Discussing Mental Health With Your Kids
Complex concepts like anxiety, depression, stress, bullying, and loneliness can be too big for your kids to wrap their developing brains around. Within every nook and cranny of the mental health discussion, there are hundreds of nuances that you as a parent may not even have the answer to, so how can you even begin to discuss the topic?
Discussing mental health with kids won't be a single discussion; it'll be many small discussions over a long time. One way you can start to introduce these new ideas to your child is through books. There are many wonderful books out there to help facilitate the conversation around mental health, and when it is in book form, you can discuss it, answer questions, and spend needed bonding time together exploring this sensitive discussion.
Below are five books that you can look up, borrow from the Calgary Public Library, and talk to your kids about mental health!
When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
Sophie becomes angry after her sister takes a toy away from her. When her mother says that she must take turns, Sophie becomes very angry. What will happen to Sophie after she becomes angry?
Everybody gets angry sometimes. And for children, anger can be very upsetting. In this Caldecott-honor book, children will see what Sophie does when she gets angry. Parents, teachers, and children can talk about it. People do lots of different things when they get angry. What do you do? -- Scholastic Inc
You can borrow it from the Calgary Public Library: https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C253757
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes, Illustrated by Cary Pillo
Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better. -- American Psychological Association
You can borrow it from the Calgary Public Library: https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C1509418
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round.
Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You're named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let's smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again? -- Harper Collins Canada
You can borrow it from the Calgary Public Library: https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C134047
Big Boys Cry
It's Levi's first day at a new school, and he's scared. His father tries to comfort Levi by telling him “Big boys don't cry.” Though the father immediately understands his misstep, he can't find the words to comfort his son, and Levi leaves for school, still in need of reassurance.
Fortunately, along his walk to school, Levi sees instance after instance of grown men openly expressing their sadness and fear. His learned mantra, “Big boys don't cry,” slowly weakens, and by the time he's at school he releases a tear. Once he's there, things aren't so bad after all, and on his walk home he sees everyone he's encountered earlier, feeling better now that they expressed their emotions. Upon his arrival home, he finds his father waiting for him on their porch, tears in his eyes. His father is able to admit that he was scared and the two embrace, closer than before. -- Penguin Random House Publishing
You can borrow it from the Calgary Public Library: https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C1265390
Hector's Favorite Place
Hector loves his cozy, snuggly, safe home. It's his favorite place to be. Hector loves his home so much that he doesn't often go out, and soon, it starts to affect his friendships. Can Hector find the courage to break out of his comfort zone? -- American Psychological Association
You can borrow it from the Calgary Public Library: https://calgary.bibliocommons.com/v2/record/S95C1247336