Saturday, 16 April 2011

Helping children through tough times

Children, during their early lives, undergo a huge amount of change but thankfully most of them are quite adaptable. Different children face a whole range of experiences, and some of them face tougher times than others. It can be really hard for children to talk about difficult things - like family break-up, bereavement, and bullying, for example.

Partnership for Children, a charity that promotes emotional and mental well-being of children throughout the world, has worked with Book Trust to produce two guides recommending story books to help children cope with difficult feelings or situations. Reading books about a relevant subject is a really good way to start a conversation with a child about difficulties in their life. A story can offer perspective on a child's own situation, open up to parents or carers and help them find a way to cope with it.

I've been sent both guides to have a look at. There's one aimed at children aged 5 to 8, and the other at children aged 9 to 12, and the books are grouped into sections relevant to the age range, with a brief review of each book, an indication of reading age and interest level. All books (in total, over 100 across the two guides) can be ordered from the Partnership with Children website. If you do that, the charity will receive a percentage of the sale price to help support their work with children. PDFs of both booklets are also available on the site,  and paper copies have recently been sent to 23,000 primary schools and over 3,500 libraries across the country.

I think the guides are a brilliant idea. I can see that talking about the story in the book rather than their own situation is likely to be easier for both parent and child alike, and a story about someone else going through the same things will help a child to feel less isolated. I feel grateful that my children haven't had too many difficult situations to cope with, but I'm thinking of getting one book for Monkey called Angry Arthur as we do have occasional problems with anger issues with him, and I'll know where to turn in future if either or both of them face their own tough times. Some of the books are great reads anyway - both Monkey and Missy Woo have enjoyed "I am too absolutely small for school" (a Charlie and Lola book) for some time and still enjoy reading it now.

We all want our children to have happy childhoods and protect them from harm and upset. That's not always possible. What we can do is support them through the tough times - and these guides will help parents everywhere to do just that. Please take a look at the guides on Partnership for Children and support this great project.

(I was sent both guides to review but I have not been paid to write this post. I have written this post because I think it's a worthwhile project that I'm happy to support on this blog.) 
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