Introducing and understanding helpful and unhelpful thoughts is probably the main underlying concept of the anxiety group.  It is getting kids to understand that the way you think about a situation then determines how you feel... the heart of cognitive behavioral therapy.  We spent many sessions on this theme.  Below is one of the first lessons we did on this.

FREE DOWNLOAD!  Intro to helpful vs. unhelpful thoughts

Some of my little kids got it right away.  Others I had to backtrack and teach the concept of "What is a Thought"... as this is very abstract.  Below is a link to the lesson I have for teaching this concept.

This is my lesson on teaching, "What is a thought", available on Teachers Pay Teachers

We continued on with practicing this concept of helpful vs. unhelpful thoughts for at least some part of each session.  We used the lesson below as an example.  Download it for free.  We tried to use real life fears for our kids, based on the game/survey they took at the beginning of the group.

We used real life examples of the kids.

We also did matching activities, sorting (cutting and pasting) activities as well with helpful and unhelpful thoughts.  We used Austin and Calvin to do several role plays with a cut-out thought bubble that we laminated so we could use a dry erase pen and write in thoughts.

Another resource I used to help teach this concept of thoughts change/cause feelings was ZEEBU.  
These videos are slowed down and use simple concrete language.  They use thought bubbles and lots of expression to teach thoughts and feelings as well.  I have bought all the Zeebu resources and I think they are fabulous.

Zeebu uses puppets and music that kids love.

Our parent group also continues, a lot of the time we shared in obstacles and then problem solved them or shared in successes.   We continued each session to talk about calming activities for the kids. Everytime practicing belly breathing.  I made laminated Nighttime Calming Activities Choice Boards for all my parents.  They loved them. Next up we introduce the idea of desensitization.  With the kids we talked about goal setting (earning rewards for helpful thoughts and being brave).  Can't wait to share it in the next blog post!  Thanks for reading.

My parents loved this to use with their kiddos at nighttime to establish a routine.  See it on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.

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