Saturday, 16 May 2015

Letters from fairies - helping with child anxiety














I think i have mentioned a few times about Elle's anxiety and perfectionism. It started in early years. We noticed that she didn't want to play after school and instead would sit in her room trying to work out her spellings or filling up pages and pages in notebooks of writing, words and spellings. I would sometimes check on her as late as 10 at night and she would still be sitting in bed, doing school work. We had to start monitoring her time and at school, they had a chart for her in the classroom that she got stickers on when she stuck to her time schedule and when she did play instead of working. When she started year one, it got a lot worse. She was getting so stressed and was so tearful all the time. One evening, i was tucking her into bed and she just broke down and said that she wasn't perfect and no one would like her if she wasn't perfect and got everything right. It was heartbreaking and we ended up having to get the school involved. Elle had regular meetings with a family support worker at school and she also gave me lots of advice and tips on dealing with the situation. Elle had a childs meditation cd that she would listen to every night before bed to calm her down. After a few weeks, we noticed such a change in her and even though she still worked really hard, she didn't seem so tired, tearful and stressed anymore. Fast forward a few months and i am starting to see the pattern happen all over again. Last weekend, she just burst into tears and said that she doesn't get everything right and all she wants to do is be perfect and right at everything. Elle is such a sensitive spirit and a very big over achiever and i know that is apart of her but she is only 6 years old and shouldn't be having these thoughts. I tell her every day that we love her for her and that she doesn't have to be perfect at everything. We have even had members of the family step in and talk to her, trying their hardest to persuade her that she doesn't have to be perfect at everything. Last weekend, i just felt completely defeated. We went to the bluebell woods and i just encouraged her to be a kid and go and find the fairies (she still asked to take her nature journal with her to draw though). Luckily for me, there was a log with lots of flying bugs "fairies" and Elle was mesmerised and really truly believed that they were the real fairies. She has always loved fairies and it was nice to see her being a child and not worrying about school and her work.

That evening, i went to check on her before i went to bed and she had left all the flowers she collected next to a lantern she has in her room. She had written a note asking the fairies to come and live there with her. It gave me an idea. I didn't know how well it would go but Elle believes with all her heart that fairies are real. She has such a big imagination and i thought that if i started writing letters back from the fairies, she might read the letters and believe that what they have written is true. You can see the conversation from last weekend to last night in the pictures above. I just had to give it a go and it seems to have worked. A few times this week, i have gone into her room to wake her for school. She has burst into tears instantly and then i would whisper that i think the fairies have left her another note. I then walked out her room to make breakfast and left her to read the notes. She then came downstairs really happy. On friday, the fairies gave her some special gold dust that makes her happy because on thursday eveneing, she was worrying about her times table test and maths test she had to do. She sprinkled it all in her hair (i had to explain to her teacher why she had a hair full of glitter) and she didn't worry the whole morning on the way to school about her tests. She kept saying she felt happy which made me so happy that a simple thing like that could really help her be more confident and positive where she would normally be tearful and stressed.

As you can see by the end of the conversation, Elle asked for her own computer and log in details for all the school work sites she does in class. I came up with the idea that Father Christmas would write her a letter to try and distract her from remembering that she asked the fairies for a computer so she could do school work all the time at home!! She woke up this morning with a huge beam on her face and as she was eating her breakfast she kept saying that she couldn't believe that Father Christmas came and visited her and that he was so kind to write her a letter and that she was going to be extra kind in case he decides to visit again.

I don't know how long these notes will go back and forth. They could end this evening or go on a couple more weeks but i am willing to try anything for her. If i had notes like this when i was little, i know that it would be the most magical thing and i know it is for her. I know that i shouldn't encourage her too much to believe but it is apart of who she is. She believes so much in fairies and father christmas that i really don't think that will change for a long time yet and anything that i can do right now to help her through the day, i am going to do.
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6 comments

  1. What a lovely idea and I'm so glad that it seems to have worked and distracted her from worrying about her schoolwork all of the time.

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  2. What a lovely idea and I'm so glad that it seems to have worked and distracted her from worrying about her schoolwork all of the time.

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  3. The photographs are beautiful and so is the idea of the fairy help. I didn't read the letters though or more than the first couple of sentences of the post, as I personally didn't feel comfortable looking into Elle's privacy to such an extent. I hope all goes well for her.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing the sweet conversation between Elle and her fairies. :) She seems like such a thoughtful little girl and this post made me nostalgic in a nice way. xo

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  5. So thoughtful and magical Kerri-Anne xx

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  6. This reminds me of the time I used to tell my little brother and one of his friends that fairies lived in the most beautiful gardens in our neighbourhood. They were around six or seven at the time, and I think they really enjoyed the stories! I don't think you need to worry about encouraging her too much. My own mum kept up the stories about the tooth fairy and Father Christmas for a long time, and even once I got to my teen years I was still grateful that I had experienced magic. Perhaps it wasn't the kind of magic we read about in books, but the magic of the imagination is one of the most important things a person can have :)

    Good luck to Elle and I hope she stops worrying so much soon and just enjoys being a child. They truly are the most beautiful years and she's lucky to have such a wonderful mummy.

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