Anxiety Disorders are among the most common mental health disorders experienced by children. Some estimates suggest that one in eight children will experience an Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety, while very useful most of the time, causes tremendous problems when we have it in excess. It can negatively impact our relationships, motivation for trying new things, the amount of effort and persistence we may give to a challenging task, and our physical and cognitive performance. Inextricably linked with anxiety is self-esteem. Conceptually, we tend to think of self-esteem and anxiety as being two separate experiences or perceptions. Practically, it may be nearly impossible to separate the negative aspects of anxiety from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem fuels our anxiety, while the negative aspects of anxiety reinforce our low self-esteem. Given the inextricable nature of anxiety and self-esteem it is very important that clinicians evaluate and address issues of self-esteem with their anxious clients. Fortunately, numerous tools have been developed to address both self-esteem and anxiety issues in children.
It is far beyond the scope of a single blog post to describe all of the excellent tools that have been developed to aid child clinicians working with anxious children. Instead, I’d I’ll focus on some of the best-selling items from ChildTherapyToys.com. Two of the most popular products sold by ChildTherapyToys.com to address self-esteem issues, and frequently used by me, are Totika (which includes a set of self-esteem cards) and The Self-Esteem Game. Both games are very appealing to children and fun to play. Additionally, both are easy to learn. Totika is played the same way as Jenga, and The Self-Esteem Game employs a board, die, and movers; game components that are easily understood and often familiar to our clients. Popular games sold to address anxiety are Bridge Over Worried Waters, Stress Quest, and The Social and Emotional Competence Card Game. Bridge Over Worried Waters is more challenging to understand and play, but still enjoyable and effective. Stress Quest employs a board, die, and movers, and The Social and Emotional Competence Card game consists of a deck of cards and chips. The Social and Emotional Competence Card game includes 4 other sets of cards, besides the deck of cards used to address anxiety issues (please note, the Social and Emotional Card Game is separate and distinct from the board game with the same name, but can be used in conjunction with the board game). The Stop, Relax, and Think Board Game has been available for decades, and continues to be quite popular. It too employs a board, movers, and a die.
Bibliotherapy has always been an effective way to address anxiety and self-esteem issues. Two of ChildTherapyToys.com’s most popular self-help books are Wilma Jean the Worry Machine and I Like Myself! Wilma Jean the Worry Machine is a delightful story about a young girl who is prone to worrying about everything, but eventually discovers a better way to address her worries. I Like Myself! Is equally charming and has appealing and humorous illustrations that accompany the text. A variety of workbooks are available to clinicians as well. For example, I Bet I Won’t Fret covers proven strategies for dealing with worry and anxiety. Like many of the newer books in this genre I Bet I Won’t Fret includes a CD containing all of the handouts. Another popular workbook, Self-Esteem Games for Children, contains dozens of fun activities for children ages 5 thru 12.
If you’d like to get a better idea about everything that’s available visit the Shop by Topic page at Childtherapytoys.com.