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Separation Anxiety and School

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Mother and Child Walking Counting Their Blessings

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a normal fear that children have about leaving their parents and/or caregivers. Typically, it peaks in toddlers around 14-18 months. It can continue into early childhood, especially in new or unfamiliar environments.

Tips to Ease Separation Anxiety at School

Starting school can be exciting and scary for kids at the same time. They’re ready to assert their independence and be a “big kid” while still valuing their parents attention and companionship. There are a few things you can do to help your child make the transition into being a student.

  • Spend time with your child at their school and/or classroom before their first day. If you can, spend time with your child’s teacher so that they are familiar with them and their new environment on the first day.
  • Have your child bring a comfort item, such as a blanket, stuffed animal or anything else that helps them feel safe. Over time, you can work on phasing the item out of their routine.
  • Keep your goodbye brief, dragging it out can make leaving worse.
  • Let your child know that you’re leaving and when you will be back and avoid “sneaking out”.
  • Keep a relaxed, happy look on your face. A worried or sad expression can signal to the child that the place you are leaving them is not safe and could cause them to become upset too.

Working on Separation Anxiety at Home

If your child is experiencing separation anxiety, there are some things you can do at home to help. Reading a book or telling a story about separation can be helpful for children to not feel alone in their fear. Work on building your child’s self-esteem with praise and positive attention. Although separation anxiety can be stressful, try to avoid being negative about your child’s issues with separation. This can create guilt and shame around the child’s feelings of fear.

Remember that this is a common experience for many children. With patience and encouragement, you can help your child work through their fears and become happy, confident school-goers.

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Six ways to reduce anxiety

Posted by Collaborative Counseling

According to the ADAA, anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults every year. In addition, we are living in a very anxious time with all that is happening with COVID-19. While it is common to experience anxiety on a daily basis, there are also small steps to take to reduce the anxiety in our lives.

Here are six simple ways to fight the stress in your life.

1. Meditation and breathing

There are many ways to engage in mindful breathing and meditation, but one way in particular is yoga practice.  Yoga helps you connect your mind and body. According to one study, researchers found that yoga practice shows a decrease in anxious and depressive symptoms in a variety of populations. 

2. Grounding

This is a technique that connects you to the present moment. Use the 3-3-3 rule in time of anxiousness. Name 3 things you see, 3 things you hear and move 3 body parts. Doing this will bring you back to the present moment and help you focus on what is happening around you.

3. Put stress in perspective

Take a step back and view your stress as part of a bigger picture. Try to maintain a positive attitude, and keep doing your best with the situation in front of you. Laugh often!

4. Food and drink

Limit alcohol consumption and stick to healthy, well-balanced meals. Avoid skipping meals, plan ahead and always have a healthy snack option on hand.

5. Reframe

Rethink your thoughts and fears. Often times when we are anxious, we think of worst-case scenarios. Each time a worry comes into your mind, reframe the thought and speak what you know is true about the situation. 

6. Practice saying no

Saying no to requests that others ask of you isn’t always selfish. By saying no to some things, you allow yourself to give more time and energy to the tasks that are already on your plate.

For some people, it can be very difficult to turn other’s requests down. To find more information about when and how to say no, check out this resource: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044494  

These techniques can be a small step in reducing the anxiety in your life. If you or someone you know is looking to set up an appointment with a counselor, our therapists at Collaborative Counseling are open to scheduling new clients through the Telehealth platform, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.

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Childhood Depression

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
How to combat stress during the holiday season

Childhood depression is much more common that you may know. According to the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services, as many as one in every 33 children and one in eight adolescents may have clinical depression.

What is depression?

Clinical depression is sadness that extends beyond being sad about particular situations or events (e.g. being sad about a breakup or sad about the death of a loved one). In addition, Clinical depression involves a prolonged sense of feeling sad that gets in the way of doing things the person wants to do.

Signs of depression in children

  • Sadness and hopelessness for weeks at a time
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or activities they used to enjoy
  • Irritability or being easily agitated
  • Missing school or a significant decline in grades
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Low confidence/self-esteem
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Help is available for a child or teen with depression

Collaborative Counseling provides specialized therapy services for children as young as age 3 up through adulthood. Our services are available in:

We provide play therapy for young and school age children. This has been shown to be effective in helping children overcome depression. To learn more about play therapy visit: http://collaborativemn.com/play-therapy/

Also, for older children and teens we provide a variety of different ways to help your child learn the skills they need. They can learn how to cope with their emotions, relationships and everyday challenges of our modern world. While counseling with children often involves a family component.  Furthermore, family counseling can help parents and other family members learn how to support the person who is struggling with depression.

What should you do if your child is exhibiting depression symptoms?

First of all, if you suspect your child is struggling with depression, get them help immediately. Therefore, we recommend bringing your child in to talk with a counselor or psychologist to clarify the symptoms as soon as possible. The counselor or psychologist will be able to provide you recommendations for treatment to help your child through their depression as well as any other areas of concern.

Finally, if  you are not quite ready to see a counselor or therapist, we recommend sharing your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician. Most general practice clinics can also help assess whether your child may be suffering from depression or another emotional health issue.


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