Lockdown and the post-lockdown period can be a source of anxious feelings for families. As we return to school it is natural for everyone to have mixed feelings, and anxiety can manifest in a number of ways affecting mood, sleep and sometimes physical well-being.
Most children’s anxieties are manageable with a positive approach and reassurance. Children pick up very quickly on the emotions and fears of the adults around them, so it is important for the parent/carer to been seen as confident themselves, in the systems and procedures in place.
However, if you feel that you would like to put more in place, or if you feel that you would like more direction as to how to do this there are plenty of resources and advice available.
Websites, Apps and Ted Talks
Reputable and well-established websites offer a wealth of information and describe the more complex aspects of anxiety, including the different anxiety disorders.
This excellent website offers practical advice to parents/carers regarding managing anxiety, and also on identifying whether your child’s anxiety requires more professional help. It has links to the website named below (yourminds.org.uk) which has a parent advice helpline.
This is an outstanding UK adolescent-friendly website which offers a wealth of advice, tips and information on a range of mental health disorders including anxiety. It offers a free Parent helpline, via phone, webchat or email.
Another outstanding website that offers pointers, practical tips, information activities and a free call-in service for children. The website asks “How are you feeling?” and offers a mood tracker, thought sharing board and lots of helpful information for children and adolescents on “How are you feeling?”.
Anxietyuk offers free fact sheets, and links to many other organisations. Membership, which is very reasonable, offers a range of benefits including access to blogs, free online resources, and reduced rates for therapies including –
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Counselling, Acupuncture, Clinical Hypnotherapy.
This professional UK-based charity aims at supporting children families and professionals. Their website has a link to “Parents and Carers”, this leads to “Child in Mind” which takes you to “Podcasts”, including a 22-minute podcast on “What do we know about childhood anxiety and what can parents do about it?”.
Also UK-based – it offers free downloadable information on a range of mental health conditions as well as having an online shop with a range of resources. Its “Youth Hub” offers a free Youth Helpline telephone service, as well as offering paid-for telephone therapy at reasonable rates, accessible to members. Membership fees are low.
The Child Anxiety website, written by Dr Donna Pincus, is USA-based. However, for UK-based families there is a lot of helpful information on the site regarding different anxiety disorders, as well as resources – books for parents, children and professionals. A suitable CD for Primary-age children is “I can relax!” downloadable – details on the website.
This prolific USA-based website has a particularly useful and practical article “Back-to-School Anxiety During COVID” – use the search button.
App: Chill Panda – available on Playstore and App store.
Calming guided breathing app for young children, as well as a game where children can explore Chill Panda’s world and learn strategies to help them cope with stress and worry.
App: Calm app – available on Playstore and App store.
A vast app of guided relaxation, positive thinking stories, sleep stories, and breathing exercises with a separate children’s section. There is a cost, but you can sign up for a one- month trial for free.
App: Worry Tree – available on Playstore and App store.
Not specifically aimed at primary children but can be used with a parent to record and problem solve worries.
Ted Talk: “Rethinking Anxiety – Learning to face fear” by Dawn Huebner
A very helpful book for Primary age children giving lots of fun activities is: Starving The Anxiety Gremlin, A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on anxiety management for children aged 5-9, by Kate Collins-Donnelly. Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
A similar book, by the same author, aged at older children and adolescents is: Starving The Anxiety Gremlin, A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on anxiety management for young people.
Both give practical advice in managing anxiety and building resilience.
A helpful book for parents is: Helping Your child with Fear and Worries, by Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts.
What to do when you worry too much by Dawn Huebner – a book for children giving them practical ways to help them to work through their worries. (aged 6 – 12).
Leaflet to support your child with worries and anxiety https://charliewaller.org/resources/supporting-a-child-with-anxiety