Small children can have very big emotions. These emotions can feel overwhelming, frustrating and even scary for them. Because they are so new at dealing with emotions and developing social skills often they find themselves buried in these emotions to the point where they don’t know how to express them or what to do with them. This can result in outbursts and compulsive choices.
I am no psychologist, just a mother making observations and that is something that I feel I have observed. As a mom, I also feel that it is part of my responsibility to try and teach my kids how to deal with these big emotions. I know that a lot of it they will figure out as they go, but it is my personal belief that they really benefit from some direction from a loving adult. I want to empower them with the reassurance that it is okay to feel big emotions and equip them with strategies to help them manage them.
Below are some books that are focused on helping small children deal with the big emotion of anger. Some of them help children to recognize how they feel when they are angry and almost all of them are excellent for introducing a strategy or two for helping children manage their anger in an effective way. They cover everything form taking a time out, to relaxed breathing. I hope that you find them helpful in your home for your little children.
“When Sophie Gets Angry– Really, Really Angry” by Molly Bang- This one is an award winning book for a reason. It tells about a little girl named Sophie and what she does to calm down when she is angry. In this story she takes a time out, runs, goes in her favorite spot, spends time alone and then returns to her activities when she is calm. Such a great process for any young child to follow when angry.
“How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague- The first half of this book lists things that you shouldn’t do when you are mad followed by a few simple suggestions (such as counting and relaxed breathing) of what you should do to manage anger. The illustrations and the silliness of the fact that it features dinosaurs is especially appealing to young children.
“Tiny Tantrum” by Caroline Crowe- In this story a young girl struggles with having Tantrums, however one day some friendly monsters show up to help her manage her anger throughout the day. They help her to realize the “whys” for doing things that she may not like and help her to have a different, more positive perspective.
“No More Tantrums (Big Kid Power)” by Maria van Lieshout- This is a short and sweet book that shares the example of a fictional character as she describes how she used to throw tantrums but now she uses the techniques such as counting to calm down. It is perfect for short reminders and repetitive reading of techniques that you may be working on with your kids for anger management.
“When Miles Got Mad” by Sam Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller- This story is about a little boy named Miles who, when he got mad, looked in the mirror and came face to face with his anger in the form of a monster. This helpful monster teaches him techniques that Miles can use to make him (and hence the feeling of anger) go away. Not only is the format clever, but I love how this book shares not only calming techniques, but describes the feeling of anger and the physiological effects it can have in terms children will understand.
“I Don’t Want To!” by Joseph Maxfield and Nate Anderson- This book focuses on the technique of using imagination to turn mundane, everyday experiences into fun. I love that it teaches children that they have the power to control the situations they are in as well as their attitude. I also appreciate that the format goes through several applicable examples (such as having to go to school) that children can relate to.
“Llama Llama Mad At Mama” by Anna Dewdney- This book goes through a scenario that many toddlers will definitely relate with of little Llama who finds himself at the grocery story and getting more and more upset about it. It climaxes into him throwing a tantrum where, with a little help from mom, they are able to turn things around and finish their trip on a positive note. I think the strength in this one is in the darling text and illustrations as well as a very relatable scenario.
“When I feel Angry” by Cornelia Maude Spelman and Nancy Cote- This one is incredibly comprehensive on helping to teach children manage anger. It covers everything from examples of what might make you angry, to techniques to deal with anger, to understanding what may or may not be in your control. It is jam packed with information and would be excellent for more lengthy discussions and repetitive reading and revisiting. Love it!
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