It is very easy to be consumed and overwhelmed by things that are happening in life. It may be big project, a life event, starting a new school or a set of tests. These events can be worrying and provoke anxiety if the child is aware of the whole picture, such as the amount of tests, the organisation that it is going to take for the event or the project and how’ll they need to perform well or make a good impression.
This may lead to feelings of lack of confidence. The child may think,”Wow, it is going to take up so much of my time, it looks difficult and how am I ever going to be able to do that?” They feel defeated before they have even started, so how can adults help children to deal with overwhelm and anxiety and get the job done?
Easily. If we help children to break the situation down into little steps to make it more manageable, it’s easier for the child to focus on one small thing at a time. It’s a bit like, how do you eat an elephant? You can’t in one go!
Steps to Beating Overwhelm
Grab a pen and paper, then sit down with your child and go through the steps that need to be done for them to reach the bigger goal. That might be studying for exams, taking part in a sporting competition – any big thing that they want to achieve.
The steps will be different depending on the event but for a sporting competition, the steps might be sending the entry form, looking at your training schedule and the areas you’ll focus on, working on a healthy diet, creating a timetable so they are able to fit training in around doing homework etc.
Jot down any steps you can think off and put them in order. This can help to clear the mind and give a positive framework to follow and focus on.
As the child complete each step, get them to tick it off on a piece of paper, or in their mind. It will help them to see that they are making progress. Whenever they feel overwhelmed, just get them to focus just on that step. Nothing else.
In my role as a life coach for children, I do find that some children are looking at the far future picture and not at the ‘now’. They put too much pressure on themselves to complete work/projects to a high standard, to get into the school, to make friends or to pass exams so they can get into college.
What is important is what is going on in the present and doing their best now in a more relaxed way. The small steps will lead them to the bigger picture eventually.