Do Kids Need Self-Help Books or Is Mom Enough?

Heather Chaet

self-help booksThe new phrase that's getting old really quick is "There's an app for that." And there is an app for almost anything these days -- dyeing Easter eggs (thanks to Martha Stewart), confessing your sins, even doing bedtime when miles away from your kiddos. Now there's an app to teach your kids how to deal with their emotions. The Grouchies is an iPad app that helps kids cope with, well, the grouchies. Magination Press, part of The American Psychological Association, developed it.

Quite different than Angry Birds, this app teaches our kids about emotions, about difficult grumpy days. Self-help apps, self-help books, same thing basically. This is nothing new, I guess ... there have been self-help books for kids on the bookshelves for years now. Just one quick search at Amazon, and you get page after page of books for small kids all about dealing with feelings, with anger, with stress.

Hmmm, teaching my kid how to deal with these types of emotions ... isn't that my job?

Yes, yes, it is my job ... and that is exactly why I buy self-help books like this and apps like The Grouchies. Because I want to make sure I am doing the right job, the best job I can while helping Kiddo deal with "big feelings," as we call them in our house. I think these books and apps help me almost more than her. They give me good words, key phrases to be able to talk to her about feeling scared or getting worried. After a full day of work, when I'm tired and have 50 other things on my brain, a little nudge, a bit of guidance from one of these books is just what I need to be able to talk about a difficult day she may have had.

But that is the key, folks. These self-help kids books are good, but only as good as the parent makes them. They aren't books to just hand over to the kid and let her figure it out on her own. No, you have to read them with her. I don't sit her down with my husband's iPad, flick on The Grouchies app, and then go do the dishes. I do it with her. We talk about how to come to me or Daddy when she has those feelings and reinforce what she can do to feel better when she's having a big feeling about leaving a fun playdate (aka a meltdown).

Yes, I love there are apps and books to help me be a better parent. Self-help kids' books and apps are like winning the parent lottery. Wait a minute ... winning the lottery ... is there an app for that?

Do you buy your child self-help books?


Image via whgrad/Flickr

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