AD – We were sent a copy of How I Feel – 40 wellbeing activities for kids – to review. Please see full disclaimer at the end of this post.
The pandemic affected lots of us in different ways, but for children aged 4 to 6 they missed out on a huge part of their formative years. The stage when they should have been discovering the world around them and starting to bond with people (both adults and children) outside of their immediate family was kept away from them. We might never fully know what the impact on this generation is, but professionals who work with young children are already saying that they can see the effect on them. Lockdown was a trauma for them, and their families, and so thinking about these children’s wellbeing from an early age is paramount. That’s why, in my opinion, How I Feel is perfectly timed.
They say that first impressions count and that as exactly the case with How I Feel. The postman delivered it just as I was about to dash out somewhere, and so my copy was left on the dining table and as soon as my husband brought our five year old daughter home from school she immediately spotted it and the lovely animal characters on the cover and wanted to know what it was. The fact that with a term and a bit of Reception phonics under her belt she could actually read the book’s title made it even more special for her.
Assia Ieradi’s cute animal characters run throughout the book and my daughter loved seeing what they were up to in the pictures and talking about what she thought their feelings might be in certain situations.
Talking about how children feel is something which younger generations are encouraged to do much more than I was in childhood. For young children understanding their own emotions and responses to situations can be quite overwhelming, and sometimes just giving them the vocabulary to help can make a huge difference. That’s where How I Feel starts perfectly in my opinion; helping children find the words to describe how they feel. With activities that the children can work through alongside an adult it can also help them think about what effect their own actions can have on other people’s feelings and so develop a sense of empathy.
Working with children’s feelings
Once children have got to grips with understanding their own feelings they can start to think about how they can help change how they feel. How I Feel has sections on Happier, Kinder, Calmer and Braver and activities that children can complete to help increase how they feel in these directions.
Whilst a slightly older child might be able to look through the book themselves and pick up ideas of what might help them in particular situations, it can also give an adult a head start on what might help their child based on what they can see they are experiencing at the time.
In the week we were reviewing this book the Calmer section was the most appropriate for how my daughter was feeling and so we together did the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise where children are introduced to being mindful. We named 5 things we could see, 4 things we could touch, 3 things we could hear and 2 things we could smell and one thing we could taste. It was a really grounding and bonding thing to do together.
The activity on making calm choices also helped her remember that you can choose to do things that you know will help you feel calm. Again, it was a great way of me understanding better what makes her feel calm, as it might not necessarily be what I think makes her feel calm.
Our thoughts on How I Feel
What worked so well for us with How I Feel is that fact that the book echoes much of the language that they use in my daughter’s school to refer to feelings and emotions. When we looked at several pages together she was able to immediately identify links with things she had spoken about at school. The Find Your Happy Helpers activity is similar to the “helping hand” that all children complete at her school, and she talked animatedly about the different people that you might have on a helping hand for when you feel scared compared with a helping hand for when you feel sad.
What I also love about How I Feel is how accessible it is to young children. Whilst they might not be able to read everything themselves, the lovely illustrations and friendly style instantly helps children bond with the book and trust it. I’m fortunate enough to count author Becky as one of my friends, and her chatty, kind and supportive personality shines through on every page. Whilst my daughter may not have seen Becky since she was about one, I could see her instantly connect with what was written. It’s a powerful book that manages to do that so quickly.
Where to buy How I Feel
How I Feel was published on 1 February 2024 and is available to buy online here. It has an RRP of £9.99, but at the time of writing there’s a whopping 16% off.
The How I feel Blogger Book Tour
You can find more extracts and Ideas from How I Feel by taking a look at the rest of the book tour bloggers posts
- Feb 1 Who’s the Mummy
- Feb 2 We’re going on an Adventure
- Feb 5 Penny Reads
- Feb 6 In the Playroom
- Feb 7 Rainy Day Mum
- Feb 8 Ummah
- Feb 9 Life Loving
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of How I Feel for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on these links and make a purchase from Amazon I will receive a small commission, but it will cost you no more than usual. Many thanks for any purchases you do make. They are very much appreciated.