Every now and then, we need a little help explaining things to kids. Trying to change the language to kid-appropriate lingo can be hard at times and there’s no shame in needing a bit of help!
Mental health is becoming more prominent in our society and parents/care-givers want to teach their children about mental health issues earlier in life and sometimes don't know how (which is totally understandable and relatable).There are tons of books explaining emotions, coping tools, self-confidence and other mental health related things to kids.
Books can be helpful because it helps a child relate to the story because it's about someone close to their age and experiencing things similar to them. Below are a few books that I've recently read that a parent/care-giver can read with their child for mental health and mindfulness:
1. My Thoughts Are Clouds by Georgia Heard
This is a collection of poems about mindfulness. Georgia Heard describes what mindfulness is, why we want to use it and details skills to incorporate in your kids life. Georgia does this while using wonderful words and fun illustrations. This is a fun read! (Ages 8-12).
2. What to Do Then You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner
This book defines worry/anxiety in a kid-friendly way and shares coping tools that care-givers and kids can practice together. There are cool illustrations and workbook-like activities to get your kid thinking about how the tools apply to them. (Ages 6 -12).
3. Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna
This book is for younger kids and describes fear in a way they can relate to. The story is about a young girl moving to a new country and overcoming fear of a new culture while also recognizing that other kids have fear too. This is a quick read! The illustrations were also really cool and captivating. (Ages 3-8).
4. Unstoppable Me! By Dr. Wayne W Dyer
This is a rhyming book about being yourself and experiencing and coping with emotions. Each story brings a fun, bright illustration to keep your kids engaged and describes confidence, coping tools and emotions in an easy, understandable way. Teaching a child confidence can be difficult as they get older, so tackling it young can help kids at school. (Ages 4-8).
5. In My Heart: A Book of Feelings By Jo Witek
This is a wonderful picture book explaining feelings. It illustrates how different emotions might feel in our bodies and that people may feel emotions differently. The colors and pictures are captivating for a younger child. Your child is never too young to learn about emotions so I'm really happy this book is for younger children. (Ages 2-4).
As parents/care-givers, reading books at early ages is a routine in childcare. Being able to incorporate a book about emotions can help your child understand what they are feeling and be able to express it to you better. Finding the words to describe the feeling inside their body is extremely difficult without having the guidance so a book can help you do that.
Children's books are also not just for parents/care-givers, they can also be used in therapy sessions. It can help a child feel more comfortable talking about their feelings and certain situations they are going through.
If you'd like another blog post like this, please let us know! Happy reading!
Stephanie Polizzi is a licensed psychotherapist (LMHC) in Scarsdale, NY at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling.