Understanding our own anxieties can be tough, let alone trying to explain the concept to our children
While everyone worries sometimes, it’s important children learn to recognise and understand the signs of anxiety, so they can develop healthy coping strategies.
Books can help children to explore their own anxieties through characters, situations, and worksheets in a safe, comfortable environment. By reading about the things that may be worrying them, they can explore their own worries and anxieties, and discover some of the ways that these fears could be dealt with. It can also help take away some of the power from their anxiety; if others are feeling this way, and have found a way to cope with it, then they can, too!
Here are a few of our top recommendations for children’s books to help kids understand and cope with anxiety.
Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
An old favourite in pre-schools, nurseries, and classrooms, Owl Babies tackles separation anxiety. Baby owls Sarah, Percy, and Bill wake up one night to find their mother has gone. As darkness gathers and the owls grow more anxious, they stick together, wondering when their mother will return.
A reassuring story that teaches young children that mummy will always come back, Owl Babies provides a safe, secure way to explore one of the biggest worries for very young children, whilst reinforcing the idea for kids that their parents will come back for them.
The Huge Bag of Worries
A great introduction to general worries for primary school aged children, The Huge Bag of Worries helps teach kids how worries can creep up on us over time. Jenny has a few worries at first, but she finds herself worrying more, and more, and more, until a huge bag of worries appears.
Through Jenny’s journey, kids can learn that, just because one method of trying to tackle their worries doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that they should stop trying. With simple language and engaging illustrations, it’s a great book to read together with your child or to encourage them to read by themselves.
All Birds Have Anxiety
Following the style and success of best-sellers All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD, All Birds Have Anxiety helps explain the difficult, complex idea of anxiety in an easy to understand way for young readers.
Using colourful photography and gentle humour, All Birds Have Anxiety explains what life can be like with day-to-day anxiety, and how you can begin dealing with it.
What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
Part of the What to Do When You… series, this practical workbook by psychologist Dawn Huebner is full of advice children can use to control and work through their own anxiety. Written in child-friendly language, kids can read this alone or work through it together with you.
Filled with ideas and tips on how to cope with their worries, it’s also a great way for parents to understand their child’s thought process and together learn how to address their worries one by one.
The Worry Website
Written by one of the best-loved current authors in children’s fiction, The Worry Website is a collection of seven linked short stories.
Looking at different worries from stepmothers to doing badly at maths, The Worry Website encourages kids to discuss their troubles and seek advice from each other as well as from grownups. Recommended for children aged nine and up, quite a few child readers say it would be good for readers seven and over.