A Child's View: Tips to Feel Normal


BY: Andy Getz, LISW-S

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

When you lose someone you love it may feel as though your world has been turned upside down. Things may be completely different in your life or everything may still look the same but you feel different. Whether you lost a loved one unexpectedly or knew they were going to die, the world may still feel strange, unfair and unpredictable. Frequently one of the feelings that you experience after a loss is WORRY.

 You may worry whether something will happen to you or someone else that you love. You may worry if things will ever feel "normal" again. You may worry if you will ever be happy or even if it is okay to feel happy. You may worry if it is your fault. You may worry about the dark. You may worry about going to school. You may worry about the stomachache you have. You may worry about going to sleep.

It makes sense that you might worry, a sad thing has happened. But sometimes the worries keep growing and increasing and it is important to learn to slow them down. Sometimes we have to work on worrying less so that we can do other things in our lives and be happy.

Here are some suggestions:
  • Think about your worry and come up with a sentence or two that will help you worry less. For example, "I am afraid to go to a sleepover because what if something happens to mommy while I am gone." Say to yourself, "I can call or text mom anytime to check that she is ok and she will respond." Then go to the sleepover!
  • Allow yourself 10 minutes of worry time. Set the timer and list or name all your concerns. Have someone listen to you. When the ten minutes are up, stop.
  • Imagine locking your worries in a box. Close the lid and place a lock around it. Put the box away for now. You can always come back to it at worry time.
  • Do something to distract yourself, like riding your bike, throwing a ball, listening to music or drawing.
  • If your worry pops up when you don't want it to, pick a sentence that you can say to tell it to go away, like: "Go away, I am busy now."
  • Imagine you can brush your worry off your shoulder and step on it when it is getting in the way of doing something fun.
  • Take a nice deep breath and exhale slowly.
  • Shake out all that worried energy in your arms and legs.
It is always a good idea to share how you feel with an adult whom you trust and that you know can listen. They will help to answer your questions and help you decide whether your worries are getting too big. They can help you work to manage them so that you can continue to do the things you love and be with the people who make you happy. ​

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