Sparky and Shady Author Kathy Sheehan article 2019 The Happy Frog

How to reduce anxiety in kids

By Kathy Sheehan ~ Author, Personal Coach & Educator. Find Kathy’s books in store at The Happy Frog

The best way to reduce anxiety in our kids is to change our beliefs about them being safe! Are you constantly fearful that your child will get hurt and you won’t be there to help them?

Not wanting your child to get hurt is normal but worrying about it constantly could make your child anxious.


Your child learns from you. You are their role model. You teach them everything you believe about them, other people and life and they take on many of your beliefs.

If you believe things like, ‘my child always gets hurt’ and ‘my child can’t cope without me’ then guess what will happen?

Your belief will come true for you!

And if your child learns these things from you – then they will come true for them too!

How does this happen?

We have a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is located at the base of our brains and one of its jobs is to be the ‘gatekeeper’ for our conscious mind.

Our senses perceive 11 billion pieces of information every second but our conscious mind can only process and receive 50 pieces of information a second.

Our RAS lets in the 50 pieces of information that are most compatible with our beliefs and we become aware of these. The other 11 billion (take away 50) are filtered out.

Let’s see how this works in real life…

Let’s say I have a 9-year-old son and he is going to a friend’s place for a sleep over. Even though I trust the parent, I am still fearful and worried about my son.

I am especially worried about him getting hurt (falling off a skateboard or bike) because I don’t think he could cope without me there to support him.

Despite these fears, I let him go.

The next day I pick up my son and when the door opens my senses perceive; my son’s massive smile, both kids laughing, my son holding hands with the mum, strawberry stains on both boys’ shirts, both kids asking when my son can comeback, a band-aid on my son’s knee, a jumper in his hand and billions of other things too!

Out of that list, what information does my RAS let into my conscious mind?

You guessed it – the band-aid!!

Automatically, my response is, “What happened to your knee?”

What would my RAS let into my conscious mind if I believed, “My son is safe and he always has fun at sleep overs?”

I’d see the smile, the hand being held, the strawberry stain and hear him asking to go back again and I’d automatically say, “Wow you guys had fun!”

Can you see how my perception of reality is totally dependent on my beliefs?

The truth is my son gets hurt as often as other 9-year-old boys, but if I believe he ‘always gets hurt’ or ‘he isn’t safe without me’ then that’s what my conscious mind will receive from my RAS.

If I continually model my worry and anxiety for my son, then sooner or later he might believe he isn’t safe and he might believe he can’t cope without me too! If that happens, his RAS will point out the bad stuff and before you know it he won’t want to go to sleep overs or school camps or adventure opportunities without me!

To reduce the likelihood of this happening the most effective thing I can do is change my beliefs about my son! If I believe, “My son is safe. My son can cope without me.” Then guess what happens?

When we change our beliefs, our RAS lets in different information which changes our reality!

If you are interested in changing some unhelpful beliefs and finding out more about Sparky and Shady, there’s a Free Parent Talk on Tuesday 28th May at 7pm in the Arena Room at the Coffs Harbour Showground and half price workshops in June!

Happy parenting!

Love Kathy