Anxiety affects over 20% of children in this age group. If it is not dealt with appropriately, anxiety can severely impact a child’s development, and can ever create problems later in life. Anxiety causes a child excessive worry about things like homework, attending social gatherings, and even non-local events like natural disasters.
To help participants remember the FRIENDS concepts, and to bring structure to the sessions we use the FRIENDS acronym:
- Feelings (talk about your feelings and care about other people’s feelings)
- Relax (do “milkshake” breathing, have some quiet time)
- I can try! (we can all try our best)
- Encourage (step plans to happy home)
- Nurture (quality time together doing fun activities)
- Don’t forget – be brave! (practice skills everyday with friends /family)
- Stay happy
FRIENDS for Life empowers participants to cope with the emotions of themselves and others by engaging with positive thoughts, emotions, and self-regulation strategies. The program also teaches creative alternatives to solving problems they would have previously shied away from, fostering the development of confidence and self-esteem. Most importantly, FRIENDS for Life encourages smiling, happiness and bravery, and facilitates smooth transitions into adolescence.
The effectiveness of the FRIENDS Programs is independent of the chosen mode of delivery.
Accordingly, the mode of delivery is entirely flexible, provided the following three guidelines are met:
- 01 Facilitators have first been trained in the program/s being delivered;
- 02 The sequence and structure of the program/s is followed; and
- 03 Each participant receives his or her own private book, which can be used to review the skills practiced, during delivery of the programs. For example, at home with parents, carers, siblings or extended family.
Specifically, the following modes of delivery can be used and adapted to suit the needs of the participants and school curriculum:
- 1.5 hour weekly sessions over a single school term (preferably term 2 or 3);
- 45min weekly sessions over the course of 2 school terms (preferably terms 2 and 3);
- 15min daily sessions (after morning tea), where the same activity is repeated daily for a few weeks, using new examples until the skills become second nature;
- School holiday programs – 2 hours across 5 days; and/or
- Weekend intensives - over 2-3 full days.