Anxiety: self-help books, for Children

What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide To Anxiety (6+)
Author Dawn Huebner, 2012

'Effective anxiety management strategies are presented in a format easily accessible to children and parents'.

Review: This book is aimed at children aged 6-12. The strategies in the book are derived from models of psychotherapy that have been found to be effective for the treatment of anxiety. These models include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Narrative Therapy. There is a nice introduction for parents and caregivers; it provides a clear rationale for the strategies contained within. This book is well organised, beginning with psycho-education regarding how worries start, how they grow and importantly explaining what worry is. This is followed by a number of individual chapters dedicated to describing a range of anxiety management strategies including but not limited to problem solving, relaxation exercises, and worry time. This is a book that I have found very useful both when used by parents and children working through the content on their own and also as an adjunct to therapy. This book is highly recommend, although it may be less appealing to children over the age of 10.

A Huge Bag of Worries (3+)
Author Virginia Ironside 2004

'A gentle, child-friendly book useful for beginning a conversation with a child about anxiety'. 

Review: This is a book with nice child-friendly illustrations. It clearly delivers the message that ignoring worries is not a useful strategy. It also nicely describes how exhausting it can be to live with anxiety. We see the little girl, Jenny, who is the main actor in the story, becoming increasingly tired and upset because of her increasing worries. The idea of using a trusted adult to help figure the worries out is introduced by the little old lady who helps Jenny to sort out which worries belong to Jenny and which more appropriately belong to other people. Worry is normalised by the little old lady who tells Jenny that lots of other people have worries, including her family, her friends and her teacher. This is a nice gentle book which would be helpful to use as a way of beginning a conversation with a child about their experience of anxiety and in order to prepare a child for progressing to other more focused work on anxiety-management strategies.

Autism & Anxiety
When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety (age 5-9)
Author Kari Dunn Buron 2004.

'Child friendly format. Suitable for young primary school children with a diagnosis of an autistic spectrum disorder who experience anxiety when faced with transitions'.

Review: This is a book which will be of particular interest to parents of primary school children under the age of 8 or 9 who have a diagnosis of an autistic spectrum disorder. It would be of particular relevance to children who experience anxiety when facing unanticipated changes or transitions and who are likely to react to such changes with negative behaviours. A central idea in the book is the concept of a stress scale on which children are asked to rate the intensity of their feelings from 1-5. In addition to developing children's ability to identify the intensity of their feelings, the book aims to help children make a connection between the triggers for their uncomfortable feelings and their likely behaviour response. Anxiety-management strategies include the use of distraction and a relaxation sequence. It is a book which children would find very accessible.