Feelings and emotions often seem daunting to talk about with our children - will the conversation be awkward, will I explain it the right way, will they understand it? But what if I told you there was a way for you to spend time connecting with your child, engage in powerful conversations and help them understand the world inside and around them? The answer: a simple trip to the library.
- Building Relationships
A book is more than just the words and pictures on a piece of paper. A book is a trip to the library or the bookstore, a conversation to pick out the book, quality time spent sitting with your child, fostering a sense of imagination and creativity. A book is a memory with you that your child will always remember. A book is a moment spent with your child that tells them “you are important to me, you matter, I love you”.
- Teach Diversity
Reading a book allows your child to jump into a whole new world. This world expands beyond your home and your neighborhood; a book can take your child to the other side of the planet, where children just like them are living a life completely different from what your child knows. Not only can a book transport your child to a place miles away, it can help your child learn about things that are happening in your own backyard. Books can teach your child about other cultures and social justice issues that their own classmates might be experiencing. Reading can open a child’s eyes to worlds other than their own, increasing their understanding of inclusion and the importance of diversity.
- Facilitate Conversation
When it comes to talking about heavy topics with people we love, it can feel nerve-wracking to know where to even begin. Divorce, death and grief, moving, illness, or even the anxiety of starting school - there is a book for that. A story about someone other than you, your child, your family can help displace some of the weight and ease into the conversation. You are no longer talking about something extremely personal, it is a simple story about something happening in someone else’s life. After reading the book, the situation is now normalized for your child - they now see that these things happen to more than just them - and it is easier for your child to talk about their feelings surrounding the situation, whether they speak about it in their own perspective or displace their feelings onto the characters in the story.
- Identify Emotions
Even as adults, when big emotions are stirred up within us, it can be hard to know what exactly the emotion is and how to deal with it. Sometimes our bodies feel dysregulated and our minds feel like they're spinning and we do things that we can't imagine ever doing - because our emotions take over. Reading books can help children make a connection between the feelings in their bodies and mind with emotions. Early emotional identification is vital to pave the way for a future of healthy relationships for both your child and your family.
If you have a favorite book to read with your child or have a question about how bibliotherapy could help your child, leave a comment below!
Books for Identifying Emotions
In My Heart by Jo Witek
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Brittany Winn Lee
Books for Teaching Diversity
The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson
Same, Same, but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Books for Empowerment
I am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown and Jason “Rachel” Brown
You Matter by Christian Robinson
I am Enough by Grace Byers