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Mental health is gaining more and more attention, however, it still remains a topic that is often undermined or dismissed.  As caregivers, it can feel confusing about what resources are helpful to support the children in our lives.  Especially resources that address multiple facets of a child’s growth, including mental health issues in order to improve overall well-being. 

If you are looking for mental health books, apps, or resources, as a caregiver or for your child I want to share a few of my favorites. I hope that this information will help you on your journey as a caregiver and the children in your life as you work to cultivate better mental health!

 

6 Mental Health Books a Child Therapist Recommends

Many children ages 2-12 struggle to overcome worry. It can debilitate a child and rob them of experiencing a joy-filled childhood. This experiential book was written to help children overcome their worry so they can experience the fullness of being a child free from the burdens of worry.

Amazon Description: “One of the very best scientific predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, academic success, leadership skills, and meaningful relationships—is whether at least one adult in their life has consistently shown up for them.

Based on the latest brain and attachment research, The Power of Showing Up shares stories, scripts, simple strategies, illustrations, and tips for honoring the four building blocks of a child’s healthy development — when our kids are struggling or when they are enjoying success; when we are consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them; and even when we are apologizing for the times we don’t show up for them. Demonstrating that mistakes and missteps are repairable and that it’s never too late to mend broken trust, this book is a powerful guide to cultivating your child’s healthy emotional landscape.”

Amazon Description: “In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children.

Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.”

Amazon Description: “Highlighting the fascinating link between a child’s neurological development and the way a parent reacts to misbehavior, No-Drama Discipline provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene.

Complete with candid stories and playful illustrations that bring the authors’ suggestions to life, No-Drama Discipline shows you how to work with your child’s developing mind, peacefully resolve conflicts, and inspire happiness and strengthen resilience in everyone in the family.”

I Love You Rituals

by Becky A. Bailey

Amazon Description: “I Love You Rituals offers more than seventy delightful rhymes and games that send the message of unconditional love and enhance children’s social, emotional, and school success. Winner of a 1999 Parent’s Guide Children’s Media Award, these positive nursery rhymes, interactive finger plays, soothing games, and physically active can be played with children from infancy through age eight.

Easy to learn and especially effective in stressful situations, I Love You Rituals gives parents, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers inspiring tools to help children thrive.”

Amazon Description: “By providing an overview of Theraplay® and the psychological principles that it is based on, parents and caregivers will gain an understanding of the basic theory of the model along with practical ideas for applying Theraplay® to everyday family life. Through everyday case studies and easy language, parents will gain confidence and learn new skills for emotional bonding, empathy, and acceptance in the relationship with their child.”

4 Mental Health Apps a Child Therapist Recommends

Description: Calm is an app designed to help you tackle struggles with sleep, meditation, movement, and focused studying. They also have free journals and exercises to assist in you or your teen’s daily mindfulness practice.

“Calm creates unique audio content that strengthens mental fitness and tackles some of the biggest mental health challenges of today: stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. The most popular feature on Calm is a 10-minute meditation called, ‘The Daily Calm,’ that explores a fresh mindful theme and inspiring concept each day. Calm also contains 250+ Sleep Stories (bed-time stories for all ages), plus sleep music, meditation lessons, nature sounds, Calm Masterclasses delivered by world experts, and more.”

Description: Headspace says they have one mission: to improve the health and happiness in the world. Like Calm, Headspace offers meditation and mindfulness tools to help you and your family lower their daily stress and anxiety, while creating habits to move you forward on the path to mental wellness.

“Through science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools, Headspace helps you create life-changing habits to support your mental health and find a healthier, happier you.”

Description: Pray As You Go is an app that offers daily prayers with morning offerings, nightly reflection, as well as movement sessions to listen to while exercising. In the “Kid’s Corner”, you’ll find exercises and offerings that combines music, scripture and questions to help your child in their daily reflection.

Apple Store Description: “This is a resource app for you to share with your child to help teach skills such as problem solving, self-control, planning, and task persistence.

Laugh and learn as you help a Sesame Street monster friend calm down and solve everyday challenges. This bilingual (English and Spanish), research-based app helps your child learn Sesame’s “Breathe, Think, Do” strategy for problem-solving. Tap and touch to help the monster friend take deep breaths, think of plans, and try them out! Your child will enjoy silly animations and playful interactions as she is exposed to important emotional vocabulary, a calm breathing technique, personalized encouragements, and more!”

3 Mental Health Workbooks & Resources a Child Therapist Recommends

Amazon Description: “Simple mindfulness practices to help your child (ages 5-12) deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions—with a 60-minute audio CD of guided exercises.

This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout.”

Amazon Description: “These easy-to-follow exercises help kids calmly and mindfully navigate their day, from sunrise to sunset. With sections dedicated to key activities in a child’s routine–waking up, traveling, learning, playing, eating, and bedtime–kids can learn techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions anywhere, anytime.”

Description: Have a child that’s struggling to express their feelings? Use this free, fun, and interactive chart to help your child strengthen their emotional vocabulary, as well as process and regulate their big emotions. Available in almost 40 languages, from Arabic to English to Vietnamese.

Susan Stutzman

Susan Stutzman

Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT

Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.

We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.

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