Called Anxiety Solutions for Kids: 50 ways to ride the wave, these cards are based on solution-focussed, strengths-based techniques used for many years by experienced consulting psychologist, Selina Byrne M.A.P.S, to help children with worry and anxiety, and to build their wellbeing and resilience.
For most people, flashes of worry, nervousness or apprehension happen every now and then. Such experiences serve us very well—they are part of a healthy warning system that develops as we learn from experience and keeps us safe from potential harm. However, sometimes worry can become an unwanted habit and cause all kinds of discomfort. This is when it tips over into anxiety and can become an excruciating and debilitating experience—wreaking havoc in mind, body and soul.
Many children as well as adults experience anxiety. Whether it is anxiety caused by a particularly challenging circumstance, or generalized, free-floating worry for no apparent reason, this experience can be excruciating and this is so distressing for parents to witness in their children.
Most kids and people with anxiety think they have little or no control over how they feel or what thoughts they have, so author, Selina Byrne M.A.P.S and publisher of strengths-based tools, Innovative Resources, got together to design a tool that will help children learn how to take things to a new place in the brain.
It’s not about ‘curing’ or ‘getting rid of’ anxiety, it’s all about learning how to tolerate the anxiety and to manage it in a way that makes life easier.
You can do so many things with these cards. You can learn strategies systematically, one at a time, or you can dip in and choose by random. The idea is to just do the activity according to the brief instruction on the cards and then notice which strategies you enjoy the most, or which ones have the biggest brain impact.
Selina Byrne M.A.P.S has used the methods extensively with children in her private practice for more than the last 10 years, blogs about them and has written a book about them.
These techniques arise out of solution-focussed, strengths-based approaches, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, brain research, optimism theory, mindfulness practices, interpersonal therapy and behaviour models. (Download a matrix of practice frameworks that each card engages here)
In addition to clinical testing, Selina has road-tested the kids anxiety strategies with early childhood educators, and teachers. Early childhood professionals (kindergarten teachers in particular) were very excited about the cards as they have identified a huge need to help kids with anxiety in simple ways that don’t label the kids or the activities. They said that they will use the cards in story time, show and tell, group time as well as linking to other curriculum activities such as drawing or colouring, counting, movement or nature activities, activities.
Teachers said similar things, using the cards in circle time, in relaxation exercises and to link to themes in class.
Parents were also very interested as it was different from the way they focus on their children when anxiety hits. They were used to asking questions, trying to identify anxiety causes, telling them not to worry as well as other less helpful approaches!
Combined with the delightful illustrations of Katie Jardine, these cards are perfect for 3—14 year-olds.
Selina Byrne M.A.P.S is a consulting psychologist and clinical nutritionist specialising in developing individual and organisational wellbeing solutions. In addition to her educational and corporate conferences and staff seminars, Selina conducts a private practice offering individual counselling, specialising in fatigue and energy management, mood issues (anxiety and depression), nutritional approaches, clinical hypnosis, food-related concerns (food psychology strategies), career development and managing workplace and personal relationships.
Selina holds a Master of Social Science (Addiction), Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology, Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition, Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis, Graduate Diploma in Equal Opportunity and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology). Selina has presented many seminars and keynote addresses in various high-profile organisations and has been interviewed numerous times in the media in relation to her work with individuals and groups.
Listen to our Podcast where Karen Bedford, our Managing Editor speaks with Katie Jardine, illustrator of Anxiety Solutions for Kids about the illustrations, about the illustrations, key messages, and techniques that sit behind the card set.
Stories and Reviews
Responses to ‘My Favourite Card’ SOON Competition.
We hang a card each week at our sink in the office and we look at it while we fill the kettle. When we put this card up I could hear my colleague in the kitchen repeatedly saying ‘Thank you’ in all different voices and volumes—to the universe. It was great!’
Belinda Ryan – Ignite Therapies
This is my favourite because people can sometimes get into a panic when feeling anxious and everything can seem to speed up and ‘close in’. This strategy helps an anxious person to slow things down. And by saying things really slowly, it gives you more of a chance to breathe deeply and/or calmly as you do so.
Don Pearson – RTLB Gisborne Girls High
Better Than Before
This is my favourite because it fights against perfectionist tendencies and really focusses on strengths. It’s a great reminder that the challenge we face currently is surmountable, and even if it’s hard now, we are constantly growing and learning!
Rebecca Lea – NSW Police Force
All the kids I work with like the counting colours card because it is just fun and takes their anxiety straight away.
I have a challenging 10 year-old-boy who refused to go to school. The boy has been missing school for almost a year. My goal is to support him to attend school again. The boy chose the counting colours card from the card set and we practised it straight away.
The boy got excited and stopped crying. We counted all the different colours in the room, and walked to the basketball court to continue the counting.
The boy then accepted the challenge to walk into his classroom and keep the counting going. He even initiates what colours he wants to count next.
It’s a wonderful set of cards with simple wording and engaging pictures that kids are able to understand and practise straight away.
Vivi – Nexus Primary Health