Tips for Anxiety – Schedule Worry Time

All of our children have worries.  But our children with autism seem to have giant worries.  One method that I have found to be effective in addressing anxiety is to schedule worry time.  The majority of my students with autism have anxiety that takes over their entire day.  The fears become perseverative for children with autism and anxiety disorders; mundane home and school tasks become extremely challenging.  In particular, high functioning children with autism struggle immensely to disguise and/or overcome their worries. Worry time has proven to be a successful method to contain childhood worry. 

How To:                                                                            

Scheduling a time for your child to worry is an excellent method to control his or her fears and anxiety.  Choose a time of day when you and your child can spend uninterrupted time together.  The time must be dedicated solely to the purpose of listening to your child’s fears.  Set a specific duration of time (15- to 30-minutes), and set yourself a timer so you know exactly when “worry time” is over. 

During that time frame, allow your child to discuss his worries continuously.  He can verbally talk about his worries, write a list of his worries, or make a video diary of his worries.  The written lists and video diary recordings can be reviewed during the next “worry” session to help desensitize him to his repetitive worries.

The goal is to use the entire time allotted.  If your child runs out of worries to discuss during the time frame, encourage him to think of more.  If he does not fill the time frame, he should stay until worry time runs out.  The time frame is important because it shows your child the uselessness of worrying.

If you have questions or need more ideas, please contact Above All Therapy.

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Tips for Anxiety – Schedule Worry Time