Six tips to help your children cope with climate anxiety

21 April 2023

Floyd Woodrow MBE DCM

Climate activist holding a sign which reads 'There is no planet b'

I’m constantly blown away by the extraordinary resilience and passion children showcase when solving big problems. Climate change and the need to address it is one of the most regular topics of discussion I hear in schools nationwide.

When we run our Compass For Life for the Future workshops, it’s astounding how children are quick to put forward solutions ranging from seed drops to world leaders to innovative solutions to keep our ice caps cool. What our children fear the most is inaction. 

And, while the climate crisis is met with optimism and the Warrior Spirit by children, it’s clear that there is a level of anxiety brewing as failures to address environmental concerns are increasingly discussed and aired across the media.

Taking the principles of our Compass For Life methodology, here are six tips to help your children cope with climate anxiety.

We hope this helps.

1. Create the space for communication

Encourage children to express their thoughts and feelings about the climate crisis without fear of judgment or dismissal. Don’t be afraid to have that honest discussion, and be vulnerable if you don’t know the answer. 

2. Empower with knowledge

Equip children with age-appropriate information about the climate crisis. Highlight the positive work being done and address the areas that need more attention, but present the information with care, attention and the right level of detail. 

3. Commit together

Encourage children to join together either at school or within the community so they can have healthy debates and discussions amongst each other. This connection with their peers is critical to finding allies and knowing they’re not alone with their thoughts. 

4. Encourage simple action

Helping children develop eco-friendly habits and engaging in sustainable activities will make them feel they are playing their part in solving the issues.

5. Build resilience

Teach children strategies for managing anxiety and stress related to the climate crisis, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and just spending time in nature. Also, give them the encouragement to focus on things within their control to understand that it’s not all on their shoulders.

6. Remain hopeful

Be positive and practical in your approach to the topic, and demonstrate willingness and commitment so you’re giving great signals to your children that you’re with them every step of the way.