What to do with those big feelings? Local mom writes book giving kids tools to cope with emotions

BOSTON — Kids are resilient. We hear that saying often. But during mental health awareness month, it’s important to recognize our children can also be going through things that are often too difficult for them to communicate with their parents. A local mom wrote a book to help break down the communication barrier and open up the conversation about what feelings might be weighing on their minds.

Life may seem carefree for young kids, but Milton mom of three, Christine Evans, noticed beneath those big smiles, her daughters were starting to experience some pretty big feelings.

“I wanted to have something for them to do,” said Evans, author of “Worry Cloud.” “So they knew, and they felt empowered to know what to do with those big feelings.”

She wrote her first children’s book “Worry Cloud” teaching parents and their kids, not to dismiss certain emotions.

“You have the child say their worry out loud, they pull it from their mind,” said Evans. “So they physically kind of can feel that big emotion leaving their body. They put it in the worry cloud’s little storm bag. They take a deep breath in through their mouth and they blow it away.”

Christine created the storm cloud character that comes to life in the book through rhyme and song.

“Music helps with mindfulness so much with children, and it gets them to engage with the book and the character in a whole new way and also helps them to remember what to do,” said Evans.”

“We read it a lot at bedtime,” said Calli McPherson, a mother of two boys.

Calli McPherson says even though she is aware of her children’s feelings, knowing how to start those conversations isn’t as easy.

“We all have anxieties and we all have worries,” said McPherson. “So regardless of what you think is happening, it’s just a great way to have that conversation with your kids and to give both of them and yourself the tools to have that open, honest conversation.”

The book also teaches kids not to hang on to those big feelings

“Even saying that saying their worry or their fear out loud, first of all, helps to get it out of their minds,” said Evans. “And then as their parent or teacher or caregiver, you can help them to know what to do with that and to say, you know what? You don’t have to hold on to that feeling. And it really does make a huge difference. And you can see after they’ve shared it with you, there’s they lighten up a little bit and then they can move on from that thought.”

The book is intended for a wide age range—from toddlers to pre-teens. Christine says she hopes if the technique is taught at a young age, it will help later too.

“It really helps to build social emotional intelligence by having them be able to say, hey, this is what I’m feeling and know that it’s okay to share it and then have someone help to comfort them,” said Evans. “That really does help. It builds confidence and it helps them to be able to cope as they get older with some of those big emotions as they as they experience them.”

According to the Institute of Child Psychology, three out of five young people experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness within the last year. Parents may first notice the signs in kids under age five, which can make these types of tools for coping so important.

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