Bookshelf: Life Guides
Help little ones through the bumps with our pick of self-help books for kids
Life is complicated whether you’re three or 30. As parents, we are expected to guide our children through difficult or changing times. But how do you explain the concept of grief and bereavement? How can you let your little one know it’s OK to be sad or angry, and teach them how to deal with their emotions? And what’s the best way to let them understand that they’re going to be a big brother or sister? As adults, we often don’t have the right words but, thankfully, there are hundreds of books out there with the right language and sensitive illustrations to guide them through, with many taking a humorous approach to life’s challenges. Here are our favourites.
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Potty Training: LD can recite this no-nonsense potty training book from memory. Children love love the fact that all living things do different sorts of poo, with different colours, smells or sizes. Funny and fabulously illustrated, it encourages children to be comfortable with bodily functions.
Boys’ Emotions: A simple and stylishly illustrated book that lets boys in particular know it’s OK to show emotion. Even superheroes can feel a little down at times, but it’s not a sign of weakness – they’re still tough! An effective route to helping boys manage their feelings.
New Sibling: A loving, reassuring and positive approach to explaining the concept of a new baby. In simple language (with a few Americanisms), this lays out all the good things about being an older sibling (there is also I’m A Big Brother), and reminds the older child they are as special as ever.
School: Author-illustrator Stephanie Blake has created a lovable character in Simon the Super Rabbit, whose cautious approach to something new will feel familiar for parents and children alike. Funny, bright and bold, this is a great book to help ease those first-day jitters.
Divorce: This award-winning picture book is low-key and gently reassuring for young children. The focus is on what is gained rather than lost when parents divorce, helping to embrace difficult change openly and optimistically. The book finishes by reminding the child that whichever home he is in, his parents love him very much.
Anxiety: Oh, how we wish we’d had this book when we were younger. Jenny’s bag of worries goes everywhere with her, but one day she decides they will have to go, with a little help. A brilliant book to help children dealing with hidden (and not so hidden) anxieties. It encourages them to talk and find solutions, and reassures them that Mum/Dad/Granny are there to help.
Anger: One in a series of books (I Feel Frightened/Jealous/Sad), this book gives examples of why and how people get angry and also how to deal with that anger, in simple language that children can understand.
Hospital: A great way to reassure young people about hospital, with an honest explanation of what it’s all about. This book deals with the situation in an amusing and friendly way, with delightful illustrations that will reassure all children (and parents).
Death/loss: This is not a morbid book, and the weighty themes of love and loss are dealt with with an extraordinary lightness of touch. In simple words paired with his beautifully familiar illustrations, Jeffers conveys the most potent messages and shows us, ultimately, that there is always hope.
The last of our Christmas gift guides! And there's something extra special about Christmas when there's a baby in the family, even if they don't know quite what's going on (and, let's face it, you're so tired, neither do you...). Here's our gorgeous selection of gifts, featuring small and unique Brands We Love so you can support the independents as much as we do.
Festive gift inspo for the little lords in your life. Whatever they're into, we think we've found something to bring a smile to their face this Christmas morning. Focusing on classic, quality gifts that will inspire curiosity and encourage creativity, these should keep them busy beyond Boxing Day.
Festive gift inspo for the little ladies
We love to review toys for Busy Bird - but sometimes the best review is just watching a child open the toy and play with it, that way you get their honest reaction. And this is just what happened when we were asked to be part of an 'unboxing' for goodtoknow.co.uk recently. Let's just say Wet Head is no fun when it's Mummy's head getting wet...