Friday, May 25, 2007

What? A Bad Day?

"When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad... You should do what I do," wrote Dr. Seuss in Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?. In this book, we meet an old man who instructs us that there is always someone worse off than us. But no matter who we are, we all have bad days.

One of my favorite books for children on this subject is:

Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt. In this book, Horace is having a terrible day and arrives home feeling very mean. Lucky for Horace, mom knows just what to do to make it better - they'll make "mean soup"!

Other popular books on this subject are Dinah's Mad, Bad Wishes by Barbara M. Joose;

When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang (1999).
"A young girl is upset and doesn't know how to manage her anger but takes the time to cool off and regain her composure."

Sometimes I'm Bombaloo by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Yumi Heo (2001).
"When Katie Honors feels angry and out of control, her mother helps her to be herself again."

Numerous books have been written for young children on dealing with emotions such as anger, feeling sad, and other difficult feelings. But what about when it is the adult in their lives that is having a bad day? It can be confusing or scary when mom, dad or the caregiver is having a bad day. While it's unrealistic to expect parents and caregivers to be happy and always having a good day, there are ways to talk about your feelings with your small child. This can help them recognize their own emotions and begin learning how to manage them. Here are a few picture book suggestions that discuss this very situation:

When Mommy Was Mad by Lynne Jonell, illustrated by Petra Mathers (2002).
"A young boy helps his mother realize how her bad mood is affecting everyone in the family."

When Owen's Mom Breathed Fire by Pija Lindenbaum, translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard (2006).
"Owen wakes up one morning to find that his mother has turned into a dragon!" This book uses humor to relate a child's experience with his grumpy mom.

And often that's just what it takes - a little bit of humor to turn a bad day into a great one!

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