16 Books for Kids About Mental Health

16 Books for Kids About Mental Health from Brave Little Mom Blog for Moms - Blog for Single Moms

Mental health is extremely important. As a mom living with bipolar disorder, it’s also important to me on a very personal level to teach my kids about mental health.

Books for kids about mental health help make these conversations a part of our everyday routine.

“Mommy is feeling a little stressed right now, so let’s do a calm activity, please.”

“Daddy doesn’t feel very patient today. Please give him some alone time.”

“Being angry is okay. How do we deal with our anger?”

“It looks like you’re feeling overwhelmed? Why don’t you take some time to calm down in your room?”

“Your friend may have been acting out in class today because they’re dealing with things we don’t understand. Maybe they have a hard time listening or understanding instructions. You shouldn’t allow someone be mean to you, but try to be compassionate and understand why they act that way. Ask the teacher for help if you need it.”

Even when my kids were toddlers, we had similar conversations. They were certainly simpler but effective all the same.

Solutions then might have been, “let’s talk about your feelings” or “stomp your anger away.” Despite their simplicity, though, they were meaningful.

Incorporating these discussions into our daily conversations and bringing into our home more books for kids about mental health has created the foundation for good mental health habits.

Books for Kids About Mental Health

These are some of my favorite books for kids about mental health. Books have been incredibly helpful in making mental health conversations part of our norm.

We read about it together, conversations and questions often follow, and my kids continue to revisit these lessons later.

Sometimes I can even overhear my older two discussing things among themselves using the skills I’ve taught them. Truly, there is little more wonderful than that.

16 Books for Kids About Mental Health - Brave Little Mom - Blog for Moms - Blog for Single Moms

From top to bottom, left to right:

How to Encourage More Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional awareness is key to managing my own mental health. So it’s natural for me to want to encourage that to develop in my own children.

A few ways to encourage more emotional awareness in kids:

  • Teach your child to meditate and self-reflect.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions and form hypotheses.
  • Ask your child why they reacted a certain way; create a discussion around the “why.”
  • Rather than tell a child to calm down, talk about the emotions they might be feeling and coach them toward a solution.
  • Be an example yourself and deal with stress and overwhelm calmly.
  • Teach solution based approaches to everyday problems.
  • Talk out loud about your feelings and work through conflict constructively.

Recently, I also came across an article that spoke to the sensory system, the interoceptive system, that plays a huge role in that.

I learned that this amazing body system essentially controls how we feel and perceive our internal state, including things like hunger and emotions.

According to Raising an Extraordinary Person, these interoception activities for kids can improve “interoceptive awareness may reduce meltdowns and challenging behaviors, and improve self-regulation.”



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22 thoughts on “16 Books for Kids About Mental Health

  1. Pingback: 16 Books for Kids About Mental Health – Talking to your kids about mental health… – Health Wellness

  2. ChelseaHB says:

    For little ones, I love Sandra Boynton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck. It introduces moods in a fun matter, and the illustrations are adorable!

  3. Chava says:

    Wow, I want all of these books! And I love the prompts of how to talk to kids about different emotions. I definitely need to be more intentional about this.

  4. 101foodtravel says:

    These some great books here. I have read “The Way I Feel” and some of this I have seen but never really tried to read it. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. mapsandmonograms says:

    As a teacher, I’ve heard of many of these. “The Way I Feel” and “Alexander…” are two of my favorites. Did you know that there’s an adorable song to go along with “Pout Pout Fish”? Careful looking it up, it’s totally catchy and will get stuck in your head!

    • Tiffany | Mom Goes Mental says:

      I had no idea! We love Pete the Cat largely because of the songs that go along with it, so I know we’d love that ❤️

  6. karriefrost says:

    I love that society has become more open about mental health and hopefully that means that the stigma that is too often attached can be eliminated. It affects so many people in different ways. What a great list to teach children about the concept at a level they can understand. Thank you for the recommendations.

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