Books Support Your Child’s Mental Health. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Isabell Fisher. Isabell Fisher is a former teacher and co-founder of Little Hands Learning. Little Hands Learning is an educational and eco-friendly subscription box for children aged three to six. Isabell will share why books are a great way to support your child’s mental health and how to use them effectively to start tricky conversations and help children process difficult emotions.
Books Support Your Child’s Mental Health
At Little Hands Learning, we understand the importance of stories for our children. But we also understand how daunting it is to talk about complex topics with your child. Stories can transport us to magical places away from the stresses of daily life. But they can often teach our children emotional intelligence. As a teacher and a mother, I am a huge advocate of using books to teach children about a wide range of topics. Books can offer a lovely way to start conversations about complex situations.
Books provide many benefits – here are my top five:
Life Can Be Unpredictable
Stories can help children process difficult situations they are experiencing themselves. Reading about characters going through similar situations can help them understand that they aren’t alone with those feelings and can provide them with guidance based on how others have worked through challenges.
‘Rain Before Rainbows‘ by Smriti Halls is a beautiful picture book that children will revisit as they encounter difficulties and need reminding that good times are never far away with courage and good friends.
A child can explore and learn about their own emotions through a book by observing how the characters experience them. Some superb picture books can teach children how emotions may feel, how to identify them and normalise all those emotions we feel daily. Teaching children from a young age these skills and supporting them in developing coping strategies will provide them with a solid emotional foundation which will increase self-confidence and boost self-esteem.
These books support conversations about emotional intelligence:
- ‘Sometimes: A Book of Feelings‘ by Stephanie Stansbie
- ‘The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas
- ‘The Worrysaurus‘ by Rachel Bright
- ‘My Many Coloured Days‘ by Dr Seuss
- ‘The Problem with Problems‘ by Rachel Rooney
In 2008, the National Literacy Trust found that children who enjoy reading and writing are three times more likely to have better mental health than children who do not enjoy literacy.
Books enable children to see the world through other people’s eyes and better understand the world around them. They can transport our children into different characters, enabling them to understand how that character feels. Books allow us to experience a different gender, ethnicity, culture, and age. This plays an essential role in developing understanding and empathy for others.
Books are an excellent way to escape from a stressful day; the same is true for our children. After a full-on day at school or nursery, there is nothing more soothing than curling up with a loved one to read a good book.
A study commissioned by Galaxy chocolate through The University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress more effectively than listening to music, going for a walk or having a cup of tea. So, by reading with your child daily, you are reducing any possible anxiety your child may be experiencing and working on your mental health.
A book doesn’t need to be focused on emotions for it to benefit a child’s mental health. A book full of silliness, which has a child laughing with someone they love, is sometimes exactly what they need after a long day. ‘The Pirates are Coming‘ by John Condon is a firm bedtime favourite with my son after a tough day.
Books broaden and grow a child’s vocabulary, enabling them to communicate better how they feel. ‘The Journal of Developmental and Behaviour Paediatrics‘ by Jessica Logan A. R. PhD found that if you read one story a day to your child, they will have heard 290,000 more words than a peer who isn’t read. Read five stories a day, and your child will have heard 1.4 million words more than a peer who isn’t read to regularly.
Therefore, the more you read and talk to your children, the better equipped they will be to express through speech or writing how they are feeling.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Isabell Fisher is co-founder of Little Hands Learning, an educational and eco-friendly subscription box for children aged three to six. Every month your child will receive an exciting gift in the post containing a beautiful picture book and everything needed for four engaging and fun activities.
The play-based activities are handcrafted and designed by teachers to focus on critical areas of the National Curriculum. The curated books and activities help nurture healthy minds and encourage early literacy skills, giving children the best start in their education. www.littlehandslearning.co.uk