Magination Press’s new series of activity books, The Find Out Files, help kids explore emotions and relationships. Magination Press interviewed author and parenting expert, Isabelle Filliozat, about creating My Fears, one of the books in The Find Out Files. Magination Press: You chose a meerkat as the animal guide for My Fears. Why is a meerkat well-suited to the topic of fear? Isabelle Filliozat: Meerkats are called the sentinels of the desert. They have this behavior of looking around and paying attention to any movement, this quick reaction. That’s why I choose them to illustrate the “protection from danger” system. Fear being the primary emotion of that system. MP: You explain how fear is a physical reaction that protects us from danger, and so sometimes fear is a good thing. Why is it important for people to learn to tell the difference between real dangers and perceived ones? IF: If it is a real danger, fear is useful. It can save us. Fear helps us perceive danger, see a movement, identify a threat. It gives us the energy to step aside, run, escape. But if it is not a real danger, there’s no use to stress our body like that ! Shivering in front of a mouse, or a dead rat, panicking on a plane or choking in an elevator doesn’t bring us any positive benefit. But all those irrational fears come from our story and if we listen to them, and analyse their roots, they help us cure our inner-self. MP: How did you decide which common fears (swimming, monsters/nightmares, or meeting new people) to feature in the book? IF: I wanted to feature a physical fear, a mental fear, and a social fear. Then you have tools for about any fear. MP: Sometimes, when people are afraid, they get angry. Why is that? IF: Because it is the same structure in the brain that sends the order for fear or anger: the amygdala. Both emotions ensure protection. When there is a threat, the amygdala triggers the stress reaction. Depending on the circumstances, we have three possibilities: fight, flight, freeze. So facing a danger, someone may display a fighting behavior. Also, if you were taught as a child that you shouldn’t be afraid, that boys don’t fear, you fear your fears! You don’t want to surrender to fear, don’t want to be seen as a coward… so you display aggressive behavior. Or if you were beaten or harshly scolded when you were afraid, then feeling fear is so stressful, so you attack! Some people like scary movies or books. Why do you think that is? Some people like taking physical risks, to climb cliffs, to drive their motorcycle fast, to jump from high bridges, to surf big waves. Stress, fear—it’s adrenaline. It’s sensations. It’s excitement. It’s feeling alive! But we don’t all dare take risks! Almost all of us like suspense in movies or books, we identify with the characters, we feel sensations, quiver, thrill, our heart beatsRead More
Serious illness in a family can cause many emotions like worry, fear, or sadness. Whether a child is experiencing the illness or a loved one is ill, children need the opportunity to talk about their feelings. The Gift of Gerbert's Feathers explores how a family supports young Gerbert, as he experiences a serious illness, and how Gerbert finds a way for his family to remember him when he's gone. Hear the authors read The Gift of Gerbert's Feathers aloud and see three activities related to feathers. Read two posts from the authors about helping siblings cope with grief and helping children with serious illness talk about their feelings. Read the Note to Parents and Caregivers from The Gift of Gerbert's Feathers, the Kids' Reading Guide, and access a feather coloring sheet.Read More
Facing Anxiety Through Story.
Once upon a time, there lived a princess named Jacqueline. The royal knights protected her from danger — even if there wasn’t any!
When Jacqueline climbs the beanstalk, she meets a giant who is just as afraid of the knights. In this modern retelling of a classic fairy tale, Jacqueline shows everyone that there’s nothing to be afraid of after all.
Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with worry-busting strategies and calming tools.
It's a common but vicious cycle. When a child is scared to use the bathroom, they hold their poop in and subsequently become constipated, so it hurts when it finally does come out. The pain creates fear so they hold it again, and the cycle is repeated over and over. In their Note to Parents and Caregivers, A Feel Better Book for Little Poopers authors, Holly Brochmann and Leah Bowen, provide encouragement and tips for children who struggle with bowel movements. Here's an excerpt: The fear is real Children of potty-training age have been wearing a diaper since the very moment they were born. The transition to sitting on a cold, hard chair in a position that is often not advantageous for the release of the bowels can be not only scary, but physically difficult. When they do go, it feels strange to them, and it becomes and experience they are not eager to repeat. The fear can be even more intense for older children who have had painful movements in the past. You don't want to go in the potty like you should— you're worried and scared that it won't feel good. As a caregiver, it is important to provide comfort, compassion, and patience during this learning process and understand that it might take longer than advertised with potty training. It is also very helpful to acknowledge what they are going through, but provide assurance that it will get better. For example you can say, "You're new at this and it just takes time." Or "I know it hurt last time and you're scared it's going to hurt again, but together we will practice some new things to try that can help." The situation impacts your child's life and your family's When your child is afraid of having bowel movements, avoids them by holding it in, and then finally has to have one which ends up being painful, it validates their fears. In between these avoided bowel movements, the child becomes very uncomfortable and grouchy—in some cases they miss out on playtime, family outings, or school activities. But there really isn't a way to force your child to go. This is extremely frustrating for caregivers, and it often leads to putting pressure on your child to go. But pressuring your child or shaming them for feeling scared will only intensify the fear, making matters worse. Instead, you can reflect their feelings with gentle statements such as, "You're worried it will hurt, but it doesn't feel good holding it in either." Or "Listen to your body, and when you're ready to give it a try, I'll be here with you." Listening to your body can help There can be an internal struggle when the child knows they need to go to the bathroom and sit and try, but their fear stops them. This is why it helps to talk to the child about listening to your body's signals, and how, by paying attention, you can give your body what it needsRead More