Anxiety in primary school-age children is really common. It may show itself as behaviour problems, separation anxiety, anger, school refusal, sleep problems. or even tics and rituals. For many children, these are just normal phases to go through, but for some, it can get so bad, it affects what they can and cannot do, and may impact the whole family. We’ve selected some websites, books and videos below with some practical ideas on how you can help your child.

  • For School anxiety and school refusal see this page

Apps and Games

  • Childline has a fantastic section of fun games for relaxation and distraction for all ages including breathing exercises like box breathing. There is also a page for drawing and some ideas for managing anxiety.
  • Clearfear beautifully designed App for children and young people with ideas to help you react to worries better, manage your emotions, and manage physical responses to anxiety. Highly rated.
  • Smiling Mind Free Mindfulness App with specific sections for 7-9 years, 10-12 years and older. The App also includes Classroom sessions for teachers.
  • Headspace A hugely popular mindfulness and meditation App for adults, this also has a section for children. The adult section is free for ten sessions and is also suitable for older children. The children’s meditations are shorter but that section is not free although you can subscribe for a month at a time.
    “Good for relaxation and helping you sleep”   (Kenny, age 12y)
    “The animations are simple to understand which means it’s good for any age”  (Parent)
  • SAM Suitable for older children this has an anxiety tracker and several options to help if you’re feeling panicky including calm breathing and a nice distraction feature.
  • Relaxation CD Enchanted Meditations for Kids by Christiane Kerr (CD/audiobook) is one of a series of CDs recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatry.

Online advice and guidance


Books for Children

Books for Parents

  • Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-step Guide for Parents
    “A clearly written book for parents and their children. The authors are child psychologists. From the way it is written, it is obvious they have great practical knowledge of the common ways in which anxiety may present itself in children, and how to break problems down into bite-sized chunks so that they can be tackled without being too overwhelming. They illustrate various forms of anxiety problems using descriptions of hypothetical child characters, that children can identify with (or not) allowing them to hear how the child in the book overcame their particular problem. It sets out a weekly plan of ‘homework’ for the parent and child to do together, with appropriate rewards for the child as they make progress. The parent has to pre-read each chapter before they do each weekly ‘exercise’ with their child, and parents can learn a lot from the pre-reading, even though the book is aimed at children. It definitely requires some dedication and sticking to the program, and takes a couple of months to work through completely, but is not overly demanding, and takes things at a good pace. My son (age 9 -10 yrs) and I actually enjoyed working on it together. It is mainly aimed at junior school children and wouldn’t be quite so relevant for teens.” (Parent)  
  • Overcoming Your Child’s Fears and Worries A Self-help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. Helps parents use techniques to help their child overcome a tendency to worry as well as specific fears and phobias. Although there is a lot of detail, you can dip into it for some useful tips without reading the whole book.