Menu

12 books to help calm your child’s anxiety

Sitting down together and reading a book can help your little one identify, cope, and work through her worries

12 books to help calm your child’s anxiety

Anxiety isn’t fun for anyone, but can be especially tough when you’re a little person facing a great, big world full of new experiences, strange faces, and overwhelming situations. Lots of kids deal with anxiety at some point in their lives; for many, it’s a normal part of childhood in one form or another.


There are lots of phrases and strategies to aid your anxious child, but one of our favorites is sitting down together and reading a book that can help your little one identify, cope, and work through her worries.

Kids love to see themselves and their feelings reflected in stories, and books are an incredibly useful and easy way to accomplish just that.

FEATURED VIDEO

Whether it’s school fears, separation anxiety, or just overall worry—here are 12 books that every parent needs to help calm an anxious child.

1. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

If there’s a worry worth worrying about, then Wemberly’s your girl. This classic picture book by the beloved Kevin Henkes explores worries both big and small, especially the common fear of the first day of school, and helps little ones identify and work through these feelings.

2. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

It’s little llama’s first day of preschool, and he can’t wait...until he realizes that mama llama can’t stay. This back-to-school favorite written in clever, catchy verse is the perfect read-aloud for any preschooler with first-day jitters.

3. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

What happens when you worry too much about what everyone thinks of you? You get a bad case of stripes, that’s what! This vividly illustrated and humorous tale shows kids the way to discovering—and finding pride in—their true colors.

4. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel does NOT want to leave his tree; there are too many scary things awaiting him down on the ground. So what happens when he falls out of his nest? This clever, funny tale is perfect for little ones who are afraid to shake up their usual routine and embrace the unknown.

5. Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, illus by Lynn Musinger

When the other rats hear that shy Rodney can’t pronounce his r’s, he becomes the target of lots of teasing at school. As he learns to stand up for himself and overcome his fears of the class bully, kids will gain their own confidence and ego boost along the way.

6. The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illus by John Klassen

Two award-winning talents team up to tackle the ultimate childhood fear—the dark. Parents will love the beautiful, minimalist artwork and poetic prose, while kids will love the discovery that the dark isn’t actually as scary as it seems.

7. Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook, illus by Anita DuFalla

Sometimes all it takes is the normalization of anxiety to make a child feel more in control of his anxious thoughts. This picture book offers children—and parents—the tools they need to deal with any worry and what-if that comes their way.

8. Daniel Tiger Goes to School by Becky Friedman, illus by Jason Fruchter

Everyone’s favorite tiger is here to assure young children that “grown-ups come back.” (We can’t begin to count how many times this song has been sung around our house! ?) Pair it with the show’s back-to-school episode for ultimate success!

9. The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright, illus by Jim Field

If your little one worries about change, she’ll love Kevin the koala, who wants every day to be exactly.the.same. Perfect for story time and discovering all the joys that can come along with embracing change.

10. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, illus by Ruth E. Harper

The bestselling—and heartwarming—story that has been used for decades by parents and educators to calm children’s worries about the first day of school. Chester Raccoon will quickly become a favorite in your house, we promise!

11. Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza

The perfect book to spark the conversation about worry with a young child. We love the characters’ adventurous spirit and the humor throughout.

12. Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse is afraid of...pretty much everything. This creative tale complete with foldouts and flaps will not only capture your child’s attention but will help him face his fears and anxieties.

Through affiliate programs, we may receive a revenue percentage if you purchase through our website.

In This Article

    Nuna

    New mama life is often fraught with decision fatigue. From choosing a pediatrician to choosing a baby monitor, it can be difficult to know which solutions are made to last. Fortunately, Nuna just made one very important decision a lot easier. That's because their new MIXX Next Stroller has everything a new parent needs to get out, get around and get everything done.

    An upgraded version of their popular MIXX stroller, the MIXX Next features a more compact fold (shaving 6.5 inches off the folded size, down to 27.5 inches long and 23.6 inches wide) thanks to a compact fold-away axle where the rear wheels tuck under the frame when it folds. Plus, the new model also stays standing when folded—meaning no more back-straining as you bend to pick up your folded stroller and heave it into the trunk. Instead, the MIXX Next can be tucked more easily into storage whenever your ride comes to an end.


    Nuna Mixx Next Stroller


    Speaking of the ride, your little one will love the new rear-wheel Free Flex suspension™ and front-wheel progression suspension technology that absorbs more shock as you roll over uneven terrain. The wheels have also been updated to tough, rubber foam-filled tires for a smoother, more durable ride and the no re-thread harness makes it easy to clip your baby in securely and quickly. And when all those gentle bumps lull your baby to sleep? The seat features a five-position recline that adjusts quickly with one-hand—all the way down to a true-flat sleeper recline—just don't forget to move them to their crib when you arrive home. (Don't forget to extend the water repellent, UPF 50+ canopy to keep those sleepy eyes shaded.) Even better, the all-season seat keeps baby cozy in winter and unsnaps to mesh for a cooler ride in the summer.

    Perhaps most importantly, though, this stroller is made to last. (After all, what's the point of solving a mama dilemma if it creates another one a few months down the road?) The MIXX Next pairs perfectly with all Nuna PIPA™ series infant car seats using the included car seat ring adapter, and then adapts to a child seat that can face toward you (for a little face time) or forward for when your little one is ready to take on the world. All in all, this stroller gets you where you need to go with a child up to 50 pounds, meaning it's the only one you'll ever need.

    The MIXX Next is available in three colors and retails for $749.95.

    This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play