Each night as we tuck our littles into bed and allow them to choose a book, we are creating a bonding experience with our child. But taking time to carefully select a library of options for the anxious child can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.
First review your own library. If you find it full of books with monsters, bad guys and intense plot twists, it may be time to retire those books for a bit while you help your little one reduce their worry. This is no joke, my little anxious bug, loved Where the Wild Things Are, but couldn’t handle it. She would get wild herself, and got herself so worked up that she couldn’t sleep. The same is true with The B.F.G. and several other well written and classic children’s books. She is just very sensitive to the characters and has an imagination that often gets the best of her.
So, we removed those types of books, and replaced them with books such as; Wilma Jean the Worry Machine, Peaceful Piggy, Moddy Cow, the Zen Piggy collection, and other books that wouldn’t increase her worry, especially before bed (not all the books are about anxiety, or emotional regulation, we have more than our fair share of princess books, and books about cupcakes as well.)
Here is a short list of books I recommend for helping your child understand anxiety, normalize their feelings and help them to build some skills around managing their own worry machine. I have also included a few books for teens, and parents.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook (ISBN-10: 1937870014)
Peaceful Piggy by Kerry Lee Maclean (ISBN-10: 0807563811)
Zen Pig by Mark Brown (We love the entire series) (ISBN-10: 0692428488)
Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee Maclean (ISBN-10: 086171573X)
12 Annoying Monsters by Daw Meredith (not great for bedtime) (ISBN-10: 0992504686)
Indigo Ocean Dreams: 4 Children’s Stories Designed to Decrease Stress, Anger and Anxiety while Increasing Self-Esteem (CD) (ISBN-10: 0970863365)
Good Night Yoga: A Pose by Pose Bedtime Story bh Mariam Gates (ISBN-10: 162203466X)
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (Separation Anxiety) (ISBN-10: 1933718005)
Bubble Riding by Lori Lite (ISBN-10: 1937985032)
Freaking Out: Real-Life Stories About Anxiety by Polly Wells and Peter Mitchell (ISBN-10: 1554515440)
I Would but My Damn Mind Won’t Let Me by Jacqui Letran (ISBN-10: 099762440X)
Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens by Earl Hip
Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-By-Step Guide for Parents by Ronald Rapee PhD and Ann Wignall D PsyD (ISBN-10: 1572245751)
Bloom: 50 Things to Say, Think, and Do with Anxious, Angry, and Over-The-Top Kids by Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young (ISBN-10: 1936268825)
Growing Up Mindful: Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens, and Families Find Balance, Calm and Resilience by Christopher Willard PsyD