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We all make mistakes, feel unsure and worry from time to time. As adults, we often have strategies that help us feel calm – it might be a cuppa and our favourite tv show, reading a book in bed, exercise or spending time outdoors.

Children are excellent at doing things that are fun; playful and exciting activities that fill them with joy. But, do they have a bank of pastimes that help them feel calm in the same way that adults might? Can we teach them to use books as a calming technique when they are feeling nervous? We think so, yes!

From moving house, SATs, trying a new food or even attempting the highest monkey bars at the park – children are susceptible to nerves and anxiety. This can be caused by life’s bigger challenges, but also by the smaller ones too.

What books can we introduce to our classes that 1. introduce new ways to stay calm and 2. show children that it is ok (and indeed, very normal) to feel nervous from time to time.

Let’s have a look…

There’s a Monster in Your Book a book by Tom Fletcher

Age Range: EYFS

A wonderful way to engage young children in small, mindful movements. From tracing to jiggling, popping to blowing – this interactive book harnesses the power of movement. A delight to read, it is sure to reset any worried minds.

Mouse’s Wood: A Year in Nature by Alice Melvin

Age Range: EYFS/KS1

A stunningly illustrated story, with a level a detail in the illustrations that we have seldom seen repeated elsewhere. Leafing through the pages of this beautiful book is a calming activity all on it’s own. It’s speaks of the simplicity of nature, inspiring us to get outdoors, take a walk in the woods and discover what is out there. Read this in the playground on a sunny day for maximum nerve-calming impact.

The Most Magnificent Thing a book by Ashley Spires

Age Range: EYFS/KS1

A great example of how mistakes are part of learning. This very relatable story will delight younger readers and help to quash any nerves about doing something wrong.

Oi Dog by Kes and Claire Gray

Age Range: 0 – 99! A fun book for any age

They say laughter is the best medicine, right? We couldn’t agree more. This story is bound to get your class giggling with it’s humorous rhymes and silly imagery – the perfect antidote to shake away the jitters.

Test Trouble a book by Serena Patel

Age Range: KS2

The perfect companion to children sitting their SATs. Relatable, funny and endearing, this book will support and validate how your class are feeling.

Ella on the Outside a book by Cath Howe

Age Range: KS2

This sweet story about Ella will resonate with children feeling the pressures of friendships in KS2. It doesn’t immediately strike you as a book about calming nerves, but what we love about it is that Ella makes lots of mistakes on her journey to do the right thing – something that we think children will relate to easily.

The Kingdom Over the Sea by Zohra Nabi and Tom Clohosy Cole

Age Range: KS2

For many of us, escapism is a brilliant tool for calming a busy mind. Whether it be TV, cinema or in a great book – travelling miles away to another world can be a powerful way to reset, retreat and relax. For children, we think this story delivers exactly that feeling. A vivid and imaginative world filled with adventure – your class will fall in love with it!

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