Worry Time - Elsa Support

Worry Time

Worry time is an allotted time during the day where a child can give worries their attention. It is a strategy for children to take control of their worries and find ways to manage them. Having a worry time means that if worries pop into their minds during the day they don’t have to think about them right there and then but can think about them later at worry time.

Plan the worry time

Plan a part of the day where the child will spend 15 minutes thinking about  worries and sorting them out. Initially this can be done with an adult but with practice the child may be able to do this themselves.

Make sure it isn’t near bedtime and use the same part of the house, not their bedroom though. They don’t want it to interfere with their  sleeping. Try and make it the same time each day.

Recording the worries

During the day the child can record any worries to think about at worry time. In time and with practice the child may be able to problem solve on the go and decide there and then if this worry can be solved right now or whether it is one they can just let go.

Ways they can record their worries:

  • Notepad
  • Worry jar
  • Worry monster
  • Logging on their phones
  • Worry journal
  • Special decorated worry box

Our worry monster notepad is perfect for this

There are loads of notepads, plastic jars and worry monsters on Amazon. Here are a sample. The worry monster link has 3 sizes of monster which means they could have one at home, one at school and carry the little one around with them.

The plastic jars just need a label on them, something like ‘the child’s name’ and ‘worry jar’. They could decorate their jar with stickers to take ownership.

Refocus, move on, let it go (for now)

All the child has to do is record their worry. There is no need to think about it anymore until ‘worry time’. They can go on with their day worry free because they know that those worries will be dealt with later on. Help them with breathing techniques to calm themselves and then refocus on something else. Help them with changing their thoughts. Our notepad is helpful for that. They may need help to refocus on what they are doing right now so that they can let that worry go for now. Help them to get back to what they were doing before that worry popped into their head. You could also help them with a list of fun ideas or meaningful activities  that they could do instead of worrying.  These are things that could really shift that focus from the worry to something they enjoy and that makes them calm and happy. This list should be available to them so they can refer to it if needed.

Ideas could be things like:

  • listening to music
  • dancing
  • exercise
  • baking
  • gardening
  • playing with a favourite toy
  • shopping
  • reading a book
  • watching a movie
  • crafting
  • puzzles
  • jigsaws
  • drawing

Worry time

At worry time go through the list of worries with the child. Help them to problem solve. The worry tree is very helpful for problem solving worries. Basically the child asks the question ‘Can I do anything about this worry?’ They decide whether it is a yes or a no. If it is a ‘no’ then they can let this worry go and refocus. The worry is not in their control, there is nothing they can do about it so why worry? If the answer is ‘yes’ then help them to make a plan either now or later. Decide together what they need to do and once they have done that they can let the worry go and refocus their attention. One way for them to let the worries go is to simply cross it off their list of worries or if it is on a piece of paper they can shred it with a paper shredder or rip it up and throw it away.

worry tree

Keep practising

It’s important that children keep practising recording, refocusing and problem solving their worries. They can do this!


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