children’s mental health

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 &

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

Helping Kids Manage Climate Change-related Anxiety

Climate change isn’t just changing the climate: It’s affecting every part of our world. To help kids understand the transformation of our planet that’s happening right now, All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change by Leslie Davenport will take them on a journey through many different branches of science, our history, our societies and cultures, and into their  own mind and feelings. As they learn about climate change, they’ll also be learning about themselves. Your child will be learning more about what they're feeling and why, and this book will give them some new tools to express their feelings so they aren’t overwhelmed. Here’s an excerpt from the Note for Parents, Caregivers, Teachers, and Counselors: As we learn more about the impacts of climate change, at times it may be frightening or sad and make us nervous or angry or more. You may experience all the feelings under the sun. These feelings are totally natural and healthy.  Parenting and teaching are challenging, but raising children on a planet that’s heating up can feel downright daunting. We want to be guides and guardians as we teach our children about the world around them, and we also feel the natural instinct to protect them from threats and suffering. Climate change poses a dilemma: How can we help our children move forward with love, wonder, and resilience while knowing that climate change will likely impose tremendous difficulties in their future?  All the Feelings Under the Sun presents realistic and age-appropriate climate science and answers the questions that kids are asking about their changing world. It also offers effective coping tools in the form of exercises, each of which supports their curiosity and helps them build emotional resilience as their climate-change awareness grows.  It can be helpful if you read the book in its entirety as well. If you share their understanding of the material and techniques presented here, you’ll be better equipped to help them with questions that might arise. Climate change is a challenging topic for most adults too, so reading the book will likely bring into focus your own complex feelings about the increasing ecological damage being done to our planet.  Reading this book provides the opportunity to address environmental concerns as a family by engaging in eco-wise conversations and projects that everyone can participate in. The most important factor in helping kids cope emotionally with the reality of climate change is to empower them to become part of the solution. Helping them focus on what they can influence and control provides them with safety and reassurance—and teaches them a valuable life skill so they’ll be able to think, reflect, and act effectively throughout their lives.  Kids also need a safe emotional place to express their vulnerability. They may voice fears or sadness about loss of wildlife, natural disasters, water or air pollution, the safety of friends and family, and even their pets. It’s not helpful to tell them there’s no reason to be upset.

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Helping Kids Manage Climate Change-related Anxiety 2021-09-29T18:10:59-04:00

Helping Children Manage Big Emotions

Experiencing emotions is a vital part of being human. Emotions give us information, motivate us and prepare us to act, and give others information about how we are feeling. However, emotions can also be difficult to handle, particularly when the intensity of the emotion grows beyond what we can easily manage, as well as when they are more painful emotions like sadness, anxiety, shame, or guilt. When painful emotions become very intense (i.e., become “big” emotions), they tend to lead to impulsive behaviors, hard to control emotional thoughts, and intense physical sensations, such as tight muscles, an upset stomach, or a headache. Learning to manage painful, big emotions and particularly, to catch and soothe those emotions before they get too big, is an important ability for children to develop. Read on for tips on how to teach your child to handle their big emotions.  Name and Normalize Big Emotions We all experience emotions and they are important and helpful - even when they are not easy to experience. Teach your child that we all experience emotions and that they are important and helpful - even when they are not easy to experience. Brainstorm together about the emotions they experience and how they might be helpful. For example, feeling a little nervous before a test motivates them to study. Feeling guilty after saying something unkind reminds them to be more gentle in the future. Crying when they are sad lets an adult know that they might need help or want to talk.  If your child is not sure how to tell the difference between emotions, link emotions to body sensations. For example, anger often shows up as heat in the body while anxiety often causes tight muscles including tense, hunched shoulders and fists or a clenched jaw. The next time your child is experiencing an emotion, gently ask where they are feeling it in their body. This, along with practice noticing and naming emotions, is a foundational step of emotion awareness and regulation. Teach Coping Skills Teach your child a few simple coping skills to soothe their big emotions. It is helpful to match the skill to the intensity of the emotion being experienced as different skills help with different levels of emotional intensity. Kids also often benefit from a visual, such as an emotional thermometer where small (i.e., less intense) emotions are on the bottom part of the thermometer, medium are in the middle, and big are on the top.   A helpful coping skill for when emotions are less intense or “small,” is to practice helpful “self-talk.” This skill can be adapted depending on the situation, but the basic approach is to acknowledge that you are having a tough time and to encourage or coach yourself as you would a friend in the situation. For example, if your child is struggling with homework they might say “this is really hard! At the same time, I’m doing my best and can ask my teacher for help tomorrow.” As another example,

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Helping Children Manage Big Emotions 2021-06-01T23:07:12-04:00