Help Manage Separation Anxiety with a Simple DIY Photo Book

separation anxiety tools for kidsWhen I stared this blog I never dreamed it would become my job or that I would go to conferences and speak about blogging to other bloggers. This week I am heading to BlogHer in San Jose to lead a writing lab about brainstorming. As I prepare I can see that my daughter is getting a little anxious. Over the years I have made different little activities for my children when I go away like this Kissing Hand Necklace and Mailbox Activity. I decided to make a little photo book because my daughter has always found peace in photos. When  she gets upset looking at photos of family has always helped her calm down. You can use this same tutorial for any kind of book not just one for when you are separated from your children.

Gather your materials. You will need some self laminating sheets ( or a laminator), photos or print outs of photo collages ( I used picmonkey.com to make mine) , a hole punch, scissors, and a small binder ring.separation anxiety

Start by making collages in a 4×6 size. As I said above I used picmonkey.com to make these because I like how easy it is to add text to the collages. When we are apart page layoutThis is the text I added :

Even if you aren’t tight in my arms, you are snug in my heart. My love for you is just the same when we are apart.

When I am gone build with cars and Lego, say hi to the deer, take care of your babies, and get some fro-yo.

When I am gone I am going to ride in a taxi, wait at the airport, fly on a plane, listen to speakers, teach some other bloggers, and see Ms. Maya.

If you miss me while I am gone look at all these photos and know that love can stretch all the way across the world.

My heart is always filled with you and I will hold your hand again in a few days.

Mama loves you no matter how far apart we are.

Create a cover page.

when we cover

Print them out and trim to a 4×6 sizephoto book tutorial

Use the self laminating sheets and laminate the photos. This step was SUPER easy and I picked up these sheets at RiteAid.photo book for kids

Time to punch the holes!photo book for children

Add the ring.when we are apart photo book for kids

Read the book.when we are part book for anxious kids I had my husband read the book to my daughter and I will read it to her many many times before I leave so that it’s familiar. We will talk about each photo and tell stories about them as well. I find it really helpful to tell my children what I will be doing while I am away as well. I never say I won’t miss them, instead I always say I will and then tell them how I handle the emotions and ask them how they do. Giving them control and not telling them what to do has always helped my children feel empowered with hard emotions. I love when they explain to me how they conquered something hard.  I also find the following books very helpful when dealing with any sort of separation anxiety.

Books For Separation Anxiety

All book lists include affiliate links.

kishand2

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is perfectly written for toddlers who are eager to “do it myself” but still need a loving parent safely within view.  Three baby owls wake to find their mom away and as time passes the three all get more anxious in their own ways. My daughter loves this book and completely related to poor little Bill who repeats ” I want my mommy!” over and over.  At night she is very much like little Bill, but during the day she is braver like the other two owls Sarah and Percy. No matter what level of separation anxiety your child may have at times they will relate to one or all of the little owls. Of course the story ends with mama coming back and reassuring her little owl babies that she always will.

mama always comes home

Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson was a last minute grab at the library that I am so thankful I saw. It starts off with animal mother’s leaving their babies, for all different reasons . A bird gathering food, a dog greeting his master and more. The animal mothers leave, but they also always return to their babies. Then it switches to a child and mother. She reassures the child that she will be back and we watch her leave, and return . I loved this book because my son isn’t the best when I leave him, he related to this book immediately and was repeating ” Mama always comes home!” half way through. { I originally reviewed this in 2009 and have since read it many times to my daughter who also needed those gentle reminders that I would always return. }

DIY Action Figure Story – Writing For Kids

simple kid made book writing activity Getting my son to read is no problem but when it’s time to write or draw he’s not as interested. Part of the reason is his expectations are much higher than his actual writing and drawing ability which are right on par with his age. I often feel the same way. One way to combat this but to still get him creating his own stories is to use descriptive photographs. For this book my son and I decided to use his Playmobil figurines and Melissa & Doug Castle and use the camera to shoot pictures of the action. This let my son focus on the story and not the illustrating. Don’t get me wrong drawing is important but choosing a few goals at once when it’s something challenging helps achieve those goals instead of piling on the frustration.  This is not part of our learning after school series because this took us a good hour and that series of posts are devoted to short activities to do after school. However it’s a great weekend activity for school age kids. For more tips on writing books with kids check out this guest post from The Reading Mama.

Start by deciding what you are going to use for your photographs. Action figures work well because you can pose them but you can use anything!kid made book working on set up

Next decide on your story.Set up the shots and shoot! Each shot will be it’s own page in the story. kid made book with action figures

After shooting look through the photos and decide which to keep and which to ditch. Print each photo with plenty of space to write under it . action figure books for kids

Choose a title and make a cover. kid made book with action figures

Time to write but before you do go through the photos and have your child tell the story. This works as a mental first draft. kid made playmobil book

Let them write it but help if they ask. I have a firm belief in invented spelling and encourage my son to sound out the words and write them how they sound. I know it can be hard to see your child write something incorrectly but spelling is developmental and this will help them develop a firmer understanding than simply memorizing. Telling them how to spell a word here or there will not harm them at all but allowing them lots of opportunities to work on it is beneficial.

kids made playmobil writing activity

Read to someone special. He was so proud to read it to his dad. kid made action figure book reading with daddy

 

Writing like reading is a non negotiable. If your child isn’t into soccer or jazz dance it’s not going to hurt them in the long run but not liking reading and writing will. So finding ways to make it fun is worth the effort.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

I Know What You Did Last Weekend

Home made
Picture Books !



Children love making books, and a book about what they did last weekend , or on a special family outing is a perfect way to help your child tell a story staring their favorite person!

  1. Before going on vacation, to the zoo etc… be ready to take a lot of pictures, and remember to take pictures of the things your child was really into. If your child was napping during the parade or didn’t see the dolphin show at the aquarium – don’t bother including those pictures. Talk to your child about what they see before you take the picture so when it comes time to recall it even younger ones will be able to!
  2. Once home, gather your materials. You will need some pictures of your outing/weekend , construction paper, crayons or markers, some glue or double stick tape ( I love this stuff!) and a stapler.
  3. Have your child decorate the pages before you add the pictures.
  4. Fold the paper in 2 to make multiple pages.
  5. Add the pictures , using double stick tape or glue . I suggest the double stick tape because it is easy, clean won’t make the pages stick together like glue will if it dribbles out.
  6. After adding a picture add some text, ask your child what the picture is of, and to tell you about it. Write verbatim what they tell you, if they are old enough have them write it!
  7. Staple the pages together, I ended up using ribbon and sewing it together because my art closet is a mess and I couldn’t find my stapler!
  8. Read the new book with your child!
***If you are doing this as a class, have enough pictures for each student to pick out a picture and tell you what is going on in it. When I would do this with a class the books always became favorites and we would read them all year long. The students loved to look back at how they’d changed over the school year too!


Books!

These are 3 new books I found at my library and wanted to share !

” A Kiss Goodbye” by Audrey Penn is a sequel to one of my favorite books ” The Kissing Hand” . In this book Chester the little raccoon has to leave his home to move to anther tree because his is being chopped down. I love that Audrey Penn has tackled the subject of moving because it is such a stressful and scary event for so many children, and this book really addresses those feelings. The text is too long for toddlers in my experience but preschoolers will sit and listen, to this wonderful story.

” Little Baby Bobby” by Nancy Van Laan is a story about Bobby and his runaway stroller, oh and his babysitter Britta who chases after him. We follow Bobby all over town as a larger and larger group of people join the chase, all the while bumping into things and Bobby is happily bouncing along. The illustrations are fun, the text has cute rhymes but over all this is just an ok book. My son sat for a few pages but wasn’t too thrilled. It’s worth a look if you are at the library though!

” Scaredy Squirrel makes a friend” by Melanie Watt is hilarious! I laughed out loud from start to finish, my son who is 18 months old didn’t get the humor at all but laughed at me laughing! Older preschoolers will get most of the humor though and like my son, will love the pictures ! Here is my favorite line : in very small print on the inside cover it reads ” * Caution: this story not suitable for walruses. ” Oh how I laughed ! The dry humor aside, the book follows an anxious squirrel looking for a friend , but one that is safe and won’t bite! Of course the message is about taking risks and kids will get it! I love this book!