As an individual child therapist for almost 20 years and as a parent, The Anxiety Workbook for Kids has been a fun and engaging resource to assist me in helping children with mild to severe anxiety learn strategies to calm themselves down in order to prevent feeling overwhelmed by their fears. This workbook is effective because it utilizes a multifaceted approach to educate children about anxiety and the various strategies that they can use to form an individualized anxiety reduction plan.
An age appropriate definition of anxiety and the physiological responses that may accompany it normalizes the experience of anxiety so children can decrease their sense of shame and isolation about having their fears. The workbook informs parents and children about the link between imagination and anxiety while instilling hope that children can increase their sense of agency and, as many of my clients have said “be the boss of my worries”.
The engaging illustrations are especially helpful for children that benefit from visual cues while learning new concepts. Concepts are broken down into age appropriate language. Chapters can be reviewed consecutively or in isolation depending on the needs of the child. This workbook provides a treasure trove of relaxation strategies that parents and professionals can use at home or in sessions. Often, families have enjoyed doing the relaxation exercises together. Once learned, children can use the tools from this book on their own and therefore feel empowered in situations when they are away from their parents and need to calm down, for example school.
This workbook provides a variety of exercises that encourage children to use their creativity to express their worries. The creative coping tools are simple to make and can be individualized so that children enjoy a sense of ownership in using their coping tools.
I have found The Anxiety Workbook for Kids to be an invaluable resource that empowers children and adults that support them, to address anxiety and master coping strategies in a simple, creative and effective way.
Barbara Pierre, registered social worker, registered Canadian art therapist, instructor of child and adolescent development and art therapy at Toronto Art Therapy Institute