< Knowledge center Anxiety & Stress for Youth

For parents

What is anxiety?

Everyone is scared sometimes. An anxious feeling can be very helpful. It’s a natural reaction that alerts you to danger. Your body is getting ready to respond so you can run or fight. For example, your heart beats faster and your muscles tense. This is a healthy response. If children have problems at school, at home, or with their health, they may feel anxious about it, but these feelings usually subside when the problems subside.

Some children and young people are often afraid without a clear cause. Or they are much more afraid than necessary in certain situations. For example, your child is afraid to go to certain places (a square or public transport), or not to do certain things (give a speech, have a blood test). Or he or she worries a lot about everything, and therefore often has problems sleeping or concentrating.

If a child is regularly very anxious, suffers greatly from this and does not dare to do ‘ordinary’ or important things, there may be an anxiety disorder. By avoiding (avoiding) things, the fear does not get less, but often worse. For example, it can become increasingly difficult to go to school, make and keep friends, do fun things or work. In the long term, it often also leads to other psychological and social problems.

Anxiety in children and young people is sometimes difficult to recognize, because anxious behavior goes unnoticed and children do not always dare to talk about it. It sometimes manifests itself in physical complaints such as abdominal pain, headache or fatigue. The child may also withdraw, refuse to go to school, or become angry or rebellious. If you notice that your child is very anxious, talk about it and get help in time. The sooner you treat anxiety symptoms, the greater the chance that you will get rid of them completely.

Where can I find more information?

Many organizations provide information or support for parents regarding childhood anxiety. We will be adding to the overview below in the near future.

Knowledge Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

The Knowledge Centre KJP offers information for parents and youth about what anxiety is, how to recognize it and what treatments there are.


This website of Parenting Information Netherlands provides information for parents on many topics, including anxiety en anxiety disorders in children and anxiety, anxiety disorders and stress in youth.


You can read about how to recognize anxiety in your child, what you can do, when your child may need help and where you can find it on this website.


This website contains information, tips and exercises for children, but also gives tips for parents to deal with their child’s anxiety and to do exercises together.

Articles, videos, podcasts, radio broadcasts and more…

NPO Radio 1 immersed itself in the talk show Spraakmakers a week in fear in children. How do fears develop, what is the impact on a child and his environment and how do you deal with anxiety?

Radio LEF (Leiden Education Fieldlab) made a podcast about our SPIL-program: listen here.

What can the Knowledge Center for Anxiety & Stress in Youth do for me?

Training for children and youth

Does your son or daughter suffer from stress and anxious feelings and would he or she like to suffer less from this or are you worried as a parent? Perhaps the training sessions of the SPIL-program are for him or her.
Would you like more information? For questions or registration, please contact us at kas@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

We have two types of training:

Kids beat Anxiety (KibA) - For children aged 7-14

For children and youth who are very afraid of certain animals, things or situations (e.g. spiders, wasps, the dentist, vomiting, clowns, dogs, blood).

What does the training entail?
7 individual appointments, together with your parents. You team up with your trainer to overcome your fear.

The training includes:
• 1 preparatory session: which situation(s) are you afraid of?
• 1 practice session of three hours: how can you handle this?
• 4 weeks of self-practice with tips from the trainer or using an app

In Je Sas! - For youth aged 12-17

For young people with social anxiety who experience shyness (e.g. difficulty speaking in front of class, meeting up with friends or making new friends).

What does the training entail?
12 weekly meetings, after school in a group. Together we do exercises and tackle challenges. For example:
• Speak in front of a group
• Make new friends
• Start a conversation with strangers
• Dealing with Shyness

We also work with an app. With this app you can:
• Gain insight into your thoughts, behavior and feelings
• Get support from the trainers and group members during the week

Support for schools

Teachers and care workers in and around the school can mean a lot to students with anxiety.
We offer them various forms of support, such as a telephone helpline where they can go with questions about anxiety. We also provide presentations and workshops for schools. Feel free to point your child’s school to us offers for schools.


Dagelijkse Leiding


Hoofd Zorg


Hoofd Preventie