Reading picture books to young children is an excellent way to help them practice managing difficult feelings. Because young children have a low tolerance for painful feelings and naturally work hard to place feelings outside themselves (think tantrums), books can help children see themselves from a little bit of a distance. This makes the feelings less painful and easier to bear. Toddlers and children learn to understand themselves better, feel comforted and understood, and their attachment is strengthened by reading about characters like them with their responsive parent.
Three books I like to recommend for parents of young children with sleep difficulties are: Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown which helps the younger child let go of their exciting day bit by bit, Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems which shows kids someone just like them who doesn’t want to end the day but whose sleepiness gets the best of them, and Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks which shows a young tiger cub who is afraid of the dark and the separation it brings who is comforted by his reassuring mother.
Three books I recommend to parents who wish to help their children recognize and learn to manage anger are When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang which shows a girl struggling with her jealous feelings of sibling rivalry, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak which shows a young boy create a fantasy world which he controls after he experiences a parental limit, and Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail which shows how when young Katy feels her rage she just does not feel like herself at all.
Separation anxiety can be talked about and young children can be reassured by reading Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, and The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.
In therapy with parents, I help you discover the books that correspond to what your child is feeling. I will assist you in strengthening your bond, show you new ways to have fun with your child, and give you tools to assist your child in becoming more comfortable with painful emotional or developmental experiences.