7 Ingredients for Bibliotherapy with Kids

7 things you need to do bibliotherapy at home with your kids for their emotional resilience

Today I’ll share:

  • Who can do bibliotherapy
  • What qualifications are needed to do bibliotherapy with your kids
  • What 7 things you need to do bibliotherapy

Who can do bibliotherapy?

Every child needs guidance through life’s ups and downs, especially through the “downs.”

Every child needs guidance through life’s ups and downs, especially through the “downs.”

All children need stories to teach them what it means to be human, and what it means to face the obstacles and triumphs that come along with a human life.

The information and other materials presented by The Bibliotherapy Project are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to substitute for medical or mental health advice. Professional therapy should (and can) only be done by professional counselors, as we’ve discussed on this site before.

So if you’re a parent, teacher, grandparent, aunt, uncle, librarian or other caring adult and you’re wondering what you need to do bibliotherapy with your kids, here are seven things that will definitely help:

1. Attentiveness

If you want to do bibliotherapy with your children, the first step is to pay attention to their current circumstances and emotional challenges.

Paying attention is the first and most important step, as that will not only point you to the right resources, but your child may well notice your attentiveness and feel more secure because of it.

Attentiveness is the first step in finding the right books for your child.

2. Compassion

There’s no point in doing bibliotherapy if you don’t want the child to be better for it.

Compassion for the child will help them know that you want the best for them. It will also make the experience far more rewarding for you as you watch them grow.

3. Books

Bibliotherapy *could* be done with oral storytelling, but for the most part, we rely on picture books.

Picture books have so many benefits for children, and are a great way to break the ice about a tough topic and to borrow an author’s words to explain something tricky.

4. Willingness to Read Aloud

Reading aloud does not require a degree. You don’t even have to be “good” at it.

Trip over words. Stumble. It doesn’t matter.

Your child will appreciate that you are there with them, which leads us to…

Make the time to read-aloud to your child.

5. Time

Setting aside daily time to read aloud does wonders for a child’s emotional development (not to mention character and intellectual development).

That time may feel hard to come by, but if you make it a priority, your child with gain from it.

Reading aloud to your child just fifteen minutes a day can change his life.

6. “Listening Ears”

As we say to children, put on your “listening ears.” When you’re reading with the child, when she asks questions, don’t interrupt.

Listen first, and then answer. Or, answer with another question to prompt further discussion.

Help her engage with the story by listening closely, and try to understand why she asked those particular questions.

7. Good Judgment

In the end, use your best judgment.

If your child is not ready to face a circumstance, you may wish to wait to read them books that approach the topic head-on. Opt for a story that touches the topic only slightly, or wait.

Finally, don’t overwhelm your child with too many tough topic books. Read laugh-out-loud hilarious books too.

You’re here to guide them through all emotions, not just the tough ones.

What have you found helpful in doing bibliotherapy with your kids? Please leave a comment below!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

Sincerely, Theresa Kiser

About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a mother and award-winning children’s book author passionate about connecting children with the books that will help them through life’s inevitable tough times. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.

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