Inside: A Child Therapist’s favorite books for kids and teens to help them deal with stress and anxiety. Use books to start talking about healthy ways to cope.
Your daughter slumps in her chair at breakfast. Recently, it’s been like pulling teeth to get her ready for school in the morning. She hasn’t touched her toast, which is really unusual - she typically has a healthy appetite. She keeps biting her nails, and hasn’t asked for a playdate in weeks! You keep thinking to yourself - what happened to my happy go lucky little girl?
Your daughter may be stressed out.
Kids can get stressed by all sorts of things - moving, changes in school, problems in friendships, a death in the family, or things happening in the world. Even our own parental stress can impact our kids.
If you have concerns, it’s time to start a dialogue about stress and anxiety. A great way to open that conversation is to read a book. Here are some of my favorite books about stress and anxiety for kids and teens.
Wemberley Worried by Kevin Henkes Poor Wemberley worries about everything, and then she gets really worried when she is about to start school.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook When is says she has knots in her stomach and her knees lock, her stomach really looks like it’s tied in a knot and there’s a real lock around her knees. Wilma and her teacher work on conquering her worries together.
David and the Worry Beast by Anne Marie Guanci David’s anxiety is a beast, and the more anxious he gets, the bigger it grows. David learns to control his thoughts, and his beast shrinks. There’s also a couple of helpful resource pages for parents and kids in the back.
When My Worries Get Too Big by Kari Dunn Buron This book uses the 5 point scale to talk about stress and different ways to manage it. There are several pages where kids can add in their own thoughts, worries and what helps them relax.
What To Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner, PhD This book goes through several ways that can help kids manage worries, including setting a time to worry, resetting your body with activity or relaxation. There are some interactive places in this book, where a child can draw some images of things that might help, etc.
What To Do When You’re Scared and Worried by James J. Crist - Near the beginning of the book is a checklist that helps kids narrow down what they are anxious about. The beginning of the book covers the basics of what anxiety is and how to help manage with coping skills. The next section of the book goes into detail about different types of anxiety kids might experience, including Separation Anxiety, Phobias and Panic Attacks.
Stress can really get on your nerves - Trevor Romain has such a great knack for writing to kids in a funny and relatable way about big issues.
I Feel Worried! By Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea - One of the new workbooks from the authors of How to Make and Keep Friends.
Coping Skills for Kids Workbook by Janine Halloran (that’s me!) - This workbook is designed for older elementary school aged kids to read to themselves, or for kids and parents to read together. There are over 75 ways to help kids learn to manage stress, anxiety and anger, with more than 20 kid friendly worksheets.
Stress 101 - A great book for explaining what stress is, the difference between good stress and bad stress, and symptoms you may get when you are stressed, plus ideas for what to do.
The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens - Another great book based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help teens learn to manage their anger.
A Still Quiet Place for Teens - A great introduction into mindfulness for teens.