When Little Worries are Big - for Little People

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How my latest picture book, Kisses in Your Heart, can be used as a tool to help children manage their social and emotional skills.

I have worked with hundreds of children and their families over the past two decades of my professional life as a Speech Pathologist; and in this time have witnessed the rise of children who present with various levels of anxiety (for various reasons). As a mother of three young children, I have also had insight into the seemingly “little” worries that can be quite significant in children’s lives.

Managing our emotions can be a challenge regardless of age; and for little people, little worries can be quite big and overwhelming for their minds to process and their little bodies to carry.

Developing the ability to control emotions and behaviour is also a long process. Children continue to develop their social-emotional skills well into their teenage years, or even young adulthood, and strategies to help manage and regulate our emotions are going to differ according to the individual.

As parents/ carers and educators who work with children; we all want to support our children in the best way possible to make them feel safe, secure and supported, to optimise their wellbeing.

My latest children’s picture book Kisses in Your Heart is written with the intention and ultimate hope that a tool can be provided to young children, to grow in resilience, and empower them with a simple way they can start to manage emotions on their own.

A seven year old girl recently told me that during her drama lesson, she was due to go up on stage to practice her lines, and that she felt very nervous; but then she remembered she had kisses in her heart, and she felt brave enough to go up. It really humbled me, that the concept of carrying kisses in her heart, resonated with her, and gifted her with bravery to overcome nervousness.

Kisses in Your Heart was written based on a bedtime routine with my three young children; whereby I would use my hand to place kisses from my lips to their chest (heart); saying “you carry mum’s love with you everywhere you go”.

I found this process to be somewhat empoweringly magical; in that my children’s eyes would beam and ‘sparkle’, as they felt comfort and security knowing that they could access strength from the love that they carry within them.  To extend the sentiment of this routine, my children started placing their kisses in my heart - a beautiful symbolic exchange.

For little people (and big people alike), Kisses in Your Heart offers a very practical tool that can be communicated simply yet strongly.

This article was first published on http://www.justkidslit.com

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