No matter how much you might be trying to embrace social distancing with a positive attitude, these are definitely unprecedented (and super stressful) times that we’re living in. And when you’re trying to balance homeschooling your kids, work demands, and keeping your ish together all at the same time, it’s hard to put on a brave face... especially when no one really knows when life as we knew it will go back to normal. So bedtime rolls around, you might want to consider reaching for these children’s books about being calm that adults should read, too. After all, both of you need to end the day in a peaceful place.
Up until now, maybe the main things you looked for in the picture books you read to your child were a cute story and a sweet ending. But these books offer meaningful messages that are meant for parents and their kiddos to enjoy (and discuss) together. If you’ve been reticent to question how your kiddo is really feeling right now, you can use your reading time as a springboard to start an honest conversation. Just by talking about it, both of you might feel a lot better.
So whether you're on the couch or in bed together, snuggle with your little sweetie, break out a book, and help quell the chaos and usher in the calm.
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1. "The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation" by Licia Morelli
If it feels like your kiddo is a rumbling hurricane in your home right now, read The Lemonade Hurricane together. It will teach your child to be present and calm rather than creating chaos. Sometimes, slowing down and savoring the moment is just what your child needs — even if he doesn’t know it.
2. "Wilma Jean, the Worry Machine" by Julia Cook
Wilma Jean’s mind races with worry about every little thing. And thinking about it only makes it worse. In this book written by Julia Cook, Wilma Jean learns that by sharing her worries with the adults in her life, she’s able to come up with solutions. And when she can’t, she uses her “Worry Hat” to give herself time to think about her fears, and then take it off to help let her worries fade away.
3. "Anxious Charlie To the Rescue" by Terry Milne
Routines are important to kids, but in Anxious Charlie to the Rescue, your child will learn that change can sometimes be good. Author Terry Milne shows readers both big and small that it’s important to be brave, help others, and in turn, they will discover that they are helping themselves.
4. "Here and Now" by Julia Denos
From acknowledging their feelings to just appreciating this moment, your child will learn all this (and more) in Here and Now. A book about the importance of creating a connection to your world, The New York Times Book Review called it "lovely" and "profound" (you'll likely feel the same way).
5. "I Am Loved" by Nikki Giovanni
Introduce your child to the beauty of poetry with this collection of poems penned by Nikki Giovanni. Each one is all about the importance of children knowing they're loved. To reinforce the point, there’s a mirror in the book so that your child will see their reflection and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are the one who is loved.
6. "Ruby Finds A Worry" by Tom Percival
A yellow blob with angry eyebrows, Worry follows Ruby around. And as the days pass, Worry gets bigger and doesn’t allow Ruby to play or do the things that she once enjoyed. But when Ruby meets a boy who also has a Worry, she realizes that talking about your worries is a great way to help make them easier to handle.
7. "Puppy Mind" by Andrew Jordan Nance
Learning to be present is the purpose of Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance. Your little reader might relate to the young boy in this book, who finds that his mind is similar to that of a puppy, playful and never present. He learns how to breathe, become calmer, and control his mind so that he can be more present.
8. "Breathe Like A Bear" by Kira Willey
Your little bear can learn to breathe better with this sweet book that teaches mindfulness. It has 30 simple exercises that will teach the basics of breathing in order to help kids mitigate their emotions.
9. "Master of Mindfulness" by Laurie Grossman
Your child can be a superhero (of serenity, that is), when he reads Master of Mindfulness. The book has tips and tricks for kids to learn how to stay calm no matter how tough times get. Best part: the book is written for kids — by kids.
10. "Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story" by Mariam Gates
If you’re looking for new ways to make at-home PE fun, try the yoga poses in Good Morning Yoga and stretch your way to calm. Downward dog never felt so good.