Coronavirus has exacerbated my six-year-old’s anxiety

Question: My six-year-old son has developed a phobia of getting sick which early this year started to inhibit his ability to go to friends’ houses and school normally. My wife and I tried various techniques such as giving reassurance, acknowledging his fears and offering empathy.

We tried buying him a “worry monster”, which is a teddy with a zip for a mouth. Basically the child puts the worry into the monster’s mouth, zips it closed and the monster takes the worry away. This teddy has given him some help and comfort, but his anxiety and fears have continued.