3 Books About Anxiety to Help Kids Cope With Stress
Even typically carefree children may be feeling stressed these days. Not only have their routines changed due to social distancing rules, but they’ve been separated from friends and extended family, says Parents advisor Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., a child psychologist. Kids and parents alike are also coping with unprecedented fear and sadness witnessing acts of violence and racism around the United States. But you're not alone, and the right book may help.
If you're having trouble finding the words to talk about the stress your family is feeling, consider one of these stories. Whether your child is anxious about germs at the park or uncomfortable talking about big feelings they may be having, reading one of these children's books about anxiety may help them process their emotions.
Ruby Finds a Worry written and illustrated by Tom Percival
Best for: Kids who are reluctant to talk
Ruby’s worry, drawn as a sad yellow blob, prevents her from doing the things she used to love. Then she meets someone who also has a worry (his is blue) and sees her worry shrink as—moral of the story—they open up to each other.
The Huge Bag of Worries written by Virginia Ironside, illustrated by Frank Rodgers
Best for: Kids who seem overwhelmed
In this book that helps explain what it feels like to carry around a lot of worries, the main character, Jenny, realizes that there are different ways of dealing with what’s bothering her. A neighbor helps Jenny see that some of her worries don’t even “belong” to her.
Scaredy Squirrel written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt
Best for: Kids who are nervous about leaving the house
A squirrel fears leaving his tree because of germs, killer bees, and green Martians—and the sight of just a single bee causes him to get out a giant emergency kit. “This book is a humorous but wise exploration of the fundamental truth that facing our fears is how we overcome them,” says Dr. Kennedy-Moore.
This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's July 2020 issue as “Kids and Anxiety.” Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here