Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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Navigating Emotional Expression: The Power of Children's Books

Parenting and Emotions: A Carousel of Colors

When we think of colours, we often associate them with emotions. Red could signify anger or love, blue could mean sadness or calm, and yellow could express happiness or caution. Just as colours have a range of interpretations in our adult-world, emotions also occupy a diverse palette in our children's worlds. Recently, I've been grappling with a somewhat sticky matter — helping my child understand and express emotions.

As parents, we're often the first port of call for our children's feelings, whether they're tumbling into our arms with joy, exploding with frustration, or slowly simmering with hurt. These emotions, which are comprehensible to us adults, can appear as an overwhelming whirlpool to children. One of the many tools I've tried to use to untangle this emotional jumble is, interestingly, children’s books.

Understanding Emotions: The Literary Way

Books are not just brilliant for feeding young imaginations or teaching new words and concepts. They also offer a safe harbour to explore difficult emotions and navigate complex situations. Characters, both lovable and loathsome, become relatable guides for our children, demonstrating how to express and manage feelings.

In our recent reading journeys, we've been delving into 'The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings' by Anna Llenas. This book has been an absolute gem - it helps children identify, direct and express their feelings using the metaphor of colours: happiness is as yellow as the sun, anger is red and vibrant, sadness sits in a blue zone while fear is depicted as black. The book not only helped my child associate emotions with colours but also helped express those emotions through a vocabulary they understand and relate to.

Another noteworthy book is 'The Feelings Book' by Todd Parr. This delightful book normalizes the spectrum of human emotions, asserting that it's perfectly okay to sometimes feel cranky, or to not know how one is feeling. What I appreciate the most about this book is how it widens the lens through which children perceive emotions - it tells them that the 'not-so-positive' emotions have a place too and are normal to experience.

The Emotional Rainbow

As parents, it's important that we approach our child's emotional growth with much patience and diligence. For children to express emotions effectively and healthily, they first need to understand and recognize those feelings. Through powerful narratives and relatable characters, children’s books can provide the perfect platform for this.

My journey with navigating my child's emotional expression is far from over, and at times can be incredibly challenging. However, the introduction of children’s literature in helping us understand and manage emotions has shown promising signs of progress. It's my hope that as fellow parents, you too can explore the exciting world of children’s books and leverage their positive impact on your child’s emotional wellbeing. Remember, just as every colour adds depth and beauty to a painting, every emotion adds richness to our children's lives, and books can be the perfect palette to paint this emotional rainbow.

Happy Reading!

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