anxiety

Saying No to Friends: Helping Kids Be True to Themselves

Friends are important to kids. Sometimes the need to make their friends happy or to fit in gets in the way of their own happiness. They might be afraid that their friends won’t like them anymore if they disappoint them in some way. They might try so hard to be liked that they forget to take care of themselves.  You Can’t Please Everyone! by Ellen Flanagan Burns explores this challenging situation by following a character named Ellie, who struggles with this aspect of friendship. It’s a hopeful, helpful story for kids who need reassurance that they can be nice to others and be true to themselves. Here are some tips from an adapted excerpt of the introduction, entitled Dear Reader.  It’s not your job to:  Please People  When you try to please people, it feels good at first because it makes them happy, but that good feeling doesn’t last very long. Always worrying about what people think is exhausting! It’s much better to just be yourself and trust that’s enough for your friends.  Be Liked  The truth is, the way somebody feels about you isn’t really your concern. The way YOU feel about you is. So, be your best YOU. It’s OKAY to be yourself and say “no” to others. Do It All  You can’t do it all, and your good friends don’t expect you to. You’ll feel happier and more confident when you do what feels right instead of what you think someone else wants you to do. It is your job to: Be Kind  It feels good to be kind and help others when you can. That’s different than trying to please people. Do the thing that feels right rather than the thing that makes others like you. When we do what feels right, it gives us a good feeling that lasts. Be Yourself  There’s no one else like you. Whether you are silly, sweet, quiet, smart, shy, funny, talkative, or outgoing (or all of the above at different times), BE YOURSELF! That’s enough. You’ll learn to speak up for yourself in a way that is friendly and true to yourself.  Choose Your Friends Wisely  People who expect you to make them happy rather than being yourself can be difficult to get along with. They may blame you when things don’t go their way. These kinds of friends can bring out the people-pleasing side of you. Find friends who lift you up, not bring you down. Find friends who like you just the way you are. 

Read More
Saying No to Friends: Helping Kids Be True to Themselves 2022-05-10T14:20:14-04:00

When Things Go Boom! Helping Your Child With Their Fear of Storms

Storms are a very common childhood fear. They are loud, unpredictable, and out of human control, which can feel very scary to children. Julia Martin Burch, PhD, offers some tips for parents to support children who are afraid of storms in the Note to Readers from Booma Booma Boom by Gail Silver.  Validate Their Emotions Let your child know that it’s ok that they feel afraid of thunderstorms. Well-intentioned parents sometimes minimize a child’s fear in hopes that the child will stop worrying, but dismissing an emotion tends to have the opposite effect. The child does not feel heard or taken seriously and as a result, often has an ever bigger emotional reaction. Instead, it is helpful to say something like, “I understand that you feel very scared when you hear thunder” or “you’re really worried about a storm coming tonight.” By communicating that you understand your child is afraid, you help them feel heard, which is soothing.  By communicating that you understand your child is afraid, you help them feel heard, which is soothing.  Educate Share age-appropriate information about storms with your child. For example, in the story, the main character reminds himself that rain helps plants grow and that thunder isn’t dangerous, but is just surprising when it arrives suddenly. Consider sharing interesting storm facts, such as that thunder is the sound caused by lightning or that light travels faster than sound, so we see lightning before we hear thunder.  Teach Your Child to Self-Soothe Kids feel more confident facing fears when they know how to calm themselves down. Teach your child how to soothe themselves in scary moments.  Focusing on a particular sense and engaging in a pleasant activity using that sense is a great place to start. For example, they might look at pictures of a loved one or a fun vacation, listen to a calming song or white noise machine, smell a comforting object or scented lotion, or focus on a cool drink of water. Coach them to fully focus on the sense and how the activity makes them feel when they try it. Get curious afterward about which helped them feel most calm.  It can also be helpful to focus on one thing in the environment, such as watching the raindrops as the character does in the story. Try to make this activity game-like, for example guessing which raindrop will make it to the bottom of the pane first.  Finally, teach your child to take slow, calming breaths into their belly when they are afraid. A fun way to teach this skill is by putting a stuffed animal on your child’s belly and having them raise it up and down with their breath.  No matter which strategies you teach your child, it is best to teach them for the first time in a calm moment (i.e. not in the middle of a thunderstorm!). Practice the strategies often with your child so that they are very familiar with them and can call on them

Read More
When Things Go Boom! Helping Your Child With Their Fear of Storms 2022-03-03T16:28:47-05:00

Books to Tackle Bullying

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Magination Press has published several books about the experience of bullying and how to respond to it, as well as resources for being a leader, good citizen, and for being resilient.  Books about bullying Lulu the One and Only by Lynnette Mawhinney, PhD explores the experience of being multiracial, explains microaggression, and provides a resilient response.  Read a post about supporting your biracial child from the Author’s Note here. Hear Lulu the One and Only read aloud here. Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying by James M. Foley, DEd follows a pair of friends, Baxter and Danny, as they encounter and learn how to stand up to bullies. Read an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Other Caregivers here. Books About Helping Make Your World a Better Place  The Hero Handbook by Mark Langdon shows kids how to be the hero of their own story and discover their own hero journey. Heroes take chances, do hard things, and sometimes even change the world. To become a hero, kids can surround themselves with supportive people, boost their self-esteem and self-awareness, find their passion, and have the courage to make things happen. Read an excerpt from The Hero Handbook here. Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L. Moss, PhD, ABPP provides strategies to become a “positive bystander,” someone who stands up for themselves and others. Two of the ways to be an Upstander include having empathy for others and conflict resolution. Read an excerpt from a chapter of Stand Up! here. Resilient Reads Brilliant Bea by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich is an endearing and empowering story that demonstrates that a learning difference like dyslexia doesn’t define who you are. Despite her struggles with reading and writing, Beatrice is a natural and brilliant storyteller. With the help of a kind-hearted teacher, Beatrice uses an old-fashioned tape recorder so she can speak her words and play them back, as a technique for learning in a whole new way. With her new approach, Beatrice is able to show her classmates who she really has been all along. This book is set in EasyReading, a dyslexia-friendly font. Band Together by Chloe Douglass demonstrates how sometimes peer pressure can be a positive force. Duck loves peace and quiet! When a rowdy band asks him to join the show, he agrees, but gets nervous to perform with them. Why would they want him to play with them? A charming tale about being with friends and making new ones. Hear Band Together read aloud here. Read an interview with the author and illustrator here. Whether your child has been the target of bullying, has witnessed it, or has bullied someone else, reading books about the subject is a great way to start a conversation about this important and sensitive subject. Check out our entire collection of books about bullying. It may also be helpful to look at our collection of books about friendship, race &

Read More
Books to Tackle Bullying 2021-10-14T17:34:09-04:00