Make reading time all the more beneficial by sharing these calming books with your kids.
Nothing seems to calm kids down quite like cuddling together and sharing a good book.
Reading aloud to children has a number of advantages, from helping kids improve their language skills to deepening the parent-child bond. Perhaps most importantly, reading is one of the most relaxing activities and has been shown to be highly effective in reducing stress.
Right now, the world is hectic and many kids are struggling to cope with new lifestyle changes, just as you might be as a parent. With stress at an all-time high, spending quiet time together and reading is more important than ever before.
To give your family reading time an extra edge against icky feelings like anxiety or fear, we’ve found 8 different books to help your kids better understand their emotions during this time.
Books to Comfort and Reassure Anxious or Scared Kids
1. Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
Ruby Finds a Worry is an easy-to-understand story for young kids who may not understand what exactly worry is or what to do with it.
This book focuses on Ruby, a happy and curious girl who finds a Worry, which is symbolized as a grumpy little yellow creature. Ruby learns that the more she thinks about her Worry, the bigger it gets, and with the help of a friend, she also finds out that everyone can have a Worry. In the end, Ruby learns how to get rid of her Worry once and for all.
2. The WorryWoo Monsters series by Andi Green
The WorryWoo Monsters series is a fantastic collection of books that covers a broad range of different emotions. Don’t Feed the WorryBug follows Wince, an adorable creature with a big worry habit. This story is simple but a wonderful way to start a conversation about worry and anxiety. The Very Frustrated Monster is another great choice for kids who are struggling with things not quite going their way.
As a bonus, if your kids feel charmed by these new characters, you can find plushies of them on Amazon.
Books to Bring Hope When Kids Feel Overwhelmed or Sad
3. After the Fall by Dan Santat
The story of Humpty Dumpty is a classic, but not quite a tale of hope or perseverance—until now.
After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again is a charming original story by Dan Santat that reveals Humpty Dumpty’s journey after his fall. It follows him as he learns to face his new fear of heights and get his courage back. The quote, “Life begins when you get back up,” is featured on the back cover and perfectly sums up the purpose of this book.
4. Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana
Being away from friends is really hard for kids and can lead to worry about how to feel when they see their friends again.
Life Without Nico is a story about Maia, a young girl who is separated from her best friend Nico when his family moves for a few months. The story covers Maia’s sadness and uncertainty, as well as her understanding of her emotions when Nico returns. Maia discovers the power of friendship and how there are no limits to how many people she can love.
Books to Encourage Empathy and Compassion in Kids
5. Most People by Michael Leannah
Your kids may be watching the news with you during this time, and that can lead to them wondering why people or things in the world seem so bad.
Most People is a wonderful book that reminds kids that there’s a lot of good in our world and shows the importance of compassion for others. It’s also useful for helping kids recognize how kind actions for others have a big impact.
6. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Social distancing has led many kids to experience feelings of loss, separation anxiety, and sadness over not being able to see their friends and family.
The Invisible String is a bestselling children’s book that paints a beautiful picture of the idea that we’re connected to our loved ones by a magical string. The main message of this book centers on coping with loneliness and loss but remains open and versatile in how you can apply those ideas to what’s happening in your child’s life.
Books to Lighten the Mood by Making Your Kids Smile
7. Sam Wu Is Not Afraid series by Katie & Kevin Tsang
The Sam Wu Is Not Afraid series is a collection of books that are equally funny as they are helpful for understanding emotions like fear.
Sam Wu is lovingly referred to as the “bravest scaredy-cat in the world,” and each of his adventures provides plenty of laughs while reinforcing positive ideas about confidence, courage, and bravery. Some of them can even apply to real-life fears, like in Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of the Dark.
8. Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
Anxiety, fear, and even sadness often present themselves as grumpiness in kids, especially when they have trouble understanding what they’re feeling.
The Grumpy Monkey is about Jim, a chimpanzee who isn’t having a very good day. This amusing story follows Jim as he processes his emotions and learns an important lesson about how it’s ok to have an off day. The book reinforces the important idea that kids are entitled to whatever they’re feeling, but that they need to be careful of how acting out can hurt the feelings of others as well.
Doing a little reading of your own can help you provide more support for your kids during this time.
Parents and kids are both feeling a lot of mixed emotions right now with school being canceled and normal social events being put on hold. And as a parent, there are few things as troubling as seeing our kids feeling worried, afraid, or upset about things out of our control.
If you’re finding that your kids really seem to be struggling with these new changes, consider searching on Amazon and Google for resources to help you learn how to support them. You can also find some book references here.
Not only can you discover new tools for comforting your kids, but you’ll also find new ways to ease your own anxiety and worry.