Using a Paper Airplane to Aleviate Anxiety

Anxiety Paper Airplane

Anxiety is a very real problem for many kids and teens, and there is no “quick fix.” However, there are techniques you can use to help a child struggling with anxiety and some of them are quite simple.

This paper airplane technique requires only one piece of paper (almost any type will do), some sort of writing utensil and time to talk to the child dealing with anxiety.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Sit down with the anxious child and talk about the things that are causing them anxiety. You can guide the conversation, but make sure to allow the child to lead the conversation and discuss their own anxieties.
  2. As you discuss each item which causes anxiety, have the child write it (or draw it) on the piece of paper.
  3. Take the opportunity to talk about different breathing techniques and other things the child can do to help when they feel themselves getting anxious.
  4. When you are done listing things on the paper, make a paper airplane. If you’re not a paper airplane aficionado, you can find instructions here.
  5. Have the child throw the paper airplane across the room or, ideally, into a trash can.

Although a very simple exercise, the Anxiety Paper Airplane has numerous benefits. They include:

  • Getting the child talking about their anxieties. Just discussing the various causes of anxiety can alleviate some simple anxieties and will help the child to name the emotions they are feeling.
  • The physical motion of throwing the paper airplane (a cross lateral movement as the arm crosses the body) is a stress reliever in and of itself.
  • The symbolism of writing down your fears and tossing them in the trash can is a powerful reminder to kids when they feel anxious.

We live in a world where kids experience anxiety at unprecedented levels. This simple technique will help you to help kids get to the bottom of their anxieties and begin the process of moving past them.

For more awesome resources for learning about and dealing with emotions, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Emotions Help Center.
Written by Wayne Stocks
Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne previously started I Am A Child of Divorce and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents' relationship. These are now part of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Wayne speaks frequently at conferences and churches on issues related to helping kids learn to deal with difficult emotions and life in modern families. Wayne lives with his wife, three youngest kids, three dogs and an insane collection of his kids' other pets outside of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his work with Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne is a partner in a local consulting firm, an avid reader, coaches his son's soccer team and is a proud supporter of Leicester City Football Club (and yes, for those in know, his affinity for the club does predate the 2016 championship). You can reach Wayne at wayne@hope4hurtingkids.com.