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We are fortunate to have so many wonderful tools at our fingertips to help our children manage and balance their emotions. Sometimes it can be tricky finding the best way to teach them about these tools, depending on their age. I am so excited to share a very special children’s book that will help us do just that. B Is For Breathe: The ABCs of Coping with Fussy and Frustrating Feelings by Dr. Melissa Munro Boyd uses the alphabet to highlight the many amazing resources that children can tap into.
Using ABCs to convey this message is so accessible to children of all ages. ABC books are a staple of children’s literature. In fact, they have been around since the colonial days when they were used to teach children their ABC’s, along with morals and other life lessons. Nowadays, alphabet books offer so much more to children besides teaching them their ABC’s, and they come in a variety of forms for readers of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
Dr. Boyd cleverly organizes the many ways that children can express their feelings and develop coping skills from A to Z. She uses alliteration to present 26 ways for children to work through their emotions. Each activity that she recommends is written in coordination with a letter. For example, the phrase “Q is for quiet time” is written above a colorful, inviting illustration and then below the picture the activity is explained in more detail so that the children can understand what it entails. The pictures show characters engaged in a specific activity to captivate readers. Young children can learn a great deal just by looking at the images of the characters in the book, while older children will grasp more from the accompanying text.
This book was created to inspire kids to discuss their feelings, show positive behaviors, and practice calm down strategies. “It has been an ultimate goal of mine to write a children’s book,” explains Dr. Boyd. “As a mom and psychologist, I have learned that it is ever so important that healthy coping skills are discussed and promoted for children at an early age. Whether it is deep breathing, muscle relaxation, art, or writing about emotions, it is fun to try different calm down strategies and techniques to help a child find their own special way of coping with emotions.”
So many of the tools that are included in this book are also what we talk about here on this blog, such as:
- How art helps us express emotions and feel more relaxed
- Deep breathing techniques
- Importance of laughter
- The healing power of nature
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Another wonderful aspect of B Is For Breathe: The ABCs of Coping with Fussy and Frustrating Feelings is the diversity of the characters throughout the book. Each character comes from a different background, so more children can relate to it. Actually, Dr. Boyd consulted her own children to help develop characters who reflected who they are. They shared their own ideas about what the characters should look like and the different ways they could express and cope with challenging feelings.
There are many ways that parents can use this book to teach children of all ages how to manage their emotions. Try these fun ideas:
- Play charades using the list of skills in the book.
- Ask your child to write a poem or story about one or more of the activities.
- Challenge your kids (and the whole family) to complete each of the activities in order and to share experiences about which ones they enjoyed the best.
- Have your children draw or paint their own illustration for each activity.
- Make up a song about some of the activities.
- Have your kids create an acrostic poem using their own name and favorite calm down activities.
- Record a video of your kids acting out each of the activities.
About The Author
Dr. Melissa Munro Boyd is a wife, mother of three, Clinical Psychologist, and officer in the United States Army. Dr. Boyd has spent much of her clinical career treating service members with behavioral health disorders, to include PTSD. Prior to the military, Dr. Boyd worked with children in the Philadelphia School District. She is a proud graduate of Hampton University in Virginia where she earned her Bachelors in Psychology. Upon graduation, she attended La Salle University where she obtained her Master’s and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.