This week is mental health awareness week which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. This past year has been particularly difficult and has affected the mental health of people of all ages. Children have been in and out of school and preschool as lockdowns have been imposed and lifted. Restrictions and an inability to function normally have brought to the forefront how important it is that we all look after our mental health as well as our physical health.
Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme is nature and people are being encouraged to go outside, go for bike rides or walk in the fresh air. With so many places closed we’ve been out and about in our local area much more than normal and have discovered walks, woods and trails that we didn’t know we existed. It’s definitely helped our emotional health to get out into the fresh air and it’s really enjoyable now that the warmer weather is here.
We are huge fans of using picture books to stimulate discussion and I’ve reviewed several picture books recently that can help support children’s mental health and help them talk about their emotions.
A CHILDREN’S BOOK OF MINDFULNESS ‘happy’ by Nicola Edwards & Katie Hickey: This beautifully illustrated introduction to mindfulness shows children how they can connect to the world around them. In a society full of stress and pressure it’s often difficult to find time to stop and appreciate our surroundings and the people in our lives. Teaching mindfulness can help children to slow down, relax and find ways to cope with stress.
Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and David Litchfield: This heartwarming picture book offers support and hope at a time when have all been struggling, mentally and physically, with the restrictions imposed on our daily lives. The simple rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations use weather imagery and natural settings to powerfully convey the book’s message – dark days will be replaced by more positive ones and with the support of friends we can get through difficult times.
Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts by Steve Smallman: Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts is a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book which encourages mindfulness and offers friendly advice for dealing with emotions that a child may be struggling with. It helps a reader consider ways that they can regain a positive attitude and experience feelings of calmness, something that all of us are struggling with in these strange times.
A Little Bit Worried by Ciara Gavin & Tim Warnes: This heartwarming picture book can help children to talk about and find ways to deal with worries that they may have. Weasel is a character who has a lot of worries in comparison to his friend Mole who is upbeat and positive. Their story highlights how friends can listen and support each other when they have worries and concerns.
Thank Goodness For Bob by Matthew Morgan and Gabriel Alborozo: Thank Goodness for Bob is a fantastic story for helping children to understand that worrying is normal. Worrying is something that we all do and this story shows children how they can deal with their worries so that they don’t rule their lives like they do for the main character, Max.
Do you have any suggestions for picture books that can help to support a child’s mental health?