Any parent or carer knows how difficult it can be to watch your child struggle with anxiety. While it’s normal to experience fear and worry, helping children with anxiety when it occurs can prevent it from interfering with their daily life. Fortunately, doing something as simple as reading a book can relieve many of the symptoms of anxiety.
Books are a great way to transform things that are abstract to children into something more concrete. Studies have shown that reading can help children develop coping skills to deal with anxiety, as fictional characters with similar challenges can teach them how to overcome them. This can provide a sense of empowerment to children, helping them manage their anxiety better in real-life situations.
Here at Compass, we emphasise the importance of putting children’s wellbeing first. So, we’ve selected five children’s books on anxiety to read together, helping your child understand and cope with it.
Hey Warrior is all about teaching children that anxiety is the work of a strong, healthy brain. It takes the Amygdala, which is the part of the brain that anxiety originates from, and personifies it into a warrior. The book explains that its purpose is to protect you, but sometimes it works too hard, and that’s where anxiety comes from.
Hey Warrior provides a great explanation of anxiety for kids, while also featuring coping mechanisms that can help them turn anxiety around. It’s an empowering read for children, though it might be better suited to those aged 5 and above.
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings
Britney Winn Lee
While The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is great for children with anxiety, it’s also amazing for those identified as a Highly Sensitive Person or those on the autism spectrum. The book follows a main character who experiences emotions so strong that they burst out him in different ways. Jokes make him laugh, loud noises make him cry, and he deeply feels the emotions of those around him.
As the boy tries to stuff down his feelings before they come out, he soon realises his emotions are something to celebrate. The Boy with Big, Big Feelings teaches children that emotions are never something to be ashamed of, and expressing them in the right way is healthy.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
Many times, children deal with anxiety because they feel they’ve made a mistake or done something wrong. In It’s Okay to Make Mistakes, Todd Parr teaches children that it’s okay to get things wrong or do things differently to others. It uses examples such as colouring outside the lines and forgetting an umbrella to give off its message.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes is one of the many children’s books on anxiety that pushes children to embrace differences and authentically be themselves, helping them build confidence and reduce anxiety.
I Am Stronger Than Anxiety
I Am Stronger Than Anxiety follows a young boy called Little Nick, who is going on a camping trip with his dad. However, Nick is too consumed with anxiety to be excited. As the story goes on, Little Nick meets several animals who explain what anxiety is and provide him tips on how to deal with it. By the end, Little Nick is no longer worried and excited to spend time with his dad.
Not only does it explain and list the symptoms of anxiety simply, but also introduces them to emotional regulation. I Am Stronger Than Anxiety also includes a bonus activity game at the end, which could be a great bonding activity for you and your child.
The Huge Bag of Worries
The Huge Bag of Worries follows Jenny, a young girl constantly followed by her worries in a big blue bag. No matter where she is, the bag is always there – even when she is in the bathroom! Over time, it becomes too much for Jenny to deal with, and she begins to search for help.
The book is a great way to demonstrate to children how worries can weigh you down over time if you don’t address them, causing you to experience anxiety daily. Not only does it help reassure children, but it also encourages them to have more important conversations with you about their mental health.
- Outside of the realms of fiction, there are plenty of good non-fiction children’s books about anxiety that you can look at with your child. Calm, Happy Kids by Rob Plevin is a straightforward activity book that helps promote emotional regulation, focus and better sleeping habits for children.
- If you’re worried your foster child may suffer from an anxiety disorder or other mental health issue, please also contact your GP to seek further advice.
- YoungMinds has tools to help children cope with anxiety.
- Youth Access offers advice and counselling for young people.
- Reach out to the Compass Fostering team for more guidance on helping your foster child.
Children may struggle with understanding and managing anxiety, but parents and foster carers can provide guidance. It’s crucial to acknowledge the validity of your child’s emotions and be prepared to offer them the necessary support as their caregiver.
If you’re ready to provide a safe and secure home for a child in need, get in touch to find out more about becoming a foster carer with Compass Fostering.