- 3 mins
Kids’ Books That Address Anxiety
The world is a confusing place even for adults, with complex problems and situations. Our children are listening and watching and have so many questions, but often lack the words to express their feelings and their anxieties. The current event of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine are obvious sources of difficult conversations, but our children are also facing other challenges such as divorce, the death of a loved one, a move, school worries, the loss of a friendship, or a host of other difficult life circumstances.
Kids need an opportunity to talk about their confused and anxious feelings, but adults are often unsure where to begin, afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. Books are a wonderful way to initiate deeper conversations and help kids feel safe about sharing their anxiety. Children relate well to story characters because they are non-threatening and approachable.
Here are a few suggestions for stories that might spark some of those deeper conversations:
The Rabbit Listened
Too many times we adults jump in to solve children’s problems when what is really needed is simply to listen. This story reinforces how we can love and comfort those in our lives by listening.
Big Bright Feelings
This picture book series has several titles that may be helpful as conversation starters for talking about worries, making and keeping friends, positive self-image, and managing emotions.
- Ruby Finds a Worry features a typical young girl who allows a small worry to grow and grow. This is a great book to help start conversations about emotions and anxiety.
- Perfectly Norman shares ways to accept and celebrate what makes us unique.
- Ravi’s Roar shares ways to control angry feelings so as not to hurt our friends or our family.
- Meesha Makes Friends shares how to make friends and connect with peers.
- Tilda Tries Again deals with handling unexpected and difficult changes.
Ten Beautiful Things
This one is about finding beauty and joy in the everyday. Lily and her grandmother search for ten beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Lily’s new home. This book can be used to help children who are navigating any kind of big change in their lives.
The Boy with Big Big Feelings
Children often have big reactions that occur alongside their feelings. This book introduces these feelings and art as a way to express and accept those feelings as powerful.
The Invisible String
This book offers a simple approach to coping with loneliness, separation, loss, and grief with an imaginative twist that children easily understand and embrace, and delivers a particularly compelling message in today’s uncertain times.
Wemberly is the world’s biggest worrywart, and she is worrying most about her first day of school. This is a great title to help children relate to and talk about their own worries.
Pairing these stories with Moshi tracks is an excellent way to ease your child into a calm bedtime routine and a good night’s rest. Try Anxiety Shrinking Ambience music with your kids as a soothing background for any of the books mentioned above.
We can’t shut out the world, but we can be there for our children to help them process complex ideas and challenging circumstances, giving them the tools to handle future stressful events and grow in their social and emotional learning.