10 Books to Read to Your Kids when They’re Afraid or Anxious
How do you address your child’s anxiety without adding to it?
Under normal circumstances, roughly 7.1% of children between the ages of three and 17 are diagnosed with anxiety. Right now, while children are home from school and uncertain about what is going on, many more of them are probably feeling stress and worry.
Studies have found that bibliotherapy can help children work through their anxiety. Bibliotherapy is the process of reading children’s books in order to externalize a fear or stressor. This is something you can practice right at home!
We’ve put together this list of children’s books that will open the door to talking about anxiety or provide comfort during these uncertain times.
Read on to find out about our favorite children’s books!
Children’s Books About Anxiety
If your children are expressing pressing feelings of anxiety, it might be a good idea to read them books that are about anxiety. Young kids may struggle to express these feelings which makes it hard to offer them the help and support they need. But by reading books that deal with anxiety directly, you can open the door to a discussion of their fears in order to provide them with coping mechanisms!
Ruby Finds a Worry
Written and illustrated by Tom Percival, this wonderful picture book is about a little girl named Ruby who meets the Worry. The Worry is a little yellow scribble and at first, the Worry is very small. However, over time the Worry gets bigger and bigger until it takes over the whole page and Ruby struggles to do the things she wants to do because of it!
One day, Ruby meets a boy who has his own Worry. While helping him process his Worry and figure out how to cope with it, she realizes that she can process and cope with her own Worry, too!
Written and illustrated by Thyra Heder, this picture book follows the story of Little T, a girl who is afraid to go to the zoo. The only problem? She can’t remember what happened that made her afraid!
Her family goes through a fun and silly list of zoo-related things, making their way through the entire alphabet in the process. Little T ends up remembering just how fun and silly the zoo actually is, and she’s excited to go. However, once they get there, her little sister ends up feeling scared, instead—only this time, the family knows exactly how to come together to help her get past her fears.
Children’s Books for a Good Laugh
Sometimes, it can feel better to leave the anxiety behind for a moment and share a good laugh. Lightening the mood in the house is a great way to remind your children that everything is going to be alright! It also creates a sense of normalcy that is crucial during a time that feels anything but normal.
President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, this book tells the story of the funniest urban legend in American history. What is the legend we’re talking about? That President Taft was such a big guy that he got stuck in the White House bathtub!
To make this legend even sillier, this picture book depicts all of the President’s staff and even prominent government officials doing everything they can to get the president unstuck!
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as they expect! You’ll have to read it to find out how President Taft finally gets out of that pesky bath.
Not only is this book great for belly laughs but it may just spark your children’s interest in other funny moments in history! Turn this into a fun activity and learning moment. Encourage them to go online with you to learn more fun facts about our nation’s presidents!
Written by renowned comedy writer Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, this sweet little book is the perfect antidote for all those kids who are getting bored with their long-lasting break from school. After declaring her own boredom, a little girl meets, of all things, a talking potato! In the silliest plot twist we’ve ever seen, the potato ends up declaring that it finds little kids to be the ones who are incredibly boring!
In the end, the little girl finds herself coming up with all sorts of reasons that little kids are not at all boring. What she doesn’t realize right away is that, in trying to prove to the potato that kids aren’t boring, she realizes just how exciting her life is! In a hilarious move of reverse psychology, she cures her own doldrums and learns to see life through a new lens.
Encourage Reading as an Act of Self-Care
Many children may be unfamiliar with the idea of self-care or with the notion that reading isn’t just something they have to do for school. This is a great opportunity to teach them to use children’s books as a way to better their mood! Plus, reading books about children with anxiety is a great way to teach your children how to cope with their own anxiety.
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