Help Kids Understand What Anxiety Is

Anxiety is tricky, right? It can be a hard topic for kids to understand, especially when they’re experiencing the physical effects of worry. But psychoeducation is an integral part of helpings kids deal with anxiety – it’s harder to overcome things we don’t understand, after all! Keep reading to find some of my favorite resources and activities to help kids understand what anxiety is.

Need activities and resources to help kids understand anxiety? Check out these videos, books, and activities to help your kids who worry.

Help Kids Understand Anxiety

1 – Smoke Alarm Analogy

Age: All ages

To explain what anxiety is, I use the smoke alarm analogy. Smoke alarms are really helpful for alerting us to danger when there’s a fire and we need to get out of the building. But sometimes smoke alarms go off even when there isn’t a big danger, like when we burn popcorn or toast. It makes the same sound for big emergency fires or little non-emergency fires.

Anxiety does the same thing. Anxiety tells us there’s a big danger, even if the situation is actually not that big. It feels like a big danger because anxiety sends the same signals. The good news is we can learn skills to tame that anxiety emergency alarm (no more burnt toast alarms!).

2 – Hey Warrior

Age: Elementary & Middle School

I saw this book recommended on Instagram by fellow counselor, Gretchen, from Speckled Moose Counseling. I was hesitant to order from Australia because I’m spoiled on Amazon Prime, but it was 100% worth the extra shipping cost! This book does a fantastic job of explaining what worry is, where it comes from, and how kids can be warriors over their worries.

Need activities and resources to help kids understand anxiety? Check out these videos, books, and activities to help your kids who worry.

3 – Gremlin Girl

Age: Middle & High School

When I was planning for a classroom guidance lesson on anxiety, I wanted to find a way to break the ice and show my students that talking about anxiety is okay! So, of course, I went straight to their favorite source of entertainment: Youtube. I found this great mini-series called Gremlin Girl. The episodes depict anxiety as a Gremlin that pops up and has a lot to say. This video about waiting for text message responses is my favorite from the series so far:

My students loved this and were all quick to say how relatable it is! This was just a simple way to open the door to a conversation about anxiety while letting students see that others sometimes share the experience.

Find more activities to help kids understand anxiety:

Worry Warriors Group Counseling Curriculum

Worry Workbook

Need activities and resources to help kids understand anxiety? Check out these videos, books, and activities to help your kids who worry. Worry games, worry activities, and worry lessons for kids through school counseling.

How do you help kids understand anxiety? Fill us in below!

Need activities and resources to help kids understand anxiety? Check out these videos, books, and activities to help your kids who worry. These resources help kids understand what anxiety is! Great tools for worry and anxiety psychoeducation for school counseling, child therapy, or parenting. -Counselor Keri

3 thoughts on “Help Kids Understand What Anxiety Is

  1. I really like your smoke alarm analogy, and my middle school kids will eat up that Gremlin Girl video! THANKS!

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