Welcome to a resource for parents and carers who want to help an anxious child


Anxiety is a feeling of not being OK for some undefined reason, unease, worry or fear. It can range from mild to severe.

What's your main concern at the moment?

If you're not sure which way to jump, read on for more information about these options

You can help a child with anxiety now and avoid future problems

If you want to help an anxious child, one who’s not very happy and not behaving like they usually do, here’s where you can find information, examples and practical ways to help your child.

Anxiety stems from many things, and if your child's anxious, they often get stressed out, too, because worries mount up. Just like with adults.

So it’s good to nip this in the bud. You'll be able to stop anxiety and stress spoiling their daily life and prevent longer-term damage. 

And the good news is that parents can help their child in a major way because they're with them every day and can use effective tactics at exactly the right moment they're needed.

It's different for children

If someone says to you, “I’m really anxious about X,” as adults, we wait to hear more from the other person. And then we understand better what they’re going through.

It’s different with children. They often don’t have the words or the understanding to tell you more.

There are many different types of anxiety, and many causes too, so your anxious child may not be able to tell you enough detail about it for you to understand how to help them. 

So here's a way of thinking about your anxious child

Have a look at the many anxiety types I’ve outlined and work out what the worry might be about: maybe separating from you (separation anxiety), or moving to a new house or school (transitional anxiety).

Perhaps your child is only anxious with lots of other people – social anxiety. Maybe only at bedtime or only with strangers. Have a search and see what resonates with you. Then jot it down

Then check out your child's symptoms that made you realise they’re anxious.

I’ve grouped them together a little bit on the relevant pages to make it easier for you to read and find help. But maybe your child only has a few of the symptoms and they’re only to do with changed mood or sleep time etc. Jot them down next to the most likely type of anxiety.

handwriting listing symptoms and type of anxiety your anxious child might have

If you act like a detective (most of us spend lots of time being detectives about our children!) and link the symptoms and the type of anxiety, you’ll have narrowed down what you can do to help your child.

That means you’ll be able to help your anxious child more quickly and in a more targeted way. 

Only after doing all that, should you move on to more detective work and start looking at causes of anxiety

I say this for a reason. If you look at causes too soon, it’s easy to start noticing every single thing you’ve ever done “not so well” as a parent, and the self-blame/guilt game springs to life. That’s never helpful. None of us does everything perfectly all the time – if ever!

So, once you have an idea of the main types of anxiety and the main symptoms, you can look at the possible causes more rationally

Some causes will be things that were unavoidable: maybe moving home, adopting a child with a poor life start, or having been in a road traffic accident. 

The thing is not to feel any sense of guilt or blame. In all my experience working with families and their unhappy children, the one thing that shone out was that it’s the good parents who ask for help. They’ve noticed. They care. They ask for help. 

Something to remember as well

It’s okay to have an anxious child – but I’m here to help you work out how to make them feel better. Together we can do it. 

This is like pre-therapy – taking action before you need a counsellor’s help (although I am a counsellor so I promise to offer you appropriate help here). 

But if and when you feel you have no alternative but to find a child therapist, I’m also offering lots of advice and help so you'll know how to go about that without making a costly error.

Other links – clicking on these links will take you to the main hub page for that set of topics:

  • Anxiety and trauma/stress/depression – there are many little-T and big-T traumas in a child’s life and they can lead to stress and possible depression. This is a group of pages to explore those ideas; it’s amazing what little things can be traumatic for a child to cope with that an adult might sail through.
  • Engaging with and reducing anxiety – although I give ideas, games and suggestions on most pages, this is a group of pages where you can find lots of ways to help your anxious child cope, once you know exactly what you’re looking for. And hopefully you'll find that little "something" that says to you “that’s what I can try” or “I think that will work for my child”.

Please note that although I'm a qualified counsellor experienced with children and young people, I'm not a doctor or a psychiatrist. If you feel you need any sort of medical help for your child, do please call them and discuss your child's needs.