Cool Little Kids

What is it?

The Cool Little Kids program is an early intervention version of the Cool Kids Program, a world-renowned cognitive behavioural therapy program developed at Macquarie University, Centre for Emotional Health. Cool Little Kids aims to educate parents about how best to parent their anxious or extremely shy child to prevent future problems and enhance emotional wellbeing.

Is shyness normal in preschoolers?

Some shyness can be a normal part of development. However, research has revealed that excessive shyness in preschool aged children can lead to the development of more serious problems in later life, such as the development of anxiety disorders. Having a parent who is anxious also increases a child’s likelihood of developing anxiety.

About Cool Little Kids

The Cool Little Kids Program is a 6-session group treatment program for parents of children aged 3-6 years who exhibit excessive shyness or anxiety. It is a psychoeducational parenting program that equips parents with both knowledge and practical skills and tips on how to help their child manage and overcome anxiety. The program uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) techniques to give parents effective tools and strategies to assist their child.


Research has revealed that participating in the Cool Little Kids parenting program when a child is a preschooler can reduce the likelihood of a child developing an anxiety disorder in their teenage years.


The program is held over a 6-8 week period, at the same time each week and is attended by 4-8 families. Each session runs for approximately 2 hours. During the program topics include:

  • Understanding anxiety and shyness in preschool children

  • Causes and risk factors for child anxiety

  • Helpful and unhelpful ways of responding to anxiety in children  

  • Skills and strategies to help your child build brave behaviours and face fears

  • Dealing with setbacks and difficulties

  • How to maintain progress after the program ends.

Who attends the group?

We recommend that all parents/caregivers involved in the day-to-day care of a child attend the group whenever possible. If one parent will be attending, it is preferable for the same parent to attend each session (rather than alternating parents). This allows a parent to build on knowledge learned in previous sessions.


Children do not attend groups and childcare is not available when the program is delivered on site.

Where do I go from here?

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