When your child is afraid, it’s hard not to feel powerless. Your instinct is to protect — and if you can’t help your child feel safe, you can feel lost yourself. There are some fantastic books for parents and kids to help children overcome their fears.
If your child has a specific fear — the dark, starting a new school, dogs or anything else — you can probably find a few books on the topic by visiting Google or Amazon. If you want general information and reassurance for a generally nervous and anxious kid, here are some suggestions.
For young kids
For older kids
What to Do When You’re Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids by James J. Crist. Just as the title suggests, this book is written expressly for kids and is designed to help older children work through their own feelings without belittling them. In the first section, kids work on developing 10 coping mechanisms for handling ordinary anxiety. The second part focuses on more serious issues such as OCD and phobias, in a way that empowers kids to involve trusted adults and get the help they need.
As parents, we need to find as many resources as possible to help our kids. Here are just a couple of books that may help you help your fearful, anxious child.
If you are living with an anxious child, you can also do some reading. Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-By-Step Guide for Parents by Ronald Rapee, Ph.D. is an excellent starting point for parents. It offers step-by-step instructions and detailed explanations. You’ll find the answers to many questions in this book, as well as practical information and tools you can put to immediate use.
Listening to Fear: Helping Kids Cope, from Nightmares to the Nightly News by Steven Marans is geared more toward parents of younger children who may not be able to express their fears in words. If your child’s behavior has suddenly regressed — bedwetting, separation anxiety, or similar changes — this book can offer insight and suggestions for helping your child regain his former confidence.
Your child’s fears are real, and so is your desire to help. These books are a great starting place, but be sure to discuss concerns with your pediatrician and other professionals.
More on how to help your child with fear
Helping your teen deal with life fears
What to do when your child’s fear becomes debilitating
When your child is scared of animals