Parenting / 17 May, 2023 / Christina Walter

Activities, Journals And Books To Support Children’s Mental Health And Wellbeing

We’ve gathered the best activities, journals and books to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. The collection includes fiction books, self-help books, journals, and flashcards to help children of all ages navigate emotions, build resilience, and develop coping skills.

Books to support children’s mental health

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety, Dawn Huebner

What to Do When You Worry Too Much is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12-year-olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used to treat generalised anxiety.

Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD.

You’re a Star, Poppy O’Neill

This practical guide is a brilliant book to support children’s mental health. It combines proven cognitive-behavioural therapy methods used by child psychologists in schools with simple activities to help your child grow their self-esteem. It’s aimed at children aged 7–11 because a lot happens in these years that can impact a child’s sense of self-worth, not just now but for years to come.

Your child will be guided, with the help of Bop – a friendly and supportive character they can identify with – through fun and engaging activities which are interspersed with useful tips, inspirational statements and practical information for parents.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Poppy O’Neill

This practical guide combines proven cognitive-behavioural therapy methods used by school child psychologists with simple activities to help your child overcome anxiety. It’s aimed at children aged 7–11 because a lot happens in these years that can impact a child’s emotional well-being, not just now but for years to come.

Your child will be guided, with the help of Fiz – a friendly and supportive character they can identify with – through fun and engaging activities which are interspersed with useful tips, inspirational statements and practical information for parents.

Mental Health and Me, Andy Glynne

Mental Health and Me brings together seven stories of teenage struggles, from body image issues to drug abuse, as experienced by real-life teenagers. First produced as animated documentaries by the BBC, each story has unique honesty and is brought to life with sophisticated but accessible artwork.

This book will help young people to better understand mental health issues, empathise with those who are struggling and possibly even see their own experiences reflected, making them feel more supported and less alone.

The stories are supported by specialist advisory notes supplied by the UK mental health charity MIND.

Be the Change – Be Calm, Marcus Sedgwick

Be the Change – Be Calm will show you how to shut down anxiety with fun and simple ways to calm your mind by listening to what your body is telling you. Ever tried the half-salamander exercise? You should! And have you ever performed a body scan? Thought not. These amazing activities, along with many others, will become your toolkit for a calmer and happier life.

Award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick takes us on a fascinating journey to discover where anxiety comes from, looking at storytelling’s power in training our brain to overcome worries. He also shows us what animals can teach us about dealing with stress AND introduces us to our second brain! Hello! It’s time to make CALM your superpower.

Be The Change – Be Kind, Marcus Sedgwick

Every one of us experiences the world differently – we have different worries and problems, and we all have unique hopes and dreams – but there’s one thing that can unite us and make the world a better place, and that’s KINDNESS!

Kindness is cool! No, really! Kindness can create positive change in all our lives, whether it’s being a friend to someone who seems lonely, or simply smiling or giving somebody a thumbs up. When we support each other, we can be our best selves.

Be the Change: Be Kind is your handbook on using your voice to empower yourself and others to spread kindness. Award-winning children’s author Marcus Sedgwick tells the story of kindness – where it comes from, what it feels like and perhaps most importantly, why it matters – and asks YOU what you would do in different everyday scenarios.

A Girl’s Guide to Being Awesome, Suzanne Virdee

Let’s face it: growing up is confusing. You’re expected to get good grades at school, maintain an insta-worthy social life and somehow also hone a range of life skills that you definitely don’t want to ask your parents about…

This book is here to act as your go-to guide on everything from social media to sexting and from body image to self-esteem. Acting as your personal cheerleader, this book will teach you everything you need to navigate your teens with sass and style.

In My Head: A Young Person’s Guide to Understanding Mental Health, Louise Baty

This accessible guide for 11–15-year-olds will help young people to understand and manage their mental health

Do you ever find it hard to explain your thoughts and feelings? Have you often pretended to be okay when in reality you’re anxious or sad? However you’re feeling, you’re not alone – because many people struggle to talk about their mental health.

This book will help you be kind to your mind. Whether you want to understand your thoughts and emotions a little better, or learn some handy tips to help you to de-stress, it’s filled with information on how to look after your well-being and stay feeling good.

Let’s Talk: A Boy’s Guide to Mental Health, Adam Carpenter

Growing up is hard work! You’re expected to ace your exams, be responsible, keep up a hectic social life both online and IRL, make big decisions about your future, and somehow stay happy at the same time. But, as we know, no one feels OK all the time, so what happens then? What happens when we don’t feel great and don’t know what to do about it or where to get help?

Let’s Talk provides the tools to get boys talking about how they’re feeling. Within this insightful guide you will find activities to figure out what help you might need, advice on where to get help, and case studies to show how others have voiced their feelings and found help.

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Children’s fiction to open up the conversation about wellbeing

Fiction books to support children’s mental health are a brilliant way to get your child to talk. Parents can use books as a conversation catalyst to ask questions, encourage reflection, and explore children’s thoughts and feelings about whatever’s on their mind.

The Huge Bag of Worries, Virginia Ironside

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are with her all the time – at school, at home, when she is watching TV and even in the bathroom! Jenny decides they have to go, but who will help her get rid of them?

A funny and reassuring look at dealing with worries and anxiety, to be used as a spring board into important conversations with your child.

This book addresses anxiety and worries in a relatable and engaging manner, helping children understand that concerns are normal and providing strategies to cope with them.

The Colour Monster, Anna Llenas

A gentle exploration of feelings for young and old alike. This book explores different emotions through vibrant illustrations and a simple story and helps children recognise and articulate their feelings.

Perfectly Norman: A Big Bright Feelings Book, Tom Percival

Norman had always been perfectly normal . . . until the day he grew a pair of wings!

Norman loves his new wings and has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat.

But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself?

Ruby’s Worry: A Big Bright Feelings Book, Tom Percival

‘If your child has a worry – and all children do have worries – this is the ideal book to encourage them to talk about it’ Parents In Touch

Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry.

At first it’s not such a big worry, and that’s all right, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again?

Everything Is OK, Debbie Tung

Everything Is OK is the story of Debbie Tung’s struggle with anxiety and her experience with depression. She shares what it’s like navigating life, overthinking every possible worst-case scenario, and constantly feeling like all hope is lost.

The book explores her journey to understanding the importance of mental health in her day-to-day life and how she learns to embrace the highs and lows when things feel out of control. Debbie opens up about deeply personal issues and the winding road to recovery, discovers the value of self-love, and rebuilds a more mindful relationship with her mental health.

A Blue Kind of Day, Rachel Tomlinson

Coen is having a sniffling, sighing, sobbing kind of day.

His family thinks they know how to cheer him up. His dad wants to go outside and play, Mom tells her funniest joke, and his little sister shares her favorite teddy. Nothing helps. But one by one, they get quiet and begin to listen. After some time, space, and reassurance, Coen is able to show them what he needs.

With poignant text and stunning illustrations, A Blue Kind of Day explores how depression might feel in the body and shows us how to support the people we love with patience, care, and empathy.

The Goldfish Boy, Lisa Thompson

Twelve-year-old Matthew is trapped in his bedroom by crippling OCD, spending most of his time staring out of his window as the inhabitants of Chestnut Close go about their business.

Until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour’s toddler, Teddy, before he goes missing.

Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy’s disappearance – with the help of a brilliant cast of supporting characters.

The Worrysaurus, Rachel Bright

It’s a beautiful day and Worrysaurus has planned a special picnic.

But it isn’t long before a small butterfly of worry starts fluttering in his tummy . . .
What if he hasn’t brought enough to eat?
What if he gets lost in the jungle?
What if he trips and falls?
What if it rains?!

Can Worrysaurus find a way to chase his fears away and have fun?

The perfect book to help every anxious little dinosaur let go of their fears and feel happy in the moment.

The Invisible String, Patrice Karst

Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string. “That’s impossible!” the children insist, but still they want to know more: “What kind of string?” The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach? Does it ever go away? This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings, Britney Winn Lee

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is relatable for any child — especially for a child experiencing anxiety, extreme emotions, a child identified as a Highly Sensitive Person, or a child on the autism spectrum. Beautifully illustrated and written in rhyming verse, children and adults explore the whole spectrum of feelings and readers navigate the emotional challenges they face throughout the day.

The main character has feelings so big that they glow from his cheeks, spill out of his eyes, and jump up and down on his chest. When he hears a joke, he bursts with joy. When a loud truck drives by, he cries. When his loved ones are having a hard day, he feels their emotions as if they were his own.

The boy tries to cope by stuffing down his feelings, but with a little help and artistic inspiration, the boy realizes his feelings are something to be celebrated.

The Huge Bag of Worries, Virginia Ironside

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are with her all the time – at school, at home, when she is watching TV and even in the bathroom! Jenny decides they have to go, but who will help her get rid of them?

A funny and reassuring look at dealing with worries and anxiety, to be used as a spring board into important conversations with your child.

 

Relax Kids: When I’m Feeling…, Marneta Viegas

Manage emotions and self-regulate by mixing and matching different combinations of relaxing affirmations with this self-read flap book. An unlimited tool kit that allows you to mix and match relaxation and mindfulness exercises — and create your own story meditations. How many wonderful combinations can you make?

Relax Kids: What Can I Be Today?, Marneta Viegas

What Can I Be Today is a self-read split-page book that allows you to create your own positive affirmations. Flick through its flaps to create your own positive personas — and their amazing titles! What will you choose to be today? For children aged 4-9.

Relax Kids: Let’s all BEE, Marneta Viegas

Let’s all Bee is a fun and interactive book that helps the under 5s self-regulate and learn calming tools as they read, listen, communicate, wiggle and giggle. Children learn mindfulness techniques from a variety of animal friends who show them core skills that help them grow and thrive. Includes a set of 14 animal finger puppets to cut out and play with.

Relax Kids: Affirmixations, Marneta Viegas

Have a giggle as you mix and match the words and make up your own set of fantabulous affirmations. Great fun for all the family.

Activities, flashcards and journals for children’s wellbeing

There’s a whole range of brilliant flashcards, journals and activity books to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. They’re a great way for your child to explore how they’re feeling in more depth, workshopping problems along the way.

Get Talking Cards for Kids, Amanda Ashman-Wymbs

Find new ways to connect, share and communicate with your child with the help of this supportive deck of 52 prompt cards. These thought-provoking conversation starters and gentle activities provide a fun and engaging way to spark conversation, encouraging children to talk openly about their feelings and develop their emotional awareness.

Compiled by an experienced child therapist and accompanied by helpful instructions, the colour-coded cards are divided into four categories for easy selection, including feelings, well-being, self-esteem and mindfulness. The open questions and prompts in this deck will inspire children to connect with their feelings and thought patterns and grow their emotional intelligence.

Mindful Ideas for Kids, Summersdale Publishers

Mindfulness matters, and just a few moments of quiet thought can soothe your child’s mind and encourage them to approach their day more easily. Help your child practise the art of mindfulness anywhere with this collection of uplifting cards, filled with ideas for calming activities and peaceful thoughts.

This deck of 52 cards is packed with ideas to minimize anxiety, promote happiness and help kids harness positive energy. Each card, which can be displayed individually using the high-quality wooden stand, features a stunning bespoke design to brighten up any room.

This is Me!: A Self-Discovery Journal for Girls, Imogen Harrison

It’s time to discover and celebrate what makes you uniquely YOU!

Welcome to the time in your life when lots of big, exciting stuff happens! This companion is here to guide you along the way. It’s full of fabulous fill-in activities, quizzes to do with friends, tips for sleepover parties, and advice on how to create your dream bedroom sanctuary. Helping you plan and prepare for big days, like starting a new school or taking an exam, and offering some great ideas when you need a happiness boost, this book covers the essentials and so much more!

This Is Me is for you and you alone, so dive in and get started. Pick up a pen and make this journal as awesome and colourful as you are!

All About Me: An Awesome Self-Discovery Journal for Boys, Imogen Harrison

It’s time to be the best you can be and celebrate all your awesomeness!

Welcome to the time in your life when lots of big, exciting stuff happens! This companion is here to guide you along the way. It’s full of cool fill-in activities, quizzes to do with friends, tips for achieving your goals and dreams, and advice on how your body will change as you head into your teenage years. Helping you plan and prepare for big days, like starting a new school or taking an exam, and offering some great ideas when you need a confidence boost, this book covers the essentials and so much more!

All About Me is for you and you alone, so dive in and get started. Pick up a pen and make this journal as amazing and original as you are.

I Like Being Me: A Child’s Guide to Self-Worth, Poppy O’Neill

An interactive workbook for parents and children from the author of the bestselling titles Don’t Worry, Be Happy: A Child’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety and You’re a Star: A Child’s Guide to Self-Esteem.

Does your child frequently compare themselves to their friends?

Perhaps they find it difficult to make decisions because they doubt themselves and their abilities?

Do they seem to avoid socializing and participating in hobbies and activities?

These could all be signs that your child is struggling with low self-worth.

This practical guide combines cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness methods with simple activities to help your child overcome their self-doubt. It’s aimed at children aged 7–11 because a lot happens in these years that can impact a child’s confidence, not just now but for years to come.

 

 

When I Feel Angry: A Child’s Guide to Understanding and Managing Moods,  Poppy O’Neill

An interactive workbook for parents and children from the author of the bestselling titles Don’t Worry, Be Happy: A Child’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety and You’re a Star: A Child’s Guide to Self-Esteem

Does your child have frequent tantrums and outbursts?

Perhaps they find it hard to speak about their emotions?

Do they seem to get overwhelmed by stress and anxiety quickly?

These could all be signs that your child is struggling with angry moods.

This practical guide combines cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness methods with simple activities to help your child manage their anger and express their feelings in healthy ways. It’s aimed at children aged 7–11 because a lot happens in these years that can impact a child’s emotional well-being, not just now but for years to come.

 

 

Angry Monsters: A Child’s Guide to Coping With Their Feelings, Summersdale Publishers

A vibrant and fun activity book for 4–7-year-olds to help children feel calm and happy

It’s OK to feel the way you feel!

Help your child tune in to their feelings and feel calmer while having lots of fun with the help of this engaging activity book. Angry Monsters uses the techniques employed by child psychotherapists, including mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to overcome difficult feelings and encourage calm.

Happy Monsters: A Child’s Guide to Coping With Their Feelings, Summersdale Publishers

A vibrant and fun activity book for 4–7-year-olds to help children feel calm and happy.

It’s OK to feel the way you feel!

Help your child tune in to their feelings and feel happier while having lots of fun with the help of this engaging activity book. Happy Monsters uses the techniques employed by child psychotherapists, including mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to overcome difficult feelings and encourage calm.

Read Next

If you enjoyed this collection of  activities, journals and books to support children’s mental health, you might like:

Fun Ways To Boost Your Child’s Social Skills Before Starting School

Why Screen Time Can Be Hugely Beneficial To Our Kids

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