Mental illness and, more importantly, mental health are extremely important to me. As a mom living with bipolar disorder whose husband was also recently diagnosed with the disease, it’s also important to me to teach my kids about mental health. Books for kids about mental health help make this a part of our every day routine, and I incorporate it into our little talks.
“Mommy is feeling a little stressed right now, so let’s do a calm activity, please.”
“Daddy doesn’t feel very patient today. Please give him some alone time.”
“Being angry is okay. How do we deal with our anger?”
“It looks like you’re feeling overwhelmed? Why don’t you take some time to calm down in your room?”
“Your friend may have been acting out in class today because they’re dealing with things we don’t understand. Maybe they have a hard time listening or understanding instructions. You don’t have to let someone be mean to you, but try to be compassionate. Ask the teacher for help if you need it.”
When my kids were toddlers, we had similar conversations. Maybe they were simpler with solutions like “let’s talk about your feelings” or “stomp your anger away,” but they were meaningful and meant to create the foundation for good mental health habits.
Books for Kids About Mental Health
These are some of my favorite books for kids about mental health. As I mentioned before, books really help us incorporate conversations about mental health into our everyday routine. We read about it together, conversations and questions often follow, and my kids continue to revisit these stories.
Sometimes I can even overhear my older two discussing things among themselves using the skills I’ve taught them. Truly, there is little more wonderful than that.
From top to bottom, left to right:
- The Monster Who Couldn’t Decide (The Worrywoo Monsters)
- How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids
- The Way I Feel
- The Pout-Pout Fish
- Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids
- No Means No! Teaching children about personal boundaries, respect and consent.
- In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
- The Angry Dragon: a children’s book about a Dragon Who Learns How To be Patient for Ages 3-5
- Calm-Down Time (Toddler Tools)
- The Very Frustrated Monster (WorryWoo Monsters)
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
- Nobody’s Perfect: A Story for Children About Perfectionism
- Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD
- Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book