The sun has got its hat on, and it’s coming out to shine.
Winter finally seems as though it might be behind us (for a week or two at least), but as we all know in some ways sunshine makes it even harder to get outside.
The unfamiliar clothes, the heat and of course the crowds can all contribute to the anxiety children and young people feel at this time of year.
So what can we do to help?
Do your clothes shopping online
New clothes are always a trauma here, they don’t look right, feel right or smell right. That said online shopping has made the whole experience much less fraught. For older children setting a budget and giving them a list of what they need, along with two or three websites they can look at involves them in the process without having to make fast decisions. They can come back several times to look at items before making a final choice and often feel much less anxious about doing so. But online shopping is great for younger ones too. It means once the items arrive they can be tried on several times before a decision is made, in familiar surroundings. Suitable items are much less likely to be dismissed because of feeling anxious, and unsuitable ones more likely to be returned with more time to think about whether they really are comfortable.
Think about timings
Getting to venues early when they are quiet, can often really increase the chances of a good day when the sun is out. Places feel less overwhelming when you are in them and the crowd slowly builds, than they do when you arrive and have to walk straight through a big crowd. Taking a picnic or eating away from peak times (we usually do an 11.30 lunch), can also help to ease the pressure and make lunch more enjoyable for everybody.
Use the familiar to your advantage
At this time of year I annually purchase memberships for the RHS and English Heritage. It means we can visit our local sites as often as we want, and that even if we only manage an hour, we haven’t wasted any money. Because we go quite frequently it also means that the Bear’s tolerance levels build up in those places. So try to have a think about local places your children really enjoy, and then on the days when you know the world will be busy you’ll know you have a safe place to visit. The more familiar children and young people are with an environment, the safer they will feel if things get busy. As an added bonus, because you’ll know it so well you’ll know the parts that less regular visitors seldom find, for those times when you all need to escape.
Take a packet of Polo mints out with you…
I know it sounds random… but I promise you it really does work. So bear with me. At this time of of the year it’s easy to feel hot and and bothered, so a few years ago a colleague of mine introduced the idea of ‘cooling down with a cool mint’ and it went down a storm. If tempers start getting heated, it gives everyone a change to take a moment and no-one feels criticised if they’re being given something they consider a treat. It’s well worth a try on these hot summer days!
Join our free five day challenge to reduce anxiety
Starting on Monday I’m heading up a free five day challenge to help parents reduce the anxiety levels of their children, using simple easy to follow strategies. I’ll be popping into inboxes for five days in a row with a ten minute challenge each day, and making sure everyone has the support they need to complete them. If you fancy joining us you can sign up over on my new site, where all of my more personal support will be given. Don’t worry though, you’re not getting rid of me from here, I’ll still be blogging regularly here too.