How to Help a Child with Anxiety (New FREE Resource)


Written by Alison Smith

Do you have a child who struggles with anxiety in your class? As we all know, an increasing number of children are experiencing feelings of stress and unease. And so, we have created a brand new FREE teaching resource to help! The Worry Waterfall Poster has been created to help students deal effectively with worrying thoughts.

Make your classroom buzz! Subscribe to Teach Starter and access thousands of curriculum-aligned resources and digital learning tools. Get Started


This brilliant teaching resource is suitable to use with the whole class or for individual students. Read on to find out how to get the most out of this essential resource for kids’ wellbeing.

The Worry Waterfall

The Worry Waterfall poster encourages students to recognise worries that they can and can not control. And guides them through a step-by-step process of decision making and of taking action.

Help a child with anxiety.

Deal effectively with worrying thoughts.

This strategy for managing anxiety is ideal for middle to upper-year students. It is perfect to introduce to the whole class, to explore in-depth and use time and time again.

This FREE downloadable poster is available in colour, low colour and black and white. Just select your preference by clicking on the download tab.

Notice the Worry

The first step to dealing with worry is to notice and acknowledge it. As we know, anxiety presents itself in many different ways. And so it’s important to teach kids to be self-aware and how to become familiar with how anxiety might feel.

Shutterstock image by Roman Yanushevsky

As a class discuss how worrying thoughts make us feel. For example, anxiety might:

  • speed up our breathing
  • make us feel shakey
  • give us a stomach ache or butterflies in our tummy
  • tense up our muscles
  • make us cry or feel angry
  • make us want to hide away and withdraw.

For more brilliant learning tools to encourage students to be present and pay attention to how they are feeling, head to our collection of Mindfulness Teaching Resources.

Asking Questions

When your students have learned to recognise worrying thoughts, they can then move on to asking two key questions:

  1. “What am I worrying about?”
  2. “Is there anything I can do to make the worry go away?”

Shutterstock image

The best way to teach your students how and when to ask themselves these questions is to model how to do it! So next time you have a worry, (that’s appropriate to share), stop and ask yourself these questions out loud.

Then, when a student shares a worry with you, prompt them to refer to The Worry Waterfall Poster and ask themselves “What am I worrying about?”, and “Is there anything I can do to make the worry go away?”

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your own teacher wellbeing! If worries are getting on top of you, read Emma’s blog World Mental Health Day | 5 Tips for Teacher Wellbeing

Let It Go Or Take Action

Now, this is the important bit… you can help a child with anxiety by encouraging them to identify worries that they can and can not control.  And if nothing can be done, to try and let them go!

Shutterstock image by

You can help a child with anxiety let go of worries by encouraging them to:

  • record the worry on a paper aeroplane and launch it into the sky
  • write the worry down on paper, scrunch it up and throw it away
  • imagine the worry floating away in a balloon (or even better actually do this!)
  • mix up a magical potion and write a spell to make it go away.

Make a Plan

The next step of The Worry Waterfall is to make a plan. If it turns out that there is positive action that can be taken, then it’s time to ask three important questions:

  1. What can I do?
  2. When can I do it?
  3. Now or later?

To help an anxious child to get started with this stage of the process, offer support by discussing a possible action plan and provide guidance.


Self-reflection plays an important part in realising that worries and feelings often pass. Encouraging self-reflection encourages students to take responsibility, to manage their emotions and develop emotional intelligence.

Shutterstock image by sunabesyou

For essential posters and visual displays, to encourage self-reflection, head to our collection of Reflection Teaching Resources.

We hope that this resource reaches teachers and students far and wide. And that it helps anxious children deal effectively with worrying thoughts. For more helpful tips and teaching resources to support students transition back to school after a break, read my blog Back to School Poem | Reduce Anxiety in Children

Download it now for FREE.

If a child in your class is experiencing severe anxiety be sure to consult with your school counsellor or seek advice from a senior member of staff.

Share the love and support children with anxiety.

Make your classroom buzz! Subscribe to Teach Starter and access thousands of curriculum-aligned resources and digital learning tools. Get Started

Comments & feedback

Log in or sign up to join the conversation.

This is a lovely approach of support. Great job teachstarter

Yvette Croft · Jul 1st, 2020

Hi Yvette

Thank you for your awesome feedback!

Kind regards


Janeen · Jul 1st, 2020

great idea and resource thank you

Chris Smith · Jun 29th, 2020

You’re most welcome, Chris! Thank you for your kind words!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Jun 29th, 2020


Athena Bentoy · Jun 18th, 2020

You’re most welcome, Athena!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Jun 22nd, 2020

I love this. Thank you!

Fiona Batty · Jun 18th, 2020

You’re most welcome, Fiona!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Jun 22nd, 2020

This is a fantastic resource – thank you. Is it possible to download the video clip?

Mary Jones · May 28th, 2020

Hi Mary,

All our videos can be downloaded via our You Tube channel!

Here’s the link for the video you mentioned –

Paul (Teach Starter) · Jun 1st, 2020

Our Vision

We believe in a world where every child is inspired to build a purposeful and happy life through learning.

Jill Snape & Scott Tonges (founders)
Jill Scott

About Teach Starter