Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidenced-based treatment for anxiety. As psychologists, we work with kids to help them understand what is healthy anxiety and what is just too much. We teach them how our bodies react (e.g., physiological cues) to too much stress and anxiety, and we teach concrete skills to use on how to deescalate anxious thoughts that often seem to snowball into bigger problems than they need to be. One research based kid friendly curriculum is called Coping Cat. We use this program with children who are highly anxious to help them identify what they are feeling frightened about, what bad things they are expecting to happen, what attitudes and actions they can use to help, and then trying it out and reviewing how well it worked. We also teach parents these skills so that they can help guide their child when an anxious moment is happening so that they can put this plan in action.
A good parent resource is by Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., she has a book called "Freeing Your Child from Anxiety". In this book, she teaches parents how to avoid common mistakes and how to help their children in anxious situations or when they go down a spiral of doom and gloom anticipating the worst in an upcoming event. One strategy is to not to provide reassurance (e.g., "Oh, it won't be so bad, or "You'll be okay"), but rather empathize with them in the moment so that they are feeling heard (e..g, "Wow, seems like worry brain really has you wound up about this today, that must feel awful").
If you'd like to learn more helpful tips and strategies, or if your child would benefit from a therapist to get a good handle on that worry brain, feel free to schedule a consult with us.
Untreated anxiety will only get worse, your child will not likely grow out of it. So, let's treat it now.