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Back-to-School Books to Ease You and Your Child’s Minds

Image: Kimberly Farmer

Big changes to our routines can bring on big emotions in both our children and ourselves. Going back to school is one of those routine disruptors that can generate all the feelings. 

For many students across the United States, this may be the first time going to school in-person in over 18 months. In the short span of life they’ve experienced so far, that’s a significant amount of time.

If your child or teen (or you!) is experiencing anxiety and stress leading up to the first few weeks of school, we get you. We’re with you. We stand in solidarity, friends. These books can help you and your kiddos cope with the feelings that going back to school (or going to school for the first time) are bringing out in your family.

The first time going to school is an important milestone in every young person’s life. Here are several books that are sure to inspire excitement and ease fears about going to school this fall:

For Younger Children

The Wonderful Things You Will Be
by Emily Winfield Martin
This popular children’s book is a wonderful confidence boost. Written with delightful rhymes sure to stick with your child, this book will encourage your youngster as they begin the season of finding and naming their dreams.
When Harley Has Anxiety: A Fun CBT Skills Activity Book to Help Manage Worries and Fears by Regine Galanti PhD
Recommended by Dr. Emily Bilek, When Harley Has Anxiety is a brand new workbook written by an expert psychologist to help children 5-9 years old cope with anxiety.
A Letter From Your Teacher: On the First Day of School
by Shannon Olsen
Written from the perspective of a teacher to her students on the first day, this sweet picture book is a great choice to ease the minds of students who are going to school for the first time.
Daniel Goes to School (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)
by Becky Friedman
For fans of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Daniel Goes to School helps Daniel Tiger work through his excitement to go to school and worries when he finds out that his dad can’t go with him. New preschoolers and those entering kindergarten are likely to enjoy this book the most.

For Older Children and Teens

Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress
by Regine Galanti PhD
Another book by Galanti that was recommended by Dr. Emily Bilek, this book can help guide your teen out of the stressful anxiety spiral. With tactics based in cognitive behavioral therapy, these are tried-and-true skills used by psychologists to help children and teens everywhere who might be struggling with anxiety.
Brave: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Beating Worry and Anxiety
by Sissy Goff
Geared to girls between the ages of 13 and 19, Brave is designed to help girls understand their emotions better, develop ways to manage anxiety and worry, and discover the strength God has instilled in them.
The One-Minute Gratitude Journal for Teens: Simple Journal to Increase Gratitude and Happiness
by Brenda Nathan
Gratitude has a miraculous ability to change the way our brains process the world and handle our daily stresses. This simple gratitude journal will help your teen develop the habit of looking for the gifts in everyday life, providing a new lens through which to view the world.

For Parents

Helping Your Anxious Child: a Step-by-Step Guide for Parents
by Ronald M. Rapee
This is another one recommended by Dr. Bilek for parents who want to help their child cope with anxiety. This book offers tools from the CBT toolkit for parents to coach their child through identifying irrational fears and learning social skills to overcome anxiety. It also provides tools for parents to improve their response when a child is frightened or anxious.
Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD: A Scientifically Proven Program for Parents
by Eli R. Lebowitz
Also recommended by Dr. Bilek, this is a great resource for the parent who feels their child may be struggling with anxiety but is hesitant to seek professional help. This book provides a pathway for a 100% parent-based treatment program for child and adolescent anxiety.
The CBT Workbook for Mental Health: Evidence-Based Exercises to Transform Negative Thoughts and Manage Your Well-Being
by Simon Rego PsyD and Sarah Fader
Since there are workbooks for kids and workbooks for teens, it only seems right to also recommend a workbook for us adults who are experiencing anxiety and worry right now. This new book also uses the recommended cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals learn how to cope with anxiety and worry.

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