Psychoeducation Teaching Points for Kids with Anxiety

When I’m working with kids with big worries or anxiety, I always spend some time on psychoeducation on the front end. Kids like and need to understand what’s going on in their bodies and minds, and giving them this information up front helps to empower them and get buy-in for counseling activities. When they know the why behind the activities they are more likely to do the how part too! Below I’m outlining the 4 major psychoeducation points I use to teach kids about anxiety:

Want to teach kids about anxiety? Don't miss these essential teaching points for psychoeducation about anxiety with your students.

Teach Kids About Anxiety

1. What is anxiety?

First things first, what exactly is anxiety anyway? Anxiety is a feeling that affects our thoughts, emotions, and actions! I use a smoke alarm analogy to help kids understand how it works. Smoke alarms warn us of danger. Sometimes there’s real danger like a fire in the house. But sometimes the danger isn’t real, like when you overcook toast or popcorn. The smoke alarm sounds either way! Sometimes anxiety warms us of real danger or a real problem. But sometimes the danger we imagine isn’t real or isn’t as big as our anxiety alarm tells us it is.

Want to teach kids about anxiety? Don't miss these essential teaching points for psychoeducation about anxiety with your students.

2. What causes anxiety?

We also spend time talking about anxiety triggers. I do a lot of the talking in this portion and review common triggers like places, memories, people, news, etc. We don’t spend a lot of time digging into the students’ anxiety triggers during this portion, as it is informational, but we do dig in later in the group sessions!

3. How does anxiety feel?

Part of the fear my students express about their anxiety involves their physical sensations. We talk about the physical signs of anxiety to normalize this experience and give them information about what to expect and how to label it.

Want to teach kids about anxiety? Don't miss these essential teaching points for psychoeducation about anxiety with your students.

4. How will we deal with anxiety?

Finally, I teach kids about the strategies we will use to address anxiety! I never want them to feel like I’m “tricking” them with a strategy, so I teach them about CBT, the thoughts-feelings-actions triangle, cognitive restructuring, calming strategies, etc. I don’t want them coming into group wondering about what we might do (hello, more worries), so I give them a little preview of the things we will cover together. When they know what to expect when they’re coming to group, I get much better buy-in and willingness to participate!

Video Lessons

Feel free to use this video series to share with your students as you teach them about these concepts!

Free Checklist

Download a free checklist of psychoeducation teaching points for anxiety to keep on hand next time you’re planning a worry or anxiety group!

Want to teach kids about anxiety? Don't miss these essential teaching points for psychoeducation about anxiety with your students.

Resources for Anxiety:

Worry Workbook

Worry Group Counseling Program

Worry Card Game

Worry Board Game

Want to teach kids about anxiety? Don't miss these essential teaching points for psychoeducation about anxiety with your students. Help kids deal with worry by teaching them to answer the question what is worry? Start with psychoeducation and then teach kids to manage worry and deal with worry with worry management strategies.

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