It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week so I’m sharing with you a fantastic set of resources for helping families support their children’s mental health: Daniel’s Dreams, Monster Mountain Chapter Book and well-being resource pack by Leanne Brown.
What are they?
The chapter book (Daniel’s Dreams, Monster Mountain Chapter Book) is such a lovely story packed full of useful, practical strategies that children can use when they are worried about something. It’s about a boy called Daniel who is worried about speaking at the school assembly the following day. When he goes to sleep that evening he has the most incredible, vivid dream where he meets a group of friendly, individually unique monsters! Whilst making friends with the monsters and learning about their world they share techniques for managing anxiety with him and as a result, when he wakes up he feels less worried about the assembly!
The accompanying well-being resource pack is a fantastic collection of activities based on the book, that help children to build self confidence and open up about any concerns they have.
Together these two books make a fantastic resource to gently support children to feel positive about themselves and learn how to manage situations that worry them.
What did we like about them?
– Exciting Story – First and foremost, the chapter book is a really lovely story with relatable characters, adventures and giggles. Perfectly pitched at primary school children. It’s exciting, fun and one that children will really enjoy listening to or reading themselves. It can be enjoyed simply as a great story book or you can also choose to use it to help focus on mental health and well being.
– Embraces Inclusion – I adored the real emphasis on inclusion throughout this book. The monsters in Daniel’s dreams are all different and unique and there’s an underlying message intertwined into the story of the importance of accepting and celebrating others for their differences. If a child was struggling because they felt different to their friends, I think this book could really help them to see the value in everyone being different.
– Illustrations – The illustrations in both the chapter book and well-being resource pack by Yogesh Mahajan are absolutely brilliant! There’s just something about the style of the way the characters have been drawn that really brings the whole book to life. The characters are colourful, fun and great for engaging children in the story and resources.
– Practical – What I particularly love about Leanne Brown’s book and well being resource pack is they arm children with practical, realistic and useful strategies that they can use as soon as they have finished reading! They can learn these techniques gently through listening to the story and then again through the specific activities in the well being resource pack. The strategies include taking deep breaths, realising that butterflies in your stomach can also mean excitement, focusing on your strengths and talking to others about your concerns. They are simple, yet effective strategies that children can see being used ‘in action’ by the characters in the book. I love the idea that children will think back to the book when they find themselves in situations where they are nervous and try out the strategies that Daniel uses in the book.
- Provides opportunities to open up about worries – To children, this book and well being resource pack may just look like a fun book and set of activities (which is great as it helps to engage children!) but what makes them special is they both provide countless opportunities for children to open up about their worries and talk to their families about them. It can be really difficult if you’re worried about a child’s mental well being as sometimes when you try to ask them about how they are feeling they may not want to explain. They may also not be able to understand and explain effectively how they are feeling. These books provide a gentle ‘way in’, a way to connect with children about how they are feeling without ‘interrogating’ them. Simply reading the book, chatting about the way the characters felt and the strategies they used to cope, can be a really powerful way of helping children to start to talk about how they feel.
- Helps parents and children understand what to look out for– One thing that we need to remember is whilst as adults we might understand what mental health concerns are, children may not understand their own feelings. For example, they may have experienced ‘butterflies’ in their tummy but not have understood what they meant or why they had them. The chapter book really helps to illustrate to families and children some of the things we can feel when we are worried. This could help build the foundations for children to develop an understanding of their own mental well being.
- Treasure Trove of Activities – I honestly couldn’t get over how many activities there were in the well being resource pack. It’s astonishing! Theres more than 90 pages of activities that can help individual children/small groups of children to understand and develop strategies for self esteem, anxiety, worries, anger etc. And each activity is well thought out, engaging for children and unique. From breathing techniques, to writing about times children were scared, to drawing pictures of their dreams. Each activity also links nicely to the book, helping to make it even more engaging for children.
Please note we received a copy of the resources for the purpose of this review and it is sponsored. All words and opinions are our own.