I think we can all be honest - this past year has been one of big feelings. With so many uncertainties, heartache, loss, and change, it’s easy for any adult to get overwhelmed and encumbered by the weight of it all. But guess what? We adults aren’t the only ones who have been living this. Feeling this. Our kids are in the thick of it with us, and they’re learning from us how to handle all of these hardships and all of their big feelings.
I have four little boys, the youngest of which was born in November of 2019, so he’s almost exclusively known life inside of this pandemic. But, the other three remember friends. They remember play dates and trips to the children’s museum and frozen yogurt and getting to go with Daddy to work on Fridays. They remember grocery shopping adventures and birthday breakfasts eating out as a family and their Grandparents coming to visit. And they miss those things, terribly. And they have some incredibly big feelings about it all.
Emotional intelligence is a big focus within our home. We talk about our feelings. We do guided journaling with our boys. We take time to practice mindful moments and checking in with our own selves. I am constantly on the hunt for tools to give them to help them continue to learn that their feelings are valid, that they have a time and a place, and that we are here to help them work through each one, good or bad. Books are always such a wonderful way to help kids visualize their feelings and a way to work through them. Being able to see a physical representation of their emotions helps them validate those feelings and understand that they are allowed to feel them. But, as I’m sure we all know, sometimes we get stuck in the big ones.
Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls is a beautifully illustrated story that explores the idea that hard times will happen, but they won’t be that way forever. Each page is bursting with colorful art that will captivate readers young and old and draw you in to the realization that there is beauty in the heartache, because the brokenness makes room for growth and healing. This book opens up the opportunity to discuss things in your child’s life that may be making them sad, frustrated, or angry, and gives them room to imagine the joy they want for themselves on the other end of those big feelings. It serves as the perfect reminder that there is always hope, and
the rain has to come before the rainbow.
Taking the time to ask your child(ren) questions as you work through the story will help them identify their emotions and relate to the story. Sometimes, I ask the boys if they can think of a time they felt similarly to the words we read on a page. Other times, I ask them how the illustrations on a certain page make them feel. Each time we journey through this book the boys are able to discuss and work through something new, I gain a new understanding of how their little heads and hearts work, and we all walk away from it feeling more hopeful for what’s to come. One thing is for certain, Rain Before Rainbows is the perfect splash of color for anyone’s personal library, especially in this season of big feelings.