It’s September, and for a lot of children this is a month that can be packed jammed with change to routine and life, and after a 6 week break from school that can be quite a shell shock. At the best of times this is tricky, but when children start school for the first time or even head off to secondary school the anxiety can be magnified. Some children take these things in their stride, but more and more we are recognising the need to support their mental health, even in those who seem to cope well. I think, in all honesty, we can all do with a little extra support in our lives, and it’s important to start this early. How many of us have anxiety and/or low confidence brought on by situations we faced as children? I know I certainly. do, and can speak for many of my friends also.
This is where publishers like B Small are making strides in recognising the need for this support and offering options for children. B Small do non-fiction children’s books incredibly well, so I was thrilled to be able to review and test run the new Level Headers series of books, Stretch your Confidence, and Find your Power, written by Beth Cox and illustrated by Vicky Barker in collaboration with Natalie Costa, Power Thoughts Founder.
So these fantastic books are aimed at building confidence and power rather than focusing on the worries and problems, I really love them. In. readiness for this blog tour, I spent a week trying out one of the exercises in the Find Your Power book, page 24, Feeling Thankful.
This is something I had always wanted to have a go at, each day writing down 3 good things about the day, even if it’s been the crappiest, most frustrating day, even if you come home feeling downbeat and exhausted you have to look for 3 good things. This is a very simple yet hugely effective activity which is so perfectly suited to any age group, children and adults, and teaches us to focus on the positives. It’s so easy to get trapped in a negative cycle of thought and to let the things that worry or upset us consume us. This technique works to distract from them and help us remember the good, of which there is SO much!
Here are my Feeling Thankful thoughts for the week (the idea is to write them in the book, but as I wish to pass the book on, I wrote them down seperately).
- My home
- The beautiful wildflowers on the roundabout to Chatsworth
- kind work colleagues
- Two people interested in buying my flat
- The amazing talent my fiancé has at illustration (he drew me something for work)
- Late night working that gives me an extra hour in bed
- The enjoyment of a good book (currently reading Sky Burial and loving it)
- The sunshine
- Sat Nav, you saved me
- the most adorable puppy and gentle dogs I met today
- A kind man who cooks for me when I get home tired & a lovely friend (2 for 1)
- The company of my Mum
- A great mortgage broker
- Laughter! (that’s an extra that appeared commonly on each day and is my favourite of all)
I have to say, I’ve had a fairly stressful week, as I was in the final throws of selling my flat, hormonal and incredibly tired, so this is pretty much the perfect week to do a task like this. Did it help? Absolutely it did!! I consider myself a very upbeat and positive person, but there are often times when even I can struggle to see the good in a day, come home and moan moan moan about the seemingly bad things. We’re all quick to complain because it generally tells a better story, but not only does it drag ourselves down, it can easily impact upon those around us. Before I went to sleep at the end of the day, I thought of the three things that I felt thankful for. It was quick and easy to do, but also incredibly cathartic a process. The more I did it, the more I found myself remembering and focusing on the good things in a day, rather than the negative. It helps you not only notice those little things that happen, but also appreciate the people around us who bring light into our days. The truth is, it works, it really does. It is something I would like to, and will certainly try to continue.
So, if this simple activity can work for me, 39, quite stuck in my ways, anxious and currently reasonably stressed, then imagine what it can do for a child who’s mind is still developing and growing and learning to deal with day to day challenges. The younger this more positive mind set is instilled the more natural they will become.
These two books are jam packed with lovely, positive exercises for children and their parents to have a go at, simple enough to be completely achievable, but involved enough to be life changing. My particular other favourites were Self Talk, using the power of affirmations and relaxation of colouring together to build confidence and self belief.
And Find Kind, a way to start considering other people, great for teaching empathy and giving back to other people.
There is so much contained within these pages, brilliant tasks helping you cope with friendships, worries, confidence, recognising our good qualities and embracing change. Vicky Barker’s illustrations are truly lovely, full of character, perfectly pitched to appeal to a varied age group, bright, colourful and inclusive. Exactly what this kind of book needs. It’s really a very wonderful, but also incredibly important. This is how we build confidence and power in our children, working on it together with them is how we all learn to be stronger and happier humans and isn’t this what we strive for? The happy and strength is there within us all, we just need the help to find it and thanks to Level Headers and this fantastic team at B Small Publishing we can now do just that. Thank you!
Level Headers Find your Confidence and Find your Power suitable for ages 6-12 years (and adults too of course) are both available now from all good bookshops.
You can find out more about B Small Publishing right here:
And wonderful illustrator Vicky Barker has her own beautiful corner of the internet right here:
Thank you to B Small for gifting copies of these books for review, and to you for reading this Book Monster review.