Children's anxiety can be significantly reduced in play. Parents, grandparents and friends can play with children and reduce children's anxiety at the same time.
Recently, one of my daughters and two of my granddaughters were in a car accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
When I found out about the accident, I immediately recalled a similar accident I had with my son.
It was a nice November evening and I was taking my son to buy an ice cream cone on his birthday. At that time we had three children, and I was a student at Michigan State University. Because my wife was taking care of the two younger children, my son Steve and I were going to the ice cream store.
Happily, we left the ice cream store. Steve was seat- belted in the back seat with his ice cream cone. While we were in the ice cream store, it snowed. It never dawned on me. It wasn't until I saw two cars appearing on top of the bridge. These cars were heading right for my car. Then I knew we were going to be hit.
Anxieties ran through my mind. We are almost at the top of the bridge. When I looked in the guard rail, it didn't look very strong. Bang! We were hit. I was relieved, when we stayed on the bridge. The only to damage to my son was to his ice cream cone. Steve's ice cream cone ended up on the floor.
Eventually we arrived home, courtesy of the police. As young parents, my wife and I were anxious about her son's adjustment to the accident. I was a graduate student in psychology. However, I'd never studied about children's anxiety generated by a car accident.
Somehow, I remembered a principal in psychology. I don't remember if it had a name. The basic idea was to help people master anxiety and painful emotions caused by situations where they were passive and victimized.
My son and I were the target for the two sliding, out-of-control cars on the top of the bridge. I thought the principal would work.
Stephen and I took out his cars and trucks. We played accidents for two to three hours that night and later during the week. He actively was in control of causing the accidents. As I look back, both Steve and I actively caused accidents in our play and overcame anxiety regarding the accident.
40 years later, my daughter and her daughters are playing cars and having accidents tonight with their toy cars. Anxiety experienced passively is being mastered actively again.
My daughter reported that she and her daughters were having a good time and were happy having accidents with the cars.
Although not all anxieties experienced by children can be mastered this way, I believe children can master other anxieties actively in their play.
If you have helped your children reduce anxiety in play, please share with me and others what has worked for you.
Remember, You Live in the Environment Created by Your Choices!
Life and Mental Fitness Coach