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Parenting After a Global Pandemic

Six Children's Books To Support Reflections and Building Resiliency Moving Forward

By Brittany Borgeson • May 07, 2021

As the world slowly begins to open back up and we welcome our students back into our schools, I am thinking about how best to support our children through this transition. The following six children's books are conversation starters for families to reflect on this past year, to talk through how their children might play a role in identifying and regulating their emotions, and how to shake off the dust of worry and anxiety from this year. Enjoy.

1. And the People Stayed Home by Kitty O'Meara

This book is a poem set to beautiful drawings of some of the good things that happened during the pandemic; rest, healing, new forms of play, and connection. As we slowly emerge from stay-at-home orders and isolation, it is important to help our children reflect on this past year+. What stories will we tell ourselves and our families about this time? Can we hold onto those good moments and consider some of the possible silver linings this time has afforded us, not just individually or in our families, but collectively? The final pages of this book conclude with images of post pandemic, where people are embracing, integrating what they have learned from this time, and together making the world a better place—serving as a reminder to us all the goodness and delightful responsibility that lies ahead.

2. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

Think of this book as a cute story to help your child understand what thankfulness is and how people are grateful for different things; sweet, mundane, every day, simple things. Every time I do classroom lessons with my students, I ask the question, "what are you grateful for today?" Encouraging children to identify something they are grateful for each day creates within them the habit of looking for something every day to be grateful for and creating a posture of gratitude. This practice is easy on the good days, but important on the hard days. This year more than ever, I have heard my students say, they are grateful for school, which is music to my ears.

3. Outside In by Deborah Underwood

For many of us, the outdoors has become our refuge during the pandemic. After work I see many people walking in my neighborhood, families playing basketball on the local school yard after long days inside, and neighborhood patios filled with people eager to be together, safely. We have the outdoors to thank for our sanity and connection during this pandemic. This book reminds us that the outdoors, "outside," is pursuing us, is subtly dropping hints of its existence, wonder, and necessity. As we move into a more post-pandemic world, may the outdoors continue to be a peaceful place of refuge.

4. Thank You Mind by Jennifer Cohen Harper

This book identifies different emotions children feel (anger, jealousy, excitement...) offering examples of what behavior or thoughts these emotions might bring, with embedded solutions and mindsets to our tricker emotions. As I read this book, I think it could be a great conversation starter for families to ask their children; when have you felt this way? What do you do when you feel ____? Sometimes children feel shame about their emotions, normalizing conversations about emotions helps to ward of shame or embarrassment, allowing for deeper conversation about what to do to move through them.

5. Worry Says What? by Allison Edwards

This past year we have had plenty to worry about, our children might need an extra dose of reminders of their inner strength. Having a sense of control and agency helps us all to ward of depression and helplessness. This book takes a playful approach to worries by personifying worry as an unwelcome little creature outside of us that we have control over. Taping into themes like self-esteem, grit, growth mindset and agency, Worry Says What? offers a practical, self-initiated solution to conquering our fears.

6. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

With all this time at home some children are having worries about leaving home, returning to school, and being away from their parents, caregivers, and families. This book is a love story from a mom to her twin children reminding them that no matter where they are in the world they are connected and loved. A great read for a child struggling with separation and missing being a home.

About the Author: Brittany Borgeson has a master's degree in School Counseling from Seattle Pacific University. She currently works as a School Counselor at a private school in the Seattle area.

Read more by Brittany Borgeson

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