On the recent heels of World Mental Health Day, I'm reminded that anxiety is one of the most common mental health struggles today. I, myself, have rolled with the ups and downs of anxiety throughout different times of my life.
As a mother, I find myself being extra sensitive to my children's emotions, and often analyze their reactions to see if they are ruminating over a worry. In essence, I end up worrying about whether they are worrying about something. Try saying that ten times fast! It's like my brain is a washing machine on a "worry cycle" that never gets all the stains out of my clothes.
The good news is that there are many ways to help cope with anxiety, as well as tools we can teach our children when they are overwhelmed with emotions. One of these tools is the practice of mindfulness. Or, as we often hear it described, "living in the moment." Easier said than done, right? This is why it truly is a practice that involves...practice!
As I often say, the right children's book can lead to amazing discussions with little readers at home. When it comes to mindfulness in children, I'm excited to feature a wonderful picture book that introduces this concept in an engaging and informational way. Written by Lorena Dolinar, RP & illustrated by Olga Barinova, "Mikey Discovers his Super Power" teaches children the power and importance of mindfulness.
The story follows Mikey and his best friend, Nia; both experiencing life in a very different way. Mikey worries a lot, and often avoids playing with other children. In contrast, Nia is generally happy and focuses her attention in the present moment. Nia practices mindfulness everyday, and realizes that it is a super power that everyone can use, including Mikey.
Dolinar's writing style is informational, as she weaves in practical ways children can use mindfulness in the classroom, at home, and everyday life. Although rich in information, the book also delivers charm, engagement, and a heartwarming story that little readers will enjoy.
My 4.5 year old son is captivated by Nia's ability to teach Mikey how to breath in and out with purpose, while comparing thoughts to the wind. My son actually breathes in and out deeply as I read this part in the book, and is genuinely focused on the words as I read them off the page.
Barinova's illustrations wonderfully compliment the story-telling, and help convey the character's emotions throughout the book. I especially like the book cover that shows Mikey on a hilltop conquering his fears, and with his superhero cape in full swing.
At the back of the book there is a note to parents and teachers to help inspire follow-up discussions. It also gives age appropriate examples of how to practice mindfulness as a child.
"Mikey Discovers his Super Power" is a true gem for anyone looking for literature that helps children with anxiety. It serves as a great resource for teaching and introducing mindfulness in kindergarten and primary grades.
Happy Sunday...and happy reading!