Cool Little Kids

An early intervention program for the parents of children aged 3 to 6 years who show signs of excessive shyness or anxiety. Cool Little Kids equips parents with knowledge, practical skills and tips to help their child manage and overcome anxiety.

While some shyness can be a normal part of development, research has shown that excessive shyness in preschool aged children can lead to more serious problems in later life, such as the development of anxiety disorders. Having a parent who is anxious or depressed also increases a child’s likelihood of developing anxiety. Cool Little Kids gives parents effective tools and strategies to enhance their child’s emotional wellbeing and help prevent anxiety issues in the future.

The Cool Little Kids program is theoretically grounded in the cognitive behavioural approach. It is based on research that has identified some of the key factors important in the development of anxiety across childhood. It consists of six six two-hour group sessions over a six-to-eight week period, held at the same time each week. We keep groups small and interactive (usually between 4 and 6 families), so that all families are able to get the most out of the program.

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Understanding anxiety and shyness in preschool children
  • Causes and risk factors for child anxiety
  • Helpful and unhelpful ways of responding to anxiety in children
  • Skills and strategies to help your child build brave behaviours and face fears
  • How to deal with setbacks and difficulties
  • Maintaining progress after the program ends.

What you can expect

The biggest advantage of working in a group with other parents is that you realise that you’re not alone and that the difficulties your child is having are experienced by other children too. You benefit from sharing your stories, problems and successes with one another and can support each other during difficulties and share the pleasure as your children grow in confidence and resilience. During the program you learn how to parent a child with anxiety, and long term strategies and tips to help your child manage their own anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the first instance, you could contact Elaine for an individual or family session to assess whether your child has anxiety and qualifies for the program.
It’s not uncommon for children (and parents) to be apprehensive about joining a group and revealing the difficulties they are experiencing with anxiety. However, experience has shown that families gain huge benefits from group sessions that can’t be obtained in one-to-one counselling. It helps children to learn that others are ‘in the same boat’ and it helps parents as they learn from each other’s experiences and share what works well for different families. It can also be a lot of fun!!!
Families come from a range of backgrounds but you will probably find that you have more in common than you thought. Every child who completes the program is there because they have worries and fears that are stopping them from enjoying life to the full. Most people end up thoroughly enjoying the group and the support it provides.
Cool Kids is designed to run over nine weeks with a two-hour group session every week (usually held after school). The last two or three sessions are usually a couple of weeks apart to allow children and their families time to practice the techniques learned in earlier sessions. We generally do not run Cool Kids during the school holidays, so all in all, the program is generally spread over about 3 months. You also need to be prepared to spend at least half an hour every day completing practice tasks. Experience has shown that those families who prioritise the practice tasks are the ones who gain the most benefit from the program.
Yes, a child won’t be accepted unless at least one (but preferably both) parents agree to attend the sessions. One of the reasons this program is so successful is because parents are actively involved – and learn how to become a ‘coach’ for their child.
The cost of the Cool Kids program varies, depending on the number of families participating in each program – the more families, the cheaper it becomes! Individual sessions and assessments are charged on an hourly basis – please ask Elaine for more information.
We’re happy for anyone who feels that Cool Kids could be of assistance to a child or family they know to contact us in the first instance. This may include parents, grandparents or caregivers, medical professionals, schools or kindergartens, or other psychologists or therapists. We can provide information that can be passed on to the family so that they can make an informed choice.
We are confident that there will always be a degree of behaviour change if parents and children attend every session and always do the practice tasks between sessions. The amount of behaviour change will depend on a number of factors including how severe the anxiety is, the motivation of the child and family to change, and the presence of other issues that make change difficult. There is a follow up appointment about 3 months after the final Cool Kids session to monitor progress, and families are always welcome to undertake the program a second time in order to reinforce what has been learned.

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