Jayden Feels Anxious
Understand what anxiety means and how to deal with it.
Tell the children you will read them a story about Jayden.
Explain that Jayden has experienced a situation that makes him feel anxious. Explain that anxious means uneasy or nervous.
Ask the children to show you how their faces look when they are anxious.
Show them the illustration for this lesson.
Read the following story aloud:
Jayden held his mom’s hand as they walked into the preschool. Jayden liked his morning routine. He knew what to expect. First, he would hang his jacket and place his shoes in his cubby area. Then, Jayden and his mom would check in with his beloved teacher, Mrs. Muffin, who always wore a red flower clip on her head. After checking in, Jayden would kiss his mom goodbye and sit at the table to eat his morning snack, a banana.
After organizing Jayden’s cubby, Jayden and his mom entered the room where Mrs. Muffin usually greeted him with a smile and a hug. This morning, a lady Jayden had never seen before was standing by the door.
“Good morning, I’m Miss Cupcake! Poor Mrs. Muffin is sick with the flu, so I’ll be your teacher for the rest of the week,” said the strange lady.
Just then, Jayden got the same feeling in his tummy that he had gotten his first day of Tae Kwon Do class or every time he had to go to get his haircut. Jayden wrapped his arms around his mom and buried his face in her stomach. He really did not want to stay with Miss Cupcake. Jayden wanted Mrs. Muffin!
Ask the children to work with a building buddy to build Jayden and one of the other characters, either Miss Cupcake or Jayden’s mom.
Tell the building buddies to role-play using their model of Jayden’s mom or Miss Cupcake to talk to the model of Jayden about his feelings.
Consider asking questions like:
- Why did Jayden feel anxious?
- Think about Jayden’s fear; was it a safety sign?
Discuss that a safety sign is the way your body tells you that something is dangerous (e.g., your heart might beat faster and harder when you climb something tall).
- Was Jayden’s fear causing him to miss out on something good?
- Was it stopping him from doing what needed to be done?
- What situations make you feel anxious?
If needed, give examples, such as, going to the dentist, meeting new people, or getting a haircut.
Teaching tip: Children enjoy hearing personal stories about their teachers. Sharing
about your own anxious childhood moments and how you worked through them can
be a way to get their ideas flowing.
As a group, make up a song for how to deal with anxious moments.
Start out with: “If you’re nervous and you know it.” Then add verses and motions to go with the words. Here is a list of suggestions:
- Tell your mom
- Take a bath
- Cuddle up
- Get a hug
- Think of something good
- Show a smile
- Sing a song
- Tell a joke
- Belly breathe
After you sing the song a few times, ask the children to use their models to act out one of the coping techniques from the song.
Did you notice?
Observing the following skills can help you monitor whether the children are developing socially and emotionally.
- Children are able to express their thoughts and feelings.
- Children are able to understand other people’s feelings.
Children will :
Understand that anxiety can cause people to miss out on positive experiences and prevent them from doing what needs to be done.
Understand that feeling anxious can be a safety sign that you are in a dangerous situation.
Understand that there are different ways to work through anxiety.
Children are able to understand other people’s feelings.
Children are able to express their thoughts and feelings.