The news broke yesterday afternoon.
The day my son was worried about finally arrived.
School is canceled for the year.
Their mom broke the news. I walked in during the aftermath.
The 7-year-old cried. The 10-year-old just stared ahead in a daze. Shell-shocked is a fair description.
Neither kid asked many questions though they’ll probably have hundreds.
Most will go unasked.
The questions will swim inside their heads. They’ll try to answer those questions on their own, causing even more sadness, anxiety, and uncertainty.
The next thing we know, one of the kids will have a full-on meltdown for what seems like no good reason.
In an article over on Medium, Fitzwilliam explains that when a kid becomes anxious, let them know it’s a normal reaction and teach them to say, “My brain is responding to something it doesn’t like, and it’s freaking out.”
That’s when it’s time to introduce them to the Wet Cat Brain technique:
“Point out that cats get freaked out, too. Cats are always walking around looking like they have everything together (that’s why we have the phrase ‘cool cats,’ right?). But even they have anxiety. Ask your child, do you know the one time you’ll always see an anxious cat?
When it’s a wet cat. A wet cat is never calm and collected. A wet cat is a freaked-out cat.
And that’s what you have now. You have Wet Cat Brain.”
A wet cat is a simple visualization that kids of all ages will understand.
When a cat gets wet, the cat freaks out. When your brain senses something it doesn’t like, it can get freaked out.
Fitzwilliam suggests walking an anxious child through a visualization exercise that will help calm both the imaginary wet cat and your kid’s fears.
“Imagine you pick up the cat, all wet and freaked out, and begin to softly stroke it’s fur.
Stroke between its ears and down its neck. Stroke its back. Stroke its sides.
Imagine you keep stroking the cat, feeling its soft fur beneath your fingers. Each time your hand passes along the cat, you brush off a little water.
With each stroke, the cat gets just a little bit drier, and just a little bit calmer.”
Hopefully, the wet cat technique will get your kids to calm down, or at the very least, talk more about what’s making them anxious.
If all else fails, just doing an internet search of “wet cats” is enough to help most kids – and adults – forget their problems for a few minutes.
Thanks for reading! If you like this article, please take a second to like, comment, or share this with friends or random strangers. If you’re new to the website, please take a second to follow me on FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, or TUMBLR.