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Helping Children Cope With Anxiety

A child worrying and suffering with anxiety clutches her teddy

Does your Child Suffer from Anxiety?

Many children experience anxiety.  It may be in relation to a particular area of their lives such as school work or friendships, or it may be a generalised feeling of unease or worry that surfaces regularly. Some anxiety is normal and can be the mind’s way of keeping us safe or preparing us for difficult things. Anxiety may be seen as a disorder if it becomes overwhelming and prevents a child from participating in important areas of life. 

Tips for Supporting Children with Anxiety 

Strategies to Help a Child Manage Anxiety:

  • Support them to face their fears in manageable, small steps.  Think of a step-ladder, increasing their tolerance in small steps that get higher and higher (incrementally harder).  Don’t push them too far each time.
  • Externalise their fears so that they understand that they are made up of thoughts and feelings and can be controlled as they are not intrinsic to them. This can be done through giving them a name eg. ‘Mr shy’ and role playing about them with puppets or making illustrated stories about them. They learn to be sympathetic to ‘Mr Shy’ but in control of him rather than controlled by him.
  • Discuss where in the body the anxiety is felt, draw around their bodies on the ground in chalk and colour affected areas to help children become in touch with their bodies and therefore more able to recognise their own physical signs of anxiety.   
  • Practice controlled breathing (e.g. breath in for 2 slow counts, hold for 2 and exhale for 4) or put a teddy on their tummy and watch it go up and down as they breath in and out for younger children.

Recommended Books for Children:

The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside.

An excellent picture book we often recommend to help children deal with worries and anxiety. The illustrations are brilliant and the message powerful.

Silly Billy by Anthony Browne

A lovely book for children struggling with anxiety. An opportunity to open up conversation around feelings and worries.

Visit our full list of book recommendations…

If you are a parent or carer in need of advice on helping your child(ren) with anxiety, our online therapists are here to help with the advice and tools you need. Book an Online Parent Consultation or get in touch with Chloe for more information.


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Head-teacher of Woolmore School, Tower Hamlets

Parent Consultation: They have become much better at expressing their feelings and opening up to me and their siblings.

Parent, 2023

School Counselling: My son has completely turned around and is simply wonderful at the moment. He is back to his normal self at home, being very happy, caring and kind. He is especial kind and caring with his sister and just the best brother ever now. As a family, we are happy and content.

Parent, 2023

It is quality time well spent not letting pupils leave with negative patterns that make them vulnerable beyond school. One of the best decisions I have made.

Head-teacher of St Saviour’s School, Tower Hamlets

You have helped me build a barrier of protection against pain and I can’t thank you enough for that…I have never felt so emotionally strong.

Student, aged 15

Child in Time is a tremendous resource for head-teachers. It’s a consultancy that offers a short-cut to setting up a counselling service in your school with highly trained, qualified practitioners. Child in Time brings peace of mind to staff, knowing that the most vulnerable students are in safe hands.

Tereza Nogueira, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Senior supervisor UKCP

This intervention has had an enormous, positive impact for us all and we sincerely hope that other families benefit from the same programme…his positive behaviour is having a really good impact on all elements of his school life.

Parent of child, age 8

I am glad I am coming to see you every Thursday because I used to hold all these things in my head and that was hard.

Girl, age 10

We are very happy with the counselling service we are receiving and in particular ‘our therapist’s’ flexible and accommodating nature. Parents are very pleased, both the target children’s parents and the consultation one’s too.

SENCO, Rhodes Avenue School, Haringey

She is an outstanding therapist who has made a real difference to the lives of pupils in our school. ‘Our therapist’ possesses excellent skills in connecting with others, creating a safe space for staff, parents and pupils to discuss a range of issues. Her expertise, compassion, and dedication are truly commendable and we have really benefited from her thorough understanding of child development and psychology.

Deputy Head, Highgate Pre-Prep

I want to say thank you. I found these sessions very very helpful. I could talk about anything with you. I remember our first one, when I was so worried that everything was my fault. I can now see things more clearly.

student, age 11