We’re adding some colour and sunshine to this ‘Blue Monday’ by sharing some of our favourite feel-good books for children. Because, while it’s important to focus on the trickier topics of mental health and well-being to help support children’s emotional learning journey…it is also vital that we celebrate all the good bits too.
If we can help children to embrace and recognise happiness, then we are confident that they will grow up with a strong sense of self and an ability to create happiness on their own. These tips might sound obvious, but showing children some easy ways to support their own happiness can be really powerful:
Look for the small things
There’s a little bit of joy in every day. Encourage children to look around and think about small moments that make them feel good – it could be being chosen to do a special job in class, playing with a friend at break time or eating something yummy for lunch. Can your class make a happiness list of all the great things that have happened that day?
Find Your Happy by Emily Coxhead – An exploration in to all the feelings, but importantly, lots of practical ideas on how to find happiness and joy. Fun and vibrant illustrations will engage all ages.
Many schools will have tried and tested methods for resetting and calming when children feel a little wobbly. Talk to your class about what these are; for example, deep breaths, counting to 10, reading, using a fidget toy. Encourage each child to think about what helps them to calm down in moments of stress.
The Extraordinary Book That Makes You Feel Happy – completely jam packed with clever ideas to help children re-set. We love this non-fiction option.
The best medicine! Share a joke, a funny video or read an amusing story.
Oi Frog by Kes Gray – the children will be in fits of giggles at this hilarious tale of a frog who wants to change the rhyming rules. There are a few books in this series, all equally brilliant.
Movement and the outdoors
Feeling particularly low on this ‘blue’ January Monday? Get outside and breath in the fresh air. Even a small dance break in class can help to get endorphins flowing!
Slow Down: Bring Calm to a Busy World by Rachel Williams – a beautiful book that includes 50 stories about the wonder of nature. A treat for the eyes! Plus, it includes some lovely mindfulness activities at the back.
Knowing you are supported and accepted has a huge influence on our happiness, and the same applies to children. Talk about what brings the children together; their wonderful similarities and their fascinating differences. Do the class feel connected, do they talk to each other outside of their friendship groups? We love ‘talk partners’ and other similar classroom strategies, as a way of getting children talking.
All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold – a simple but effective tale about cultural diversity. This book has beautiful illustrations and will help to represent all the brilliant characters in your class.
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We believe in a future where all children have the tools, skills and knowledge they need to practise life-long wellbeing, making healthier choices for themselves and others.