When we look at the adverts of Holiday Camps, we see lots of children enjoying sports and generally looking happy being there. Holidays can be anxious time for parents and children. You may have to work or you may be on holiday and want to ensure your child mixes other children and have some fun and learn some skills. What do you do if your child is anxious or may have other difficulties and really doesn’t want to go. Here are 10 ideas that help:
10 Ideas to help your Anxious Child at Holiday Club:
- Allow your child a sense of ownership and choice on what Summer Clubs they attend. Go around to the particular school or if you are on holiday ensure that you visit several times. Talk through what activities they may like to do and start with the ones they feel most confident in.
- It often helps to go with a friend, someone they know really well.
- Try not to minimise or invalidate their fears. So instead of saying oh it will be fine, tell them your understand and what could you do to make it safer?
- Most holiday Clubs have several trained staff. go and speak to them, inform them that your child may be anxious or suffers from ADHD or other difficulties. Think together how you can help your child.
- Ensure that you make small steps before attending club. If your child has never been to a club or away from you. Try to expose them to small steps away from you first. This could be at Grandma’s or a sleepover at your house with a friend and then vice versa.
- Help them with social communication skills, if your child is anxious, they are going to be more reticent about approaching other children, so use puppets or toys to role play. Offer give them ideas on how to say hello or can I play with you? Help them with what to say of a child does not directly respond, they may need a bit of psychoeducation on how anxiety can change our perceptions. For example if someone does not respond it does not mean that they don’t want to play but they may be shy too.
- Go out and buy them some new clothes or a little rucksack, even some pens or stickers. Help them feel excited about going.
- If your child suffers from separation anxiety, ensure that the goodbye is managed. Have a plan in three small steps, don’t prolong, this will likely to escalate the anxiety. Anxious children often need another safe adult ( attachment figure) to bridge the separation and know they can approach.
- Communicate what is what for you, when you went to a holiday club or when you were away from your parents.
- Manage the anxiety that’s triggered in you when you say goodbye or when you think about your child being away from you. Sometimes its easier to ask another adult to do the drop off.
Thank you for reading this, thank you for taking the time to hold your child in mind. If you like my post, I would be grateful if you could like my facebook page or ven take the time to be brave and put a comment below to kick start a conversation. Please do contact me for a consultation or if you are interested in hearing about my next Parent Workshop on Anxiety.