Good Book to Help Anxious Kids (Book Review Pedcast)


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What to Do if You Worry Too Much

by Dawn Huebner, PhD.

Topic Introduction

Doc Smo here. Thanks for joining me today. Recently, I found a good book to help an anxious kids that I am going to share with you today in this book review pedcast. I must say, I love doing book reviews for my listeners because I learn so much in the process of exploring the catalogue of contemporary parenting books and at the same time I give my listeners a little taste of the author’s wisdom. Today, I am going to do a review of a book that a mother of one of my patient’s introduced me to when the subject of her son’s anxiety came up at his checkup recently.  This mom and her son had found the book titled, What to Do When You Worry Too Much, very useful and I hope you will too. And don’t be fooled; even though child doesn’t appear in the title, this book is written for children. If you have a son or daughter that worries more than you think they should, you won’t want to miss today’s book review pedcast. Stay tuned.

Musical Introduction


What questions are answered in this book?

As I said, today’s book is titled, What to Do When You Worry Too Much, by clinical psychologist Dawn Huebner. The book is one of a series of books published by the American Psychological Association in their What-to Do Guides for Kids series. Obviously, this one focuses on anxious children and answers two important questions:

  1. How can a child learn to recognize that they worry too much?
  2. How can an anxious child learn to cope with their own excessive worries?

Recognizing that a child worries too much

First, how does a child or the child’s parent know if the worry is out of the boundary of normal? All children worry some, right?  Dr. Huebner says this comes down to two factors; recognizing that physical symptoms like stomachaches, headaches, dizziness, or fatigue frequently are manifestations of childhood anxiety and, admitting that the level of worry is affecting the child’s friends and family in not such good ways; things like not being able to sleep by themselves or sleep at other children’s homes, being irritable for no reason, clinging to parents especially in public, and getting frustrated more easily than their friends do. More on this subject in a very recent pedcast by yours truly.

Helping Anxious Kids

Once the child recognizes that they worry excessively, Dr. Huebner offers three strategies to teach the child to manage their worry. She describes these strategies in a way that a child can understand and practice, all illustrated with kid friendly drawings. I think that the techniques that she offers are quite doable, realistic, and practical for school age children who are motivated to learn to manage their own anxiety.

Doc Smo’s opinion

I found the book nicely written with language appropriate for children between about 6-12 years of age. I think you will find it practical, fun to read, and overall a useful resource for anxious children and their parents.  I think because of the way it is written, this book is best suited for elementary age children. I also think the publisher made a mistake however, in not making the illustrations color. I think this would have made the book much more visually appealing and interesting.  That being said, if you have a little one in your house who seems to worry more than you think they should, I recommend that you pick up a copy of What to Do if You Worry Too Much.  I think you will find it a good place to begin helping your young worrier. I give it 4 out of 5 Doc Smo stars.


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