Yesterday’s events in Boston reminded me just how hard my own children’s questions can be. Being a parent is hard, and every parent needs tools and tricks to help get through the little bumps or the big unthinkable events that take over the media for weeks. Picture books are one of my favorite parenting tools. No matter what is going on with my kids, books are one of our first ways to prepare and comfort.
Children crave security, and reading books about the issues they are facing gives them a place to test out what they feel about it, shows how the characters dealt with the same issue, and opens up a safe place to talk to their parents about it.
Many kids clam up when asked to share their feelings. Using books as a vehicle to talk about the issue, without making it too personal, is a great choice for kids afraid to open up.
When you read books like this to your child, find a quiet time with no distractions. You may simply read the book and not talk afterward, but you may also end up in a lengthy discussion about the issues your family is facing. Make sure you have the time to spend talking through and answering any questions your child may have after reading it.
Here are some of my favorite books for different issues you may find useful.
Winter’s Tail by Juliana Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff
Owen & Mzee by Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Dr. Paula Kahumbu
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes
Spaghetti in A Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are by Maria Dismondy
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson
Jim’s Dog Muffins by Miriam Cohen
Edwardo the Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World by John Burningham
Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Pink Tiara Cookies For Three by Maria Dismondy
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Goodbye House by Frank Asch
A Kiss Goodbye by Audrey Penn
Baby on the Way by William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN and Christie Watts Kelly
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson
Have you used picture books as an icebreaker for a tough issue? Swing by Scholastic Parent’s Facebook page or tweet Allison McDonald @noflashcards and tell us how it helped your family.