Wednesday, November 14, 2012

book picks: all about emotions

just about every week here at silly = sane, i offer up a fun picture book recommendation. something silly that both parents and kids can enjoy together. for PMS WEEK, the silly is still there but it's backed up by a fairly serious thought: how do we raise emotionally healthy kids, especially during those times when we're battling our own feelings?

with my own kids, i try to acknowledge what they're feeling – put words to it – and understand that sometimes emotions need a physical outlet. but as a parent i also have to give parameters. "i understand that you're angry. and it's ok to shout. but if you're going to shout, you need to go into another room," or "i can see that you're crying. i understand that you don't want to take a nap, but your body is telling you that you need to rest."

i find myself having to take my own advice when a hormonal whirlwind hits. it helps to put words to my own emotions for my kids, and by extension gives me a good dose of perspective. "mommy is feeling a bit red today," or "i gotta shake my crazies out!"

there are a lot of awesome picture books out there about feelings, emotions and moods. here are three of our favorites:

one of my favorite picture books for helping put words to feelings for kids is Janan Cain's The Way I Feel. the vibrant pastel illustrations hold interest, and the use of different colors and text styles underscores the feelings being explored, from happiness to jealousy. it helps to build an emotional vocabulary, so that kids can evaluate how their feelings rather than get lost in them.

another colorful favorite in our house is My Many Colored Days written by Dr. Seuss and published after his death. the book also matches colors to moods, with animals playing a role, from a fish swimming deep in a dark green sea to a bright blue bird flying high in the sky. i especially like the fact that he recognizes moods aren't always neatly outlined: "Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. / And WHAM! / I don't know Who or What I am! / But it all turns out all right, you see. / And I go back to being ... me."

a recent discovery for us was bell hooks' Grump Groan Growl. this is a poem about a child who has a "bad mood on the prowl" – a fun recurring line – that takes the form of a monster. it's less about explaining emotions to kids and more about providing a mood-packed way of understanding a complicated emotion (you know, the one where you want to bite people's heads off for no apparent reason). as i understand it, hooks wants us to accept even our moodier moods. not to try and fight a losing battle – "can't stand outside / can't hide" – which might only make things worse. but instead to "just let those feelings BE / just let them pass / just go inside/ just let it slide."

what are your favorite books for kids about feelings or emotions? how do you talk to your kids about their moods – and yours?

No comments:

Post a Comment