Reading books about recovery with children can be healing and helpful. It can assist children in building confidence and self-esteem. Books offer important coping skills and may alleviate your child’s feelings of isolation, reinforce their creativity, and teach them good problem-solving skills.
Children are inclined to become involved with the characters in stories. They not only identify with the feelings of the characters, but are able to identify those feelings within themselves.
Stories help demonstrate that facing a problem is the first step toward solving it. Often different ways to solve a problem are presented as well.
Books allow you to have non-threatening discussions about the characters and the issues they face. The stories often validate two key points; that others have similar problems and sometimes solutions to those problems take effort.
You can discuss the character’s problem with questions like…
“What do you think….would say if….?”
“What do you think….would do if….?”
You can help your child gain insight into their own life, by asking open-ended questions like…
“How do you think….felt when….?”
“How are you like….?”
“How are you different than…..?”
Additionally you can guide your child by asking…
“If you could tell him or her one thing about you what would it be?”
“If you could help….what would you tell him or her?”
Let’s face it. Some conversations are just plain awkward. Let me commend you for your efforts to address uncomfortable topics with your child. First and foremost, spend the necessary time to explore and locate literature that deals with your particular circumstance. Whether it be recovery, illness, death, poverty, disaster, divorce, and/or disability, take time to search for the right book that suits your child’s temperament, age, gender, and level of maturity. Make sure you read the material first to ensure you are comfortable with the way the information is presented. Only you can evaluate how your child will respond to the characters or stories.
To build on these materials, you can also do various art projects. Drawing the characters or things they like to do opens the door to conversation in a non-threatening way.
Writing activities can also be an effective way to explore the subject. Some children like to write about their favorite character to explain what they like about them and why they are special.
The ancient Greeks believed in the importance of reading both psychologically and spiritually. No wonder they placed signs above their library doors to demonstrate their belief. The sign proclaimed the library to be a “Healing Place for the Soul”.
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney