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It is normal for children to feel scared, worried or anxious sometimes. However, for some children, fears, worries and anxiety can start to interfere with their day-to-day lives. Children who experience significant problems with anxiety are more likely than their peers to experience mental health problems and impaired quality of life in adulthood. Helping children to build confidence from a young age could help them to have fewer problems with fears and worries in the future.   

We know that families often find it helpful to learn skills and strategies that they can use to help reduce children’s problems with anxiety, now and in the future. But we know less about how best to offer support in a way that is most helpful and readily available for families with young children.

In MY-CATS, we want to find the best way to teach skills and strategies that families can use to help build young children’s confidence and minimise problems with anxiety.

We will be working with at least 60 schools in England and inviting parents and carers of children in participating reception, year 1 and year 2 classes to take part.

We will use questionnaires to identify families who may be most likely to benefit from support, and offer some of these families OSI straight away, and others a written version of the support programme later on in the project.