Childhood Anxiety Reduction: Cool Kids Program

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STG Health Services will be offering a structured anxiety program to kids and youth starting in the spring of 2022. This Cool Kids program was developed by Macquarie University in Australia and has been running since 1993. The program has undergone continual scientific evaluation and development to include the latest understanding of anxiety and its treatment. It has been translated into several languages and today is used in clinics, schools and hospitals around the world.

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What is the Cool Kids Program?

The Cool Kids Series of Programs aims to help children and adolescents learn to manage anxiety and related difficulties.  The programs are structured child-friendly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). There are currently three programs offered:

  • Cool Little Kids – a program for Parents of Preschool-Aged Children
  • Cool Kids – a program designed for Primary School-Aged Children
  • Chilled – a program designed for Adolescents.

Cool Kids Essentials

The essential components of all the Cool Kids programs include:

  • Psychoeducation: Including understanding the components, presentation, and nature of anxiety as well as the factors involved in its development. Understanding the relevant components of treatment and their purpose
  • Cognitive restructuring: Including learning to act like a detective and gather evidence about whether feared events are highly likely
  • Parent skills: Including helping parents to manage their anxious child better and reducing their urge to control and overprotect; also teaching parents strategies to help manage their own anxious feelings
  • In-vivo exposure: Including the development of stepladders for the child that allows them to gradually face their fears and learn that feared events are unlikely to happen and that they can cope
  • Social skills: Including how to act in a more skilled manner and engage better with people and act more assertively with peers
  • Improved coping strategies: Including dealing more effectively with teasing and bullying, developing a range of coping strategies such as relaxation and reducing poor coping such as drug-taking, and problem-solving

cool kids

Cool Little Kids

The Cool Little Kids Anxiety Prevention Program is a 6-week for Parents of Preschool-Aged children. It focuses on teaching children, through their parents, to build confidence and develop skills to help them manage their child’s anxiety and other negative emotions as they grow. It’s aimed at parents of children who are shy, withdrawn, or inhibited. 

Parents will gain insight into why their child is shy; the links between shyness and anxiety, and how to prevent anxiety problems.

You will also learn practical strategies such as:

  • What to do when your child is worried or scared.
  • How to encourage their bravery.
  • How to gradually and gently teach your child to face their fears.
  • How to use rewards to increase your child’s bravery.
  • How to reduce unhelpful parenting strategies.
  • How to help your child become more independent.
  • How to keep your thoughts accurate.
  • How to prepare for future challenges.

Cool Kids

Cool Kids is a structured program that teaches children and their parents how to better manage a child’s anxiety. The program is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), involves the participation of children and parents, and focuses on teaching practical skills.

The program is designed for children aged around 7 – 12. It uses a cognitive behavioural approach which means that it focuses on teaching skills to manage anxiety.

Practice tasks are a crucial part of the program and are given following every session. Practice tasks encourage the use of new skills in everyday situations.

The goals of Cool Kids are:

  • Reduce symptoms and amount of life’s interferences caused by anxiety
  • Increased school attendance
  • Improved academic achievement
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved peer relationships
  • Increase engagement in extra-curricular activities
  • Reduced worry, shyness, fear and family distress.

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Learning about anxiety
  • Learning to think realistically
  • Parenting an anxious child
  • Facing fears using stepladders
  • Learning coping skills such as assertiveness or problem-solving.

The program involves weekly sessions of 1 hour, and families are required to purchase a parent and child workbook.

Cool Kids Chilled

Cool Kids ‘Chilled’ is a structured weekly program that teaches children and their parents how to better manage a child’s anxiety. The program is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), involves the participation of children and parents, and focuses on teaching practical skills.

Cool Kids ‘Chilled’ is aimed at treating anxiety disorders in adolescents. It is designed for children aged around 13 – 17 years. It uses a cognitive behavioural approach which means that it focuses on teaching skills to manage anxiety.

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Learning about anxiety
  • Learning to think realistically
  • Parenting an anxious child
  • Facing fears using stepladders
  • Learning coping skills such as assertiveness or problem-solving.

Cool Kids Sessions in Saskatchewan

Cool Kids CBT sessions are now available online throughout Saskatchewan and in-person in La Ronge, Saskatchewan. Please contact Chris de Feijter about the possibilities.

Cool Kids Accredited

Chris de Feijter is accredited by Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health to use the Cool Kids program. The intellectual property rights, including copyright, in the Program are owned by Macquarie University. Macquarie University does not endorse any particular provider of the program and their other services.

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