The top books on helping kids overcome anxiety and worry for children, teens, and parents.
With everything going on in their lives and the world, it's no wonder that many kids and teens are struggling with worry and anxiety — plenty of adults are too! But while anxiety may be a normal response to many day-to-day stressors, it's important for all of us, including kids, to learn how to manage our worries so that we can feel in control, think clearly, and make healthy choices that suit what we really need, both now and in the future.
Whether or not anxiety is a regular part of your Mighty Girl's life, the books we recommend here will help her understand her feelings and give her strategies to help her stay calm, keep focused, and feel empowered to take on the challenges ahead. We also include a few titles for parents and educators, so that they can support girls as they develop these skills and foster an environment where worries — and techniques to help soothe them — are a manageable part of day-to-day life. Worry will always be with us, but with these resources, kids and parents will feel ready to meet them head-on.
Books About Managing Anxiety and Worry
We all worry sometimes: maybe it's because of the dark, or someone who seems mean, or even the news on TV. This new book from beloved author / illustrator Todd Parr is here to reassure preschoolers that they can take control of their worries! After letting them know that everyone worries sometimes, Parr offers helpful, kid-friendly strategies they can try, from imagining themselves as a superhero to talking to the people they love. With colorful illustrations that will make kids giggle, this book reminds kids that worries will come and go, but you can find ways to comfort yourself — or ask for the help you need.
It's been a tough day for Izzy the mouse, and she knows why: a bubble is casting a shadow over everything. It's just one little bubble, but the grouchy thought follows her everywhere and just won't go away. And then another one pops up... and another... and another. Before long, there are so many bubbles they're pushing Izzy clean off the page! Fortunately, Izzy has an idea what to do: she goes to her "secret spot," a calm beach, and starts taking some slow, deep breaths. And as readers help her blow the bubbles away, they'll realize that these mindful breaths can be a great way to deal with their own worries, too! With colorful illustrations and additional exercises to try at the back, this is an appealing and empowering book about taking control of your emotions when they threaten to overwhelm you.
When Ruby first meets the Worry, a yellow scribble with a furrowed brow, it's so small that she barely notices it. But over time, it gets bigger and bigger — and it starts draining all the other colors from the page. Before long, it's so big that the Worry keeps Ruby from doing the things she loves. Then one day, she sees a boy at the playground with a blue-scribble Worry of his own... and when she talks to him about it, she discovers that talking about your Worries can help keep them manageable and small. This kid-friendly story is an excellent way to talk to kids about anxiety and worry while highlighting that there are ways to seek support when you need it.
Hattie Harmony is ready for her first day at Wildwood Elementary, where she'll continue her favorite job: Worry Detective! Hattie is always ready to give her friends tips to calm their bodies and minds, whether it's catching real butterflies to distract one from the butterflies in her tummy, to giving another a stress ball to squeeze when anxiety rises up. And each time, she encourages them to cheer themselves on: "Worry, worry, go away! There’s no time for you today!" And when a super tall slide gets Hattie feeling anxious, it's time for Hattie to bring out one more piece of wisdom about worry: "Brave people don’t always feel brave inside." Actress Elizabeth Olsen and writer Robbie Arnett have created a charming story about managing anxiety that includes an end note with details about the tools Hattie suggests.
Cora is constantly plagued with nervous questions — the Whatifs! These sneaky little creatures like to make her worry about everything, from little things — what if my crayon breaks? — to big ones — what if my dog runs away? Backstage before her piano recital, Cora is particularly plagued with Whatif worries. Fortunately, her friend Stella reminds her that not all Whatifs are negative, and by turning her Whatifs around, Cora is able to get out on stage... and even recover when she hits a wrong note. This charming picture book introduces real-life cognitive behavioral therapy techniques in a playful way, perfect to reassure kids that they can thrive even when the Whatifs loom!
When it's time for hide-and-seek, Camila sticks with the hiding part... and she's very good at it. That's what she does whenever she's worried — which is pretty much all the time. She worries that the bus won't show up, that she won't know the answer to the teacher's question, that she'll have no one to play with at recess. Everywhere she goes, her "what if" worries follow her, and it seems like she can't escape. A class trip to the aquarium generates even more worries for Camila... until she realizes that one of her classmates is anxious too. It turns out one way to overcome your worries is to open your heart to helping someone else! Social-emotional learning expert Trudy Ludwig and award-winning picture book illustrator Patrice Barton have created a sweet, empowering story about the everyday courage it takes to stand up for yourself and the people around you.
Wemberly is one of those kids who worries about everything from spilling her juice to whether a snake could sneak in through the radiator, and school brings its own host of worries — including whether she'll find a friend. Fortunately, a sympathetic teacher introduces Wemberly to another nervous new student; soon the pair are not only comforting one another, but discovering that there's too much fun to be had at school — and with new friends — to spend all your time worrying. Kids will empathize with Wemberly, and watching her overcome her fears will encourage them to see how they could do the same.
When a huge black dog appears outside the Hope family’s house, they’re all terrified... except for Small, the youngest, who chases the rapidly shrinking dog throughout the whole neighborhood. By the time they get back to the house, Small’s courage has shrunk the dog enough that it fits through the cat door, and the Hopes agree that he doesn’t seem so scary after all — and invite him into the family. This charming metaphorical story uses the story of a family taking in a dog who's not "as huge nor as scary as they feared" to teach kids the power of facing their fears.
Little T is reluctant to go to the zoo with her family: something scared her there — but she can’t remember what! With some crafty silliness, her family takes a tour through the alphabet trying to think of what scared T... and while she still doesn’t remember, the laughter makes her realize the zoo might be fun after all. In a twist that younger siblings will appreciate, when they get to the zoo, it’s T’s big sister who ends up spooked; fortunately, this time, the family will know just how to solve that problem. A touch of humor can be a great way to help kids overcome fears, and young readers will delight in T's family and their creative ways of helping her.
This little girl has a puppy inside her head! And like all puppies, Ollie can get overexcited or panicky... but when that happens inside her brain, the narrator gets stressed out too. Fortunately, she knows a few tricks that can help: her breath can be a "magical leash," exercise can help her work out Ollie's excess energy, and when she needs to, she can talk to an adult. With simple language and her trademark bold and colorful illustrations, Elise Gravel teaches kids that everyone gets carried away sometimes, but that with a few calming and mindfulness techniques, you can stay in control.
When Worry sneaks into Maya's mind, it seems like nothing can stop it from growing bigger and bigger, until it shadows everything that Maya does and leaves her alone in the dark with her fear. In this metaphorical story about dealing with worry, kids will see how Maya's Worry (represented in the illustrations as a tangled scribble) keeps her from enjoying even the simplest things in life. Then, when Maya learns belly breathing, she discovers she can summon her Courage, represented by sparkles, which helps her overcome her worries — even if it doesn't completely dismiss Worry for good. This encouraging and empowering read will help worriers and non-worriers alike.
The little girl in this story has always had a tiny friend called Fear: a small, white creature with an uncertain smile. But when her family immigrates to a new country, Fear gets bigger and bigger, growing with every uncertainty and every moment of confusion. Fear also tries to change the way she sees the world, telling the girl that she'll always be lonely and afraid... but this little girl is stronger than even her biggest Fear, and when she sees past Fear to discover a willing friend, she discovers that everyone has a Fear — and that talking about your fears can help overcome them. This empowering story encourages kids to recognize that fear is natural and understandable, while also realizing that fear doesn't have to control their lives.
For kids who find their fears and anxieties become an obstacle to day-to-day life, the story of Wilma Jean will offer reassurance that they're not alone! Wilma Jean worries so much that she wakes up feeling sick; all her brain seems to do is spit out more scenarios to worry about. Fortunately, when Wilma lets the adults in her life in on her fears, they're able to help her find solutions, including dividing her worries into things she can control and things she can't, and picking a "worry hat" she can put on when she needs a minute to think about her worries — and take off as a reminder that she can leave her worries behind. By the end, Wilma Jean discovers that her worries are manageable and adults learn ways to help kids with anxiety.
Even adults can feel anxious when they watch the news — but for kids, the bombardment of information about everything from violence to diseases to threats like climate change can feel completely overwhelming... and downright scary. Without perspective, kids don't know how to interpret and process all those messages. This book from the bestselling What-To-Do Guides series helps kids understand how the news works — including how efforts to add excitement to the story can make a threat sound more extreme and imminent than it actually is — and find ways to calm down when they're feeling worried. The news may not be less scary, but with the guidance in this book, kids and their caregivers will know how to make the world feel more manageable.
If worry is overtaking your child's life, this empowering workbook from the Instant Help for Parents and Kids series can help you work together to manage it — so kids can get back to their day-to-day adventures! In this workbook, two psychologists provide a selection of activities grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that help kids embrace uncertainly and actively adjust their thoughts and behaviors. Kids will learn why (some) worry is a good thing, how their bodies respond to worry, and what they can do to break out of destructive thought cycles through a variety of techniques. Most importantly, this book emphasizes the power of practice, showing kids how, as they climb the "practice ladder," using their techniques will get easier all the time.
All children worry, but some kids begin to feel like captives of their fears, seeking reassurance over and over again or avoiding situations that cause anxiety at all costs. This interactive self-help book uses age-appropriate language to introduce cognitive-behavioral techniques that provide anxious kids with tools and techniques to identify and manage their own anxiety, so they can feel ready to take on the world! Encouraging and positive, this book helps kids identify the line between regular worries and anxiety that has begun to affect their life in a negative way. Parents of younger children can read it aloud and discuss the concepts with their little worrier, while older kids can use it independently to better understand and manage their fears.
A worried child's imagination can conjure up all sorts of terrifying scenarios — but that same imagination can help them overcome their anxieties! This workbook from the Instant Help for Parents and Kids series takes proven cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques and shows kids how they can give them an imaginative spin, teaching skills like assertiveness, positive thinking, body awareness, and more along the way. As kids learn to turn their creativity to respond to their anxieties, they'll gain the confidence that comes from knowing that their strong imaginations can help them stay in control.
CBT Exercises and Coping Strategies to Help Children Handle Anxiety, Stress, and Other Strong Emotions
CBT Exercises and Coping Strategies to Help Children Handle Anxiety, Stress, and Other Strong Emotions
We all have big feelings sometimes, but when kids struggle with self-regulation, they may feel like those feelings are in control not them! Regulation challenges can affect personal relationships, academics, and even activities of daily living, and they can make kids struggle with self-confidence. This evidence-based workbook introduces kids to Alex, a kid just like them, who helps them identify what they're feeling and guides them through CBT-based activities and other techniques that will help them when they feel frustrated, anxious, or stressed. Encouraging and empowering, this book will remind kids that they can handle the tough moments and be ready to take on any challenge!
Children respond to their parents' moods — so it's good for the whole family to learn how to slow down and relax! In this book, kids (and parents) will find fifty activities to do together that help replace feelings of worry and stress with hope, peace, and joy. Proven relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and mindfulness walk hand in hand with suggestions about creating technology-free spaces for the family, relaxing through art and creativity, and finding the funny side of life! Ten minutes a day are all you need to use this workbook from the the Instant Help for Parents and Kids series and make stress reduction a habit you can enjoy together.
It's normal to worry about everything, from the little stuff ("Does my hair look silly this morning?") to the big stuff ("Mom and Dad are arguing again.") Sometimes, girls even worry about the fun stuff, like going to a slumber party or trying an exciting (but tough) new activity. Fortunately, there are ways that you can learn to take charge of your worries so that you can overcome fears, stay calm, and feel confident. With quizzes, proven techniques, and advice from real girls, this book will help you take on your worries so you feel in control.
Katie knows there are lots of things that make her different from her peers, from her family's homeschooling to her crooked teeth — but she's sure that she'll have Kacey, her best friend forever. But at their first sleep-away camp the summer before sixth grade, Kacey makes a new, cool friend... and starts seeming more and more distant. Their drifting friendship seems to set off something in Katie's brain, and suddenly she's worried about EVERYTHING. The only things that stop the worries are rituals like tapping three times, but maybe that's just a sign there really is something wrong with her. Told over the course of a year, this relatable graphic novel, inspired by the author's childhood struggles with OCD, is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier's Guts and Shannon Hale's Friends Series.
12-year-old Marvel's generalized anxiety disorder keeps her worrying over everything from earthquakes and food poisoning to being called on by the teacher and walking home alone. To her, these worries are armor: better to be prepared for anything. But she surprises herself when she rescues a baby goat being teased by a group of kids on the soccer field. Butter, it turns out, is a fainting goat, who freezes up and falls over when she's scared; Marvel knows just how that feels. In fact, while it started out with Marvel helping Butter, Butter also helps Marvel, and she considers getting Butter to serve as an emotional support animal. That won't be easy, though, so Marvel will have to muster her courage to fight for her new friend... and herself. This heartwarming novel captures both the struggles of life with anxiety and the power of connecting with an animal.
After a bad bout with stomach flu, Raina finds herself worrying that she'll throw up — and soon the worry extends to other things, including challenges at school and struggles with friends. As her stomach troubles get worse, she wonders whether there's something really wrong with her. Fortunately, her parents connect her with Lauren, a therapist who helps her figure out how to confront her fears and shows her how her mental health intertwines with her new diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This funny but deeply compassionate graphic memoir is a reminder to kids that counseling and therapy are a valuable tool when you need help — and that you can overcome your anxieties and fears.
For older kids, it can feel like Worry is smarter than they are, always shifting places and somehow coaxing them into doing things that make things, not better! Fortunately, there are ways that kids can outsmart worry, even big-deal Worry that seems to pop up no matter what they do. Dawn Huebner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxious kids, crafted this guide for kids aged 9 to 13: those in-the-middle kids who are too old for simple strategies but not quite ready for guides for teens. Accessible, matter-of-fact language helps kids shift from logically understanding their worries to taking the steps they need to overcome them, once and for all.
11-year-old Stevie struggles with anxiety — especially since she's been estranged from her father — and she compensates by reading everything she can: knowing things helps her feel safe. When she can't find the answers in books, she looks to her mom, who's been helping her with her worries. But when she starts having a funny, fizzy feeling in her chest when she looks at her friend, Chloe, Stevie doesn't feel like she can talk about it. That means her mother's reassurances sometimes miss the mark — especially when she doesn't seem to recognize Stevie's emerging sexuality. This novel in verse, which explores the inner life of a girl struggling with both anxiety and her own identity, celebrates the power of connecting with others and how it can help you overcome your fears.
12-year-old June feels like her anxiety makes her "broken," so this summer she's determined to conquer it and become the lion she dreams of being. She begins by shaving her head and creating a secret library garden at the public library where her mother works; it's all a great start. But for every step she takes forward, it feels like she takes some back, and when her worries rise out of control again, everything feels like it's falling apart. It will take the help of old friends — and an unexpected new one — and a good therapist for June to find a way to turn this summer into the time of new beginnings, just like she planned. The acclaimed author of Tune It Out and Roll with It has created a relatable and real story about one girl's struggle with her anxiety.
Teen girls often feel stress and expectation from every direction, so it's no surprise that anxiety among teen girls is high — and rising! But there are ways that girls can manage their anxiety so they can feel more confident and cope better with the tough times. In this book from the Instant Help Solutions series, teens will find 10 strategies that help you understand their anxiety, including how they express it, and develop mindfulness and self-compassion skills that can calm mind and body and foster a positive outlook. Encouraging and empowering, this guide will help girls deal with their thoughts and feelings so they can go back to living the life they want!
For some teens, worries and nerves become a more significant problem, affecting every aspect of their lives. However, learning strategies to manage anxiety early will allow teens to build a toolbox to help them throughout their lives. This updated guide addresses teens dealing with mild to severe anxiety in day-to-day situations, teaching them how to control their anxieties, develop a positive self-image, and most importantly, how to know when they need to seek help. By following this step-by-step workbook, teens will learn to turn these techniques to their advantage so that they feel ready for whatever life has to throw at them.
When you're feeling anxious, it can seem like you can't think about anything else — but there are ways that you can "rewire" your brain and learn healthier thought patterns! In this book from the Instant Help Solutions series, you'll learn a variety of strategies — drawing from cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance commitment therapy, mindfulness, and up-to-date neuroscience — that help you identify what feeds your anxiety (and how to "starve" it instead), as well as strategies to feel more in control when worries crop up and how to handle uncertainty and self-doubt. You have the power to take control of your anxiety — this book can get you started on the path.
The desire to be perfect can go awry, and when it does, teens can stress themselves out — or delay doing anything at all for fear of a mistake. The truth is that no one is perfect, so learning to be good enough and battle perfectionist thoughts is a key skill for teens to master. In this workbook, you'll learn to identify perfectionism, spot the positive and negative aspects of it, and manage expectations — both others' and your own — so that you can perform at your best while still accepting who you are. With accessible tricks and techniques, this book will boost self-confidence and help teens achieve their goals.
Every teen worries — they've got a lot on the go! But when chronic worrying disrupts a teen's life, it can get in the way of achieving their goals. In this guide from the Instant Help Solutions series, teens will learn how to use mindfulness skills to live in the moment, particularly when facing the four most common worry struggles of the teenage years: school pressure, friendship and relationship problems, body image, and family conflicts. This accessible and positive guide will help her feel calm, cool, and in control.
Panic disorders are related to anxiety, but there are specific strategies that teens with panic disorders will want to put into play so that they can break the cycle of fear and worry that leads to panic attacks. In this workbook, three anxiety specialists help teens identify the thoughts and behaviors that can prompt their attacks, and encourage them to mindfully observe their attacks so that they realize the sensations associate with them are uncomfortable, but not dangerous. That foundation will help as teens then track their attacks, assess their strategies, and reward themselves as their hard work pays off. This guide will help teens with panic disorder feel ready to work through their toughest moments.
Teens are facing more stresses than ever, from academic pressure to high social expectations to worries about the future at a time when things seem more uncertain than ever. Fortunately, the tools you need to help manage your stress are closer than you think — even your own breathing can help! In this book from the Instant Help Solutions series, teens learn skills drawn from mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which can help you find peace within yourself, even when there's turmoil around you. And as you develop these internal strategies, you'll feel more in control — no matter what happens! This evidence-based workbook will empower teens with the knowledge that they can handle whatever life throws at them.
Plenty of teens are shy — but for some teens, they feel like their anxiety around social situations leaves them missing out on friendships, potential relationships, and good times they wish they could have. If you know a teen who feels this way, this book will help them learn to handle social situations with confidence, build connections with long-time friends and new acquaintances, and even speak up for yourself when you need to. With techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to bring into play when they start getting anxious, they'll feel ready to leap into the social world and enjoy all that it has to offer. This second edition is fully revised and updated with skills for dealing with social media anxiety and “social perfectionism.”
We all have an anxious thought now and then, but for some teens, those anxious thoughts become intrusive and upsetting, distracting them from what matters most and preventing them from living their lives to the fullest. Fortunately, there are skills you can learn to help combat these unwanted thoughts and build confidence! This workbook from the Instant Help Solutions series introduces techniques based on evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which will help you derail destructive thought patterns; recognize your worries as thoughts, not facts; and find strength in positive thoughts instead. Practical, simple, and encouraging, this workbook will help you feel ready to take on the world.
Stress is a major mental health issue for today's teens — and it's no wonder, with so many things on their plates. Fortunately, there are also techniques that teens can learn to apply to calm their bodies, quiet their minds, and manage their stress. In this book from the Instant Help Solutions series, teens will figure out the strategies that best help them manage negative thoughts and feelings, so they can create a stress-management plan that works. With its accessible advice and techniques drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy, this book provides relief and relaxation for stress-out teens.
One of the nearly universal unpleasant emotions that children experience is fear and worry; from the monster in the closet to speaking in front of the class, it’s a rare kid who's anxiety-free! And as many parents discover, logic and reassurance often don't work, leaving them at a loss for how to help their kids. Lawrence J. Cohen, the author of Playful Parenting, shows parents how lighthearted parenting techniques — including lots of emphasis on physical play — can help kids and their parents overcome everything from temporary nerves to ongoing fears.
If you have a child with anxiety, you're no doubt working on long-term strategies — but you also need quick, on-the-spot solutions when problems crop up. In this book, an expert is childhood anxiety provides simple techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure — two of the most effective treatments for anxiety — that you can apply at a moment's notice. You'll also learn how to identify your child's avoidant and safety behaviors, unhealthy strategies for coping with anxiety, and figure out their anxiety triggers. Practical and accessible, this book will help both parent and child feel more in balance and in control, even when anxiety strikes.
Many children have temporary worries, but at least 10% of children face specific anxiety-related disorders like phobias, separation anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and these kids need additional support and robust strategies to help them overcome their fears so they can enjoy childhood — and become independent adults. In this expanded edition, parents will learn how anxiety works and how to develop effective cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills to practice with their child. A final chapter also discusses planning for the future, including what to do if your child's worries relapse and how to prepare for future challenges. With this information in hand, parents will have the confidence that they can help their anxious child thrive.
Anxiety is on the rise, but for girls, it's an epidemic: the number of girls who said that they often felt nervous, worried, or fearful jumped 55 percent from 2009 to 2014. So what can parents do to help girls growing up in this stressful time? Psychologist Lisa Damour starts her new book explaining how to change the conversation about stress and anxiety, so girls understand when these feelings can benefit her — and when they need to be addressed. Then, she talks about the steps adults can take to help shield girls from the pressure our culture puts on them in many areas of their lives. Fans of Damour's best-selling book Untangled will be delighted to get more of her helpful, reassuring advice in this excellent guide to supporting girls through today's challenges.
Helping kids overcome anxiety is harder if you’re an anxious parent — or if you’re getting worried that your child worries so much! Reid Wilson and Lynn Lyons show parents that they can break the cycle of anxiety in this book, which identifies some common anxiety-enhancing patterns and provides advice on how to change your responses in ways that foster courage and confidence. By following their advice, parents will not only model confidence for their kids; they'll also learn to become more confident themselves.
With the news full of stories about violence, disasters, divided societies, and even COVID-19, the world has never felt more frightening — for kids as well as adults. But conversation can be one of the best tools for handling the anxiety that comes with these difficult issues. In this excellent guide, child psychologist Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, a leading expert in families under stress, provides a road map for building emotional literacy and anxiety-reduction skills in both kids and parents. Then, she provides actual scripts, talking points, and prompts for tough issues, from natural disasters to the pandemic and its associated stresses. By having these conversations, you'll not only help your child feel less worried; you'll also build your family's confidence that, whatever comes, you can handle it together.
Practical Strategies to Overcome Fears, Worries, and Phobias and Be Prepared for Life - from Toddlers to Teens
Practical Strategies to Overcome Fears, Worries, and Phobias and Be Prepared for Life - from Toddlers to Teens
Emotional resilience means a happier, healthier life — so whether your child expresses a typical degree of worry, or shows signs of higher stress or an anxiety disorder, how parents respond can make a difference! Childhood anxiety expert Dr. Tamar Chansky lays out a proven approach that allows parents and kids to work together as they learn to outsmart fears, manage worries, and handle the pressure they face in our competitive culture. Each chapter includes "How to Talk to Your Child" scripts that can help kids and teens understand how their brains work, and "Do It Today" activities so you can jump right in!
As kids develop emotional maturity, they integrate the two aspects of the brain: the logical mind, which is capable of advance planning and thoughtful decision-making, and the emotional mind. In younger kids, the emotional mind holds sway, which is why frustrations, fears, and disappointment can lead to tears and tantrums. With the twelve strategies in this book, parents can help kids take the emotionally overwhelming moments of their lives and use them as an opportunity to foster emotional understanding and integration, helping to reach a happy and mentally healthy future.