We need to start talking to children about mental health much earlier in their development. A recent NHS survey has revealed the toll of these unprecedented times on children and young people’s mental health in England. The worrying statistics reveal a rise in mental disorders in children aged 5 to 16 years: one in six (16%) in 2020 compared to one in nine (11%) in 2017.
At Trigger, we understand that behind every statistic is a personal story and set of individual circumstances affecting parents, caregivers, grandparents, siblings, and the children for whom they care.
To help out, we have collected a list of books for every age and development stage – inspired by ‘Express Yourself’, the theme for Children’s Mental Health Week 2021.
Written by psychologists and pioneering storytellers and illustrators, these books help children express their feelings, develop coping mechanisms, and help adults start those difficult conversations earlier.
Books to help children aged 2 to 5 years
A first alphabet book to help children express their feelings.
Feelings are always complicated, but the earlier we learn to understand them, the better our emotional intelligence and self-awareness will become. The bright artwork introduces children to an emotional vocabulary alphabet, from Anxious to Zany, to help young readers understand that some feelings are positive and some are not, but that it’s okay to talk about them all!
Explores emotions through adorable child characters dressed in dinosaur costumes.
Is your little one a Happy-saurus today? Or maybe they are a Grumpy-saurus, Silly-saurus, Angry-saurus or Shy-o-saurus? Whatever they’re feeling, young readers have fun with these funny, bouncy rhymes and learn the best ways to handle each different emotion at the same time.
Helps children deal with anxious and overwhelming thoughts.
Dogs and mindfulness, what’s not to love? A boy with a puppy inside his head, named Ollie, acts as a child-friendly metaphor for anxiety. Describing the puppy’s behaviour – from curious to noisy to scared – and providing several ways to cope with those feelings, this book shows children how to calm down the puppy running inside their minds, so they can feel a sense of calm too.
Parents will love having the perfect response to their kids every time they hear…’I’m bored!’
This delightful story supports the concept that boredom can equal mental freedom, an idea that is especially important for children whose over-scheduled lives and too much screen-time rarely allow time for much-needed, beautiful boredom.
Books to help children aged 5 to 8 years
An awesome rhyming tale that normalises fear for children.
When Dad explains that even the strongest, boldest and bravest superhero can sometimes feel afraid,
and that’s perfectly fine, Maisie realizes there’s a hero in all of us. This heart-warming book teaches children that it is normal to feel afraid and how they can face their fears.
A magical mash-up of puzzles and games with the theme of feelings at its core.
Puzzles, colouring, doodling, crafts and stickers, plus amazing, eye-catching artwork from illustrator Josephine Dellow. Each page bursts with creative activities to help children think about their emotions. With each friendly tip, children will open up and find emotions become more understandable.
Books to help young adults (and adults!)
Dear Diary, Today I feel… because…
A daily activity journal full of inspirational quotes, affirmations, guided lists, and doodles for colouring in, where young adults (and adults!) can ruminate, meditate, and express themselves with mindful intention.
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