The worry tree activity for anxious feelings

The worry tree helps children offload worries instead of dwelling on them. Try practising this activity with your child when they’re feeling calm. They can then learn to use it when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

Print a copy of the worry tree or draw your own. Otherwise, ask your child to think about the questions below.

Worry tree questions

Ask three questions to get your child thinking:

  • What are their worry warning signs? For example, their shoulders might feel tense, or their breathing might be faster than usual.
  • What’s the worst thing they can imagine happening?
  • Can they do anything about it?

If they can’t do anything about it, they should then try to put the worry aside. If they think they can do something, they can decide what to do and when they’ll do it. This could be ‘right now’, ‘this afternoon’ or ‘on Tuesday’. Once they’ve decided this, they should try to put the worry to one side.

If it helps, they can trying thinking about something else for a while. We have mindfulness tips can help Or they could write the worry on a piece of paper, then put it away in a box or in the bin.

For more ways to support your child, read about other ways to help them with anxious feelings.

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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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