Message from the Chaplain

Hi Parents and friends,

A great start to the year and a big welcome back from the Chaplain!

I want to touch on the topic of anxiety because many students, and us as parents, feel anxious this time of year when our children return to school.
I’m hoping the following three steps can assist you to help your child with anxiety:
• Encourage them to talk about their anxiety – share the things that, as a child, you were anxious about and ask them what their biggest worry is. By modelling your own acceptance of anxiety, you will be assisting them to remain calm about theirs.
• Teach your child about anxiety and its purpose – educate yourself about anxiety and its adaptive role in helping humans survive (flight-fight-freeze). Explain the physical changes in the human body when danger is perceived (sweaty hands, blood to extremities, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing etc.). By explaining these, you are helping to normalise anxiety as well as assisting your child to identify and understand the way their own body reacts when anxious.
• Help your child to recognize their anxiety and to develop ways to manage it. Ask your child to sketch their body and mark on it where their anxiety occurs, and is most felt. Teach them ways to work with their anxiety. For example, a young child might learn to say: “That’s just ‘Mr Worry’ telling me not to do that. I don’t want to miss out so, ‘Mr Worry’, you can just be quiet”. Or a teenager might liken their worrying thoughts to a radio with the volume turned up high, and learn to manage it by turning the volume down. 

Other things you can do to help:
• Learn to manage your own anxiety, thus role modelling to your child that it can be achieved - which in turn helps reduce their anxieties
• Encourage good eating (reduce caffeinated, high-sugar drinks and foods), regular exercise, hobbies, sufficient sleep and connection with friends. When young people are well-rested and relaxed, they will be in a better mental state to handle fears or worries.
• Let your children and young people know who they can call on in the school, such as the Chaplain and College staff for support if needed. This will make them feel less anxious about the future.
• Visit your GP if you suspect that your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Take care.

Gary Crole,
College Chaplain,
Christian College, Bellarine.


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