People often ask me, “When does it get easier?”
Now my kids are six and four, putting their own shoes on, wiping their own butts… okay we’re still working on that, but they are definitely feeding themselves and socializing… Anyway, my point is they’re more physically independent, and that’s great! As the physical needs fade, your body returns to yourself a little more. You’ve got time to figure out who you are as a person, and the emotional needs start to grow.
The challenges never wane, they shift from physical needs to emotional needs, the more your child is exposed to “real life.” This is why every kid’s shelf needs The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas.
In fact, get two and put one on your bookshelf too. Couple this with Disney Pixar’s Inside Out and you’ve just created an emotional support media package for the whole family. Much like how Inside Out opened up the conversation around emotions, The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings is a younger kid book prequel (not canon, just in my fandom head), getting you acquainted with what they are and how to “sort” them.
In this whimsically delightful book, Sally sees the color monster is all mixed up. Monster is unsure what they’re feeling, so in order to help Monster, the reader must help them both learn about and sort their colors, or emotions.
The book teaches the reader about the different emotions the Monster is feeling. Happy is represented by yellow and sunshine. Blue is sad, rainy, and my absolute favorite page. The book teaches us what our emotions are so we can sort them into their own jars. It’s a great tool to promote conversations about emotions, or a way for a child to sort through them on their own.
My two neurodivergent kids pull it out for storytime at night and any time they need some help sorting their emotions. They don’t have to tell you what they’re feeling to sort their feelings out. They can also read it to help communicate with you how something makes them feel. It’s a great visual cue with the use of colors.
This book helps sort similar feelings—happy versus calm or fear versus anger. The pop-up format gives children a surprising visual experience, but also a tactile one. The unique use of strings, pop-up medium, and color create a book that never gets boring. There is something interesting to look at or do on every page, creating a real sense of control for the reader.
[See Also: Using Books to Help Children Identify Emotions]
I’ve pulled it out on those really emotional parenting days when I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. It’s an essential part of anyone’s library, kids or no kids. Curl up after a hard day with this lovely book, Inside Out on the television, and a pint of chocolate ice cream. We need all the help we can get.