As a RECE and a Resource Consultant who has worked with children in licensed childcare for more than 30 years, I love good quality children’s books. Over the years, I have acquired quite a large collection of my all-time favourites. The most recent addition to my personal collection is a board book that I found in our CISS library called Calm-Down Time by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlin.
Part of the Toddler Tools series, this board book has sturdy pages and beautiful drawings in muted colours, but that is only part of its appeal. The rhyming text is brilliant in its simplicity. It acknowledges feelings of sadness and angry (“Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m mad!”) and teaches and reinforces the strategies that children and adults can use to calm themselves when they are feeling sad, mad and/or out of control: take a deep breath, take a break in a calm-down place, ask for a hug, rock back and forth or side to side, sing a quiet song or talk.
The last 2 pages of the board book provide the following “Calm-Down Tips for Parents and Caregivers”: stay calm, show empathy, help solve the problem, have a cozy calm-down area, be nearby, help end the break, teach and practice calm-down tools, and redirect.
This precious book is what I call “a keeper”. Its repetitive text can be used like a self-care mantra “1, 2, 3 – I’m taking care of me!” It can support us as educators and/or parents as we model and teach the calm down techniques that will serve well both them and us as necessary skills for life.
I highly recommend this board book for all parents and educators of toddlers and preschoolers. Consider checking it out (if you haven’t already!) and encourage the children in your lives to practice the calm down techniques when they are calm so that they know how to use these strategies when they are most needed!
Rebecca Vosper, RECE
CISS Resource Consultant Team Leader