R U OK? Tips for talking to children about their feelings

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Little children can have big feelings, and books are a great tool to help you talk together about feelings, fears or worries.

R U OK? Day is a national day of action reminding everyone that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” and support those struggling with life's ups and downs. It’s usually associated with grown-ups, but it’s for children too!

The message for R U OK? Day 2020 is “There’s More to Say after R U OK?” You can find free resources and tip sheets on staying connected and supporting someone who says they’re not OK on the R U OK? website.   

Talking with children 

Good mental health is key to the healthy development and wellbeing of every child. Children’s mental health can be influenced by many things including family circumstances and life events.

When talking with young children about mental health be open and honest and let them know their feelings are relevant and important. Sharing picture books on the topic can be a good way to talk about their emotions using language that is appropriate to their age.   

Finding a quiet moment and sharing a story can help you to speak with young children about their feelings.

Picture books on emotions 

These books can help you to share conversations with your child about the way they’re feeling:

  • It's Ok to Feel the Way You Do by Josh LangleyFull of simple and effective ways to help children handle difficult emotions like anger, anxiety, and loss and rejoice in the positive Also available on Story Box Library.   
  • Mr Huff by Anna Walker. A beautifully illustrated book about a little boy who has a bad day and gets in a huff. Simple and charming language to share with your child.  
  • Slow Down World by Tai Snaith.  A gentle reminder to slow down and make time to appreciate the world around us 

Online books and resources

Useful books like Birdie and the Virus and Birdie and the Fire can help children to understand large-scale recent events like the bushfires or the pandemic. They are available on the Queensland Health website.  

You can also ask your local public library staff for a book that suits your needs, or ask them about access to the eresource Story Box Library to find a book online that you can share with your little one.

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