Helping your little one navigate all their big emotions of toddlerhood and beyond is a daunting and, can be quite frankly on occasions, a difficult and harrowing experience.
Exeter based Musician & Educator, Laura Loft and Illustrator Nia Gould’s beautiful book ‘Big Emotions’ opens up children’s imaginations with a fun and exciting storyline and illustrations. But this book is so much more than that. It is a wonderful way to start conversations about feelings, how to recognise them and how to regulate them: it’s a mental wellbeing toolkit.
The boy and his cat venture on a journey, during which they experience an array of emotions: excitement, surprise, fear, disgust, sadness, anger, trust and joy. The young readers join the boy on his journey and develop an awareness of all of his different emotions. To help children regulate their emotions they first need to recognise them, which is the concept of Big Emotions. Then the little readers learn it’s ok to have these feelings, indeed other people have them too. The story introduces different ways in which the boy tries to regulate his emotions – often using his feather or cat for help – that the children may like to use themselves when having their own ‘big emotions’. Especially now, more than ever, this awareness of our emotions and mental wellbeing is so vital.
The mindful music, audio reading of the story with an instrumental soundtrack and interactive song ‘I am calm’, is enthralling and engaging for young minds.
The idea for Big Emotions was born from Laura’s own experience of helping her young son navigate his own ‘big emotions’ at the same time as managing her own health issues of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E and Fibromyalgia (- I urge everyone to read Laura’s own immensely powerful life story here: https://www.lauraloftmusic.com/story)
‘I wondered how I could guide him through and provide him with a mental health wellbeing toolkit to use when his ‘Big Emotions’ come knocking. In order for children to regulate their emotions they need to be able to firstly recognise them. They need to know that it is ok to feel these big emotions, that they will come and go and have some ideas of how to deal with them.
My son witnessed a lot of my symptoms and I struggled to manage the emotional guilt I felt at not being able to give what I wanted due to my illness and often tried knee jerk reactions to no avail. When I tried to really acknowledge his emotions and consistently followed a script of words and actions to help, we were able to identify them and deal with them.’
Personally, I love the way in which Laura helped her own child through his big emotions:
Acknowledged the emotion and named it
‘I see you are having big emotions,
I see you are feeling angry’
Validating the emotions
‘It is ok to have big emotions and feel angry’
Set boundaries to keep him and others safe
‘It is NOT ok to (hit/bite/hurt yourself or others) when you feel angry’
‘I will sit with you until your big emotions pass’ (comfort).
Finding a place to let the emotions out safely
‘Would you like to… (bash a pillow, hit a drum, tear up paper, scribble on paper, shout, jump?)’
Alongside the book, there is access to the music and audio files for free and some lovely emotion Flash cards and colouring postcards to continue the conversation.
Visit www.lauraloftmusic.com to find out more.
Where to buy
- Big Emotions is available from Laura’s online shop and if you quote LittleDevon15 you’ll get a #LittleDevonDiscount of 15% off individual items;
- Maker Mart in Gandy Street Exeter; or
- Through Little Devon’s Amazon affiliate link here:
Read even more about it over on our Little Devon Christmas Market here: https://littledevon.co.uk/laura-loft-music/
PR product: Laura kindly sent Little Devon a copy of Big Emotions so we can review it honestly.