Using Ice to Decrease Anxious Thoughts in Children

Imagine a child struggling with anxious thoughts. Their mind races with worries, and they feel overwhelmed by emotions.

Traditional methods might involve talking through those worries, but what if there was a simpler, more engaging way to bring them back to the present moment?

Hi, I’m Alysha Menkis, and in this article, I’ll share how the power of ice can help decrease anxious thoughts in children.

Intriguing Introduction:


The idea of using ice in session might seem novel however, the intention behind it is not. I first learned about how to use ice from my deck of mindfulness games and activities cards.

The initial confusion a child might express upon seeing the ice cubes (“What are we doing today?”) paves the way for a gentle introduction to the exercise.


Building Trust and Shared Experience:


My response, “We are going to hold ice until it melts,” combined with a smile, establishes trust and a sense of playfulness. The act of both me and the child picking an ice cube creates a shared experience, fostering a sense of connection and safety.


Focusing on the Present Moment:


Taking a deep breath together as the cold hits their hands grounds both the child and I in the present moment. My reassurance, “This ice cube is safe,” helps alleviate any initial apprehension the child might have.


Mindful Observation:


The activity then shifts towards mindful observation. Guiding the child to focus on how the ice cube feels as it melts encourages them to become aware of their physical sensations. This mindful awareness helps to distract from the anxious thoughts spiraling in their mind.


Addressing Worries and Building Tolerance:


Then I can gently inquire about any worries the child might be experiencing. By acknowledging these worries, I validate the child’s feelings while simultaneously encouraging them to stay present with the ice cube.

As the child tolerates the initial discomfort of the cold and continues to hold the ice cube, they build a sense of resilience. This “staying uncomfortable” is a crucial skill for managing anxiety, as it demonstrates that they can cope with challenging situations.


Building on Success:


If the child successfully holds the ice cube until it melts, it becomes a small victory. This sense of accomplishment can then be used as a stepping stone to develop tolerance for other uncomfortable situations that might trigger their anxiety.

The ice cube activity is a powerful yet simple tool for helping children manage anxiety. By focusing on the present moment, fostering trust, and building tolerance for discomfort, it empowers children to take control of their anxious thoughts and emotions.


And if you find that your child needs additional support, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help.




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