Supporting our children’s mental and emotional health remains a constant focus for parents, as we navigate major stressors such as isolation from friends, disruptions to the school routine, and fears or losses relating to COVID-19.
As parents, we don’t always have the answers at a time like this. We most likely are having to work to maintain our own emotional balance too.
Having age-appropriate books for your kids can help, when they need to access coping tools and better understand their big emotions.
From board books and picture books to workbooks and mindful exercises, these books, in the slideshow below, will help support kids’ mental wellness.
(Note: If you’re on a mobile device, click on the slideshow below to see pictures of the items, and see descriptions below the slideshow.)
All product choices are made independently by our editors. HuffPost Canada may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.
“The Barnabus Project,” by Terry Fan, Eric Fan and Devin Fan ― $18
A wonderfully woven tale peppered with charming illustrations, “The Barnabus Project” follows its tiny protagonist ― who is half-elephant, half-mouse ― as he discovers self love is much more worthwhile than the pursuit of perfection. This captivating parable sends empowering messages of following your dreams and being true to yourself. Ages 5-9 Buy it at Chapters-Indigo.
“I Like Me And I Love Me: A Self Love Activity Book,” by Abby Zaitly ― $12
This Self Love activity book is a companion to Abby Zaitly’s storybook “I Like Me And I Love Me.” It engages children with word searches, colouring pages, and other familiar activities while gently incorporating mantras like “I love being different” and “I am enough” throughout. Helps kids focus on seeing themselves in a positive light. Ages 5-9 Buy it at Crying Out Loud.
“I am Peace,” by Susan Verde ― $19
A sweet and poetic tale that opens with the words, “There are times when I worry about what might happen next and what happened before.” The book goes on to address anxiety and worry in a younger child-friendly way. It shows how to identify and communicate feelings and explains how to manage them with mindful techniques like breath work, grounding oneself in nature and showing empathy to others. Ages 4+ Buy it at Mastermind Toys.
“The Invisible String Workbook,” by Patrice Karst ― $17
This workbook is a companion to The Invisible String, a book about overcoming anxiety around being separated from parents and loved ones. Designed to be explored with a caregiver, the book celebrates connection and love through arts and crafts and other thoughtful activities. “I Wish Everyone Understood” features a page of blank heart shapes that can be filled in with things that are hard to say, and then given to a loved one or simple acknowledged by your child. This workbook is co-authored by a licensed therapist and provides helpful tools to manage loneliness, trauma, loss and separation among other challenges our children might be facing. Ages 4+ Buy it at Amazon.ca.
“The Good Egg,” by Jory John ― $18
This charming tale of the “Good Egg” entertains and delights while conveying valuable messages about the importance of self care. “For once, I found time for me… Little by little, the cracks in my shell started to heal. My head no longer felt scrambled” states our hero, after a relatable journey of self discovery. The book addresses the pressures of pursuing perfection and celebrates finding balance and bringing joy and silliness into your life. Ages 3-5 Buy it at Chapers-Indigo.
“I Like Myself,” by Karen Beaumont ― $12
This adorable board book is perfect for reading to younger children (There’s another read-alone version for older kids). Important takeaways like “Even when I look a mess, I still don’t like me any less” ― and other gentle reminders that it’s what’s inside that counts ― are joyfully explained by the story’s self confident heroine. Ages 4-12 Buy it at Livres Babar Books.
“The Grateful Book,” by Angela Kohler ― $15
This whimsically illustrated book demonstrates how simple it is to be grateful as we are led through the author’s musings; “I see falling leaves, and I am grateful for colours.” Focusing on gratitude, particularly during difficult times can help shift the focus away from a negative mental state, and this book does so in an accessible way that children will easily identify with. Ages 4+ Buy it at Chapters-Indigo.
“Breathe Like a Bear: 30 mindful moments for kids to feel calm and focused any time, anywhere,” by Kira Willey ― $20
An activity book full of fun breath work and mindfulness exercises to help calm and focus your child. Younger children will enjoy reading it and doing the activities with a grown-up, while older children will be able to try these suggestions on their own. Ages 4+ Buy it at McNally Robinson.
“I Am Here - My Mindful Morning,” by Lizelle Marpa Tucci ― $12
Young readers can follow the narrator through her mindful morning routine, and learn how to connect with their own breath: “I pause. I place my hand on my heart. I take a deep breath in. I breathe out - nice and slow.” A gentle guide to accessible mindfulness tools that children will easily be able to learn and use as needed. Ages 3-7 Buy it at Lizellemarpatucci.com.
“Coping Skills For Kids Workbook,” by Janine Halloran ― $34.50
An innovative workbook writing by a licensed Mental Health Counsellor, it includes charts to track stress, colouring pages to identify where we feel emotions in the body, and activity suggestions for maintaining emotional wellness. An inspiring tool for kids who can read and write to use on their own or for younger children to work through with a grown-up. Ages 4-12 Buy it at Book Warehouse.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada and has been updated.