Although they might seem happy-go-lucky most of the time, small kids experience stress and anxiety just like us adults. Their personal struggles, big or small, feel real and challenging to them, so it’s important, as parents, to make sure our children feel like they have a safe space from all their worries.
Books are a fantastic way to not only provide relief from stress and anxiety, but also introduce kids to new ideas and skills that could help them in the future. Reading offers an outlet that can lay the groundwork for future healthy coping mechanisms. As kids age, their challenges will get bigger, but they’ll feel more confident handling them with the right skills.
Reading can offer a break from mental stress for children and adults alike. Nothing quite beats the feeling of escaping into a good story with a happy ending. When things feel difficult in life, positive, uplifting stories can remind us that the future's still bright.
Research from the University of Sussex reveals that reading lowered stress in adults by 68%. Dr David Lewis, a neuropsychologist and leader of the 2009 study, said, “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”
We know that reading fosters greater social awareness, empathy, and acceptance. A study on social understanding among preschoolers discovered that reading books with emotional and mental vocabulary led to greater awareness of their own thoughts and feelings.
Participants were able to identify social problems more easily and come up with ideas on how to solve them.
Whether they’re reading it alone or with you, children always benefit from books. And if you incorporate Spanish children’s books into the mix, you can help them build fluency in a second language while lowering stress and anxiety.
The stories you read to your children often have a profound impact on them. Think back to your own childhood. There are probably some books you remember quite well, and the mere thought of them can be a source of comfort to you today.
We want to help you create a safe, warm, welcoming environment that inspires your child to be themselves. No matter what they are going through, their reading time can be a chance to let worry drift away for a while.
To help foster a sense of safety and support, here are some of our favorite tips for nurturing your child’s mental health through literature.
Choosing stories with positive messages of encouragement can make your child feel better about their own struggles. Most importantly, look for stories that validate difficult emotions, like sadness, grief, and anger.
Just because your little one doesn’t voice every feeling they have doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Small children are especially prone to struggling because they don’t have the vocabulary to describe what they’re feeling.
Positive stories will show your child that it’s okay to struggle. You can be sad, angry, or worried, and it’s okay. Seeing relatable characters overcome the same feelings they’re dealing with can have a strong impact on their self-esteem.
Of course, not every story has to be a life lesson. It’s equally important to offer distraction through funny tales that let your child release their stress and worries through laughter.
A book nook doesn’t need to be big or over-the-top to have a big impression on a little reader. Gather some cushy pillows, fluffy blankets, and the favorite stuffed animal friends to create a welcoming space that invites them to relax.
You may also consider implementing some stress-relieving decorations, like a star projector and white noise machine.
Make sure that whenever it’s time to read, you put away all electronics, turn off the TV, and eliminate distractions as much as possible. Kids thrive off routine, so implementing regular reading into their schedule can be a huge source of comfort to them.
You may decide to cozy up together before naptime or after school every day. Try to stay consistent, and remind your child that they can always go to their book nook whenever they need to.
Reading to your children offers them a chance to simply sit back and absorb a great story. They’ll feel comforted by the time and attention you dedicate to sharing a book with them. If your little one likes to play along, you can have them read to the family pet or a beloved plushy.
Don’t be afraid to go all-out here, either. Laughter is the best medicine, as they say, and silly stories with funny faces, voices, and surprise tickles can be just what your child needs to break out of a low mood.
They may be young, but children are still capable of learning what it means to look after their mental health. For preschoolers, talk about the power of good thoughts, and how positivity makes their brain and heart feel good.
Elementary students may have more complex experiences, and books help spark a conversation that can get them talking about their own emotions more clearly.
The beauty of books is that they can remind children they aren’t alone, no matter how difficult their feelings may be. They validate their feelings, and show them that even though they might feel bad now, it doesn’t last forever.
A personalized Sol Book Box subscription is hands-down the simplest way to introduce more español to your child. Get handpicked Spanish & bilingual books your reader will love, every month.