also does that thing where he won't want to repeat the event (even if he's had a good time). I guess the build up kind of clouds it all for him
The incredible 5 point scale has helped him a bit ( lol..never thought i would say that, i was on here rubishing it about 6 months ago grin). Might be worth a look

Barmymummy Fri 02-Oct-09 18:22:09

Thank you all for your replies smile can relate to something in each post.

I can understand the tips for preparing him for new places etc which is what I try my best to do but I am stumped when he gets in a stew over things he has done loads of times already hmm Like this lunch at playschool for instance...

Anyway, can you help me understand/learn more about how drawings can help? Am a rubbish drawer but would be prepared to give it a go!

Could you give me an example of what and how you would use drawings for a particular anxiety? Thank you so much!

catkinq Fri 02-Oct-09 19:47:59

we bought a book for dd - the book (what to do if you worry too much: a kids guide...) may be too old but there was an idea in it about having "worry time" each day. The idea is that you set aside a specific time (say 15 mins) for them to tell you all their worries. May be too old for your son but it worked wonders for dd as talking about the same thing every day effectively made her get bored with worrying about them and then they seemed less important to her.

Barmymummy Fri 02-Oct-09 21:11:38

Thats actually quite a good idea lol! Yes I think he's a bit young for that and would draw attention to the fact that he should have something to worry about iykwim, but I will def remember that tip for when he's older! Thanks! smile

ki28 Tue 06-Oct-09 14:52:57

hi barmymummy
Im not sure how drawings help?? But i know what my son would get anxious about, so i could provide him with all the knowledge on that situation as i could through drawing.

If we was going to a big shopping center by bus. we would have a picture of the bus with its number on it,i would ask who he think e might see on the bus.
(driver,a old lady,alady with some shopping,a boy listening to music,sme children with their mummies.what he mit see out the windows)
direct questions a bout the journey,so if there was a old lady with some shopping,we would say'yeah well done,arnt we good at guessing that'. that seemed to sort out the traveling places.

As for going to acual shooping centre/this could be any place out of the norm for him. just went prepared with leaflets fo shops/places that was there.

hope this helps a little
x

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