We’re all feeling some big emotions right now, as the whole world battles the COVID-19 virus. Adults and children alike are feeling uncertain, anxious, lonely and scared. This is the time to practice self-care skills. Here are some tips to help your child develop self-care skills to recognize and manage their emotions: As parents and caregivers, we can help kids develop strong self-care skills to help them weather adversity and cheer themselves on. Magination Press’s Fantastic You by Danielle Dufayet shows young readers how to develop a positive and nurturing relationship with themselves. In the note to parents and caregivers, Dr. Julia Martin Burch offers strategies to help children build self-care skills that mirror what the kids in Fantastic You do. Identifying Emotions Learning to notice, identify, and soothe their own emotions begins in childhood, but your child will continue to develop these skills throughout their lives. Emotions can be overwhelming to all of us. Young children in particular can struggle to understand surges in emotion and physical sensations that go with them, like butterflies in their tummies or feeling shaky. They rely on you to help them figure out what the feelings mean and to name them. Get curious with your child about what they are feeling. You can ask them what is happening inside their body and if they can name the emotion they are feeling. You can also support them by describing what you see and guessing what the emotion might be that they are feeling. “I see that your face is red and your hands are in fists. When I do those actions, I’m often feeling angry. Do you think that’s how you are feeling?” Self-validation Along with learning to recognize and identify emotions, it’s important for children to learn that emotions aren’t right or wrong, they just are. No matter how big or painful an emotion is, it is a safe and acceptable experience. You can help children by noticing and validating their emotions. For example, you could say, “It's hard that we all have to stay home to beat the virus. That means you can't see your friends. I can see why you are feeling sad.” When children learn to validate their own feelings, it allows them to reduce the intensity of an emotion they are feeling in the moment and builds confidence in their ability to manage their emotions. Self-soothing Help your child discover which activities or experiences help them calm down or feel better. What helps a child feel better will depend on the situation and on the child’s preferences, so explore a lot of different activities. Some kids will find that soothing their senses with music, a hot bath, looking at clouds, or snuggling with a favorite lovey might help. Others might find a project like building a fort or putting on a puppet show is a good distraction. Finding out what helps you self-soothe is an important skill that’s fun to develop. Help your child collect some of theirRead More
...do you feel troubled and perhaps a bit funny, like butterflies are fluttering around in your tummy? Is your heart beating fast like it's in a big hurry? If your answer is yes, you might have a worry. If you are feeling worried or anxious, this story can help you understand your feelings AND show you ways to feel better! Author Leah Bowen reads A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers and provides tips for creating a "Feel Better Box."Read More
Help Your Little Worrier Stay Calm
A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers helps children understand what worries are and what to do when they are feeling worried. From verses that demonstrate body awareness to coping strategies for kids, A Feel Better Book is not only enjoyable for children to read, but also helpful for both children and caregivers. To learn more about how you can help your child cope with worries, check out our article Stress Management Exercises for Anxious Children.
When you are a little kid, everything is new. The unknown can be unsettling, making changes and transitions challenging. As the parent of a toddler or preschooler, helping your child feel safe and confident involves providing consistency and routine when you can, and helping your child understand upcoming events and changes in their lives. Sharing a book is a great way to help your toddler or preschooler calm the anxiety or tension that comes with change or transitions. Wordless books are especially good for this age group. By talking about the pictures with your child, you can create a story together that your child can relate to. Sleepy Time and Baby Belly by Patricia Martin are wordless board books from Magination Press that are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. They explore two common experiences for young children: bedtime and the impending arrival of a new sibling. Getting ready for bed can be a soothing routine, but it can be stressful, too. Everyone is tired at the end of the day, sometimes making the steps more challenging. By keeping to a routine, your little one knows what to expect and can feel some control over the situation. Reading Sleepy Time with your child provides you and your child the opportunity to talk about your family’s own bedtime routine, and can set the stage for your child’s bedtime process. Baby Belly chronicles a young child’s observation that his mom’s tummy is getting bigger and bigger. The child’s curious and sometimes skeptical expression conveys his wonder and speculation about the changes in his mom and his life. Highlighting Mom’s gradually growing tummy, the pictures show the family preparing for and welcoming a new baby. Talking about this process, and how the child and mom might be feeling, by reading Baby Belly is an excellent way to introduce a young child to the idea of a new sibling. Don’t be thrown by wordless books. They provide you with the freedom to tailor the story to your child’s experiences, interests, and attention span. By talking about the pictures with your child, and asking questions and listening to your child’s answers, you can personalize the story! Here are some tips to make your wordless book experience successful: Talk about the pictures. Describe what is happening in the pictures. Ask your child what they see. Make connections to your child’s experiences. Point out similarities: “Look! He has a toy elephant too!” “What kinds of toys do you like to play with in the bathtub?” Explore feelings. Encourage your child to look carefully at the character’s expressions and the pictures in general. Ask your child how she thinks a character feels. Name different feelings. Read it again. Repetition is soothing and builds familiarity and vocabulary. Let your child read the story. After you’ve shared a wordless book a few times with your child, ask your child to read it to you. Let them tell the story as they see it. Follow their lead. If your child wants to lingerRead More