About the authors

Patrick & Anna

Patrick & Anna

Dr Anna Smith - BSc, MSc, DClinPsy, PGDip

Anna is a principal clinical psychologist working in the NHS. She specialises in treating anxiety disorders using cognitive behavioural therapy and compassion focused therapy.

Dr Patrick Davey - Bm, Bsc, PGDip, MRcpsych

Patrick is an NHS psychiatrist in South London specialising in anxiety disorders. Patrick cares passionately about encouraging young people to talk openly about their feelings, so they can develop resilience and keep doing things they enjoy.

Birth of the book - Like all great stories It started with a tantrum…

The idea of cheeky worries was born during a four year old’s tearful refusal to get on the bus. The long walk home provided an opportunity to explore uncertain thoughts through the eyes of a small person and illustrated just how important it is to have a simple and concrete way to help children make sense of their emotional worlds. From this experience Anna came up with the phrase cheeky worries and it was shortly after that when Patrick received a WhatsApp message;

“I'm wondering if you have any tips about helping little Finn (5 years) share his worries. He just seems a bit anxious but I struggle to know how to help him. Any thoughts?"

Illustration © Anne Wilson

Illustration © Anne Wilson


So the challenge was set. How do we help a friend find a way to give his lad the language to express his worries and how do we help parents support their children when they do share worries. Talking to Anna it was clear that she may already have the answer. She explained 'cheeky worries' and the book developed organically from there. A wise owl became the conduit to impart key psychological teachings to little Finn. As we watched him grow and realise he could manage these thoughts it became clear that we had something that could be of genuine use.  We talked to friends, took it into schools and have been delighted with how quickly children have grasped the concept.

Perhaps the most gratifying things has been hearing from schools where children have been able to speak to their teachers after our workshop and share their cheeky worries. 

Head teacher, Primary School, somerset;

‘Thank you so much for today. The teachers said how wonderful it was. it highlighted the need for us to have worry boxes in class which is great!

Science behind the story

Based on evidenced principles, this book provides proactive and crucial first steps to start to aid children to develop their own ‘mentally healthy tool kit’ of resources to manage anxiety. Several psychological principles have been woven into the story to provide children with the language to label and name what they are feeling and to share their worries. It provides a framework to help parents help their children through validation and normalisation. It contains basic mindfulness principles children can utilse to start to manage worries themselves.

We all have worries but this book can teach children the tools to manage these so that no one ever has to stop doing the things they love.

We hope you enjoy the story, please get in touch with ideas or suggestions.

Patrick & Anna