< Knowledge center Anxiety & Stress for Youth

Cool Little Kids

Cool Little Kids can help parents to prevent and reduce anxiety and shyness in their child. Parents with shy and/or anxious children aged 2-6 can now participate in our project!


Every child is scared sometimes and that is completely normal. However, a number of children are and remain so anxious, as a result of which they develop an anxiety disorder. Despite the fact that there are effective methods of treating anxiety disorders, many children and adults with an anxiety disorder never see a therapist. Previous research has shown that children who are very shy and withdrawn around the age of 2-6 are up to 6 times more likely to develop anxiety disorders later in life. This behavior is therefore a very suitable indicator for prevention. Unfortunately, there are no available programs in the Netherlands to protect these vulnerable young children against this.


The aim of the Cool Little Kids project is to provide parents with an opportunity to prevent anxiety problems in their shy children. We do this by investigating the effectiveness of a new program for parents of timid children aged 2-6 years. The project examines 2 programs:
1) A parent training

In this training, consisting of 6 meetings with 6-8 parents per group, parents are given an explanation about fear and shy behaviour. Parents learn techniques that they can apply at home. This training was originally developed in Australia where it has been found to be effective in preventing anxiety problems for up to 11 years later.

2) A book with general parenting tips

This book covers several topics that can help parents. It also includes practical tips which parents can apply themselves. For example: how can you as a parent best deal with the feelings of your child and how can you best reward your child for good behavior. Parents who participate in this project are randomly assigned to 1 of the 2 programs. Just before participating in the program and 3 moments after the program, they are asked to fill in a questionnaire and to participate in an interview about their child’s possible fears.

Sign up and more information

More information about the Cool Little Kids project, the program’s, the research and how to register can be found on our project page of Leiden University.


Hoofd Preventie


Projectleider Cool Little Kids


Dagelijks projectleider Cool Little Kids