Print and make your own mask!
Make a behaviour chart
Make your own behaviour chart
Animal Friend Fact Files
Fun to read and helpful in the Making Masks activity
You can print out the giant raspberry and stick it on your child’s wall (see the pages for the other books for more printable word pictures!) or make a mobile and hang them from your child’s bedroom ceiling. These printables contain the foundational messages of each book, and are affirming, encouraging words to speak into your child’s life. You might recognise them from the books, where they’ve been scattered amongst the grass, raindrops, animal paws, stars, raspberries and more…
Making things right before you go to sleep:
‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph. 4:26–27)
In The Magnificent Raspberry Mountain, Miniphant’s friends were ‘bearing with him’, which means they were patient – even when he was not, and they tried to help him – even when he was not being grateful or using kind words. And when Miniphant realised that he had let his hanger get the better of him, he said sorry and asked them to forgive him. The Bible encourages us to do just that in Colossians 3:13.
‘Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ (Col. 3:13)
In The Magnificent Raspberry Mountain, Miniphant learns about anger. Helping our children to acknowledge, understand and deal with their anger can make a huge difference – whether it’s simply the frustrations of learning to share, or anger stemming from deeper hurts that need more attention.*
*At this point I would urge anyone who knows that a child in their care does have deeper hurts (or suspects that they may) to seek professional advice early. If you are concerned about a child in your care, there is a list below of websites and professional bodies which can help. The main thing is not to feel like you have to do this on your own. There is so much help and support available, and possibly closer than you think. You can speak to your school, home-school link worker, doctor, play therapists, art therapists etc. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, and that’s OK!
Example of anger-root management:
Mole feels angry when she bumps into things. This is because she’s hurting from the bump. It is also because she can’t see very well, which makes her sad and cross, because she wants to be good at seeing, like her friends are. Mole knows she is loved by her friends, so she bravely tells them the truth about her hidden thoughts. This gives her friends a chance to encourage her and understand her better. They might even be able to tell her something good about the very thing she is sad about – like the fact that because her eyesight is not very good, her sense of smell is much stronger than theirs because she uses it more! It helps Mole feel happier on the inside and the outside when she learns with her friends about how wonderfully made we are, each in different ways.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you. (Psa. 139:13–18)
What is Emotional Literacy and Mental Health?
Why is it important to invest time in developing it in children from such a young age?
Emotional Literacy is used to describe our ability to understand and show feelings. It includes having self-awareness and being able to recognise different feelings and how to manage them.
Mental Health is understanding that just as our physical health (or bodies) must be maintained, treated if damaged and cared for – the same is true of our mental health (or thought patterns). It covers our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Whether we are feeling mentally healthy or mentally ill, it all has an impact on how we think, feel and act. It is important to recognise what our own mental health state is as we grow, so that we can look after it. Children are dependent on their parents/carers/wider family and family friends to look after them, raise them, teach them and show them how to look after their thoughts. Helping children to develop age-appropriate awareness, foundational understanding and skills from a young age will help support their growth as a person.
In the first five years of a child’s life, they are beginning to respond, process and perceive the world presented to them. These early years shape a child’s future – and we want to do our best to set them up for a strong, healthy, well rounded future! Children learn what is modelled to them. If a child hears you say one thing but do something else, they won’t believe that your words are true – because it’s not what’s being modelled. These impressionable years are very visual learning days. We need to be mindful of what we are modelling and why we are modelling it, if we want to grow healthy-minded children.
Statistics show a continual rise in adult and youth mental health related illness today. It’s a big topic and causes huge concerns and implications for every sector of society, and in our family homes. This can have an impact on children too – by what they observe from those around them. Children whose early years foundations are impacted by poor mental health and a lack of emotional awareness and understanding will often struggle in these areas themselves, as they grow.
As the next generation, let’s increase our efforts to nurture and teach our children – helping them to grow a healthy understanding of how our thoughts and feelings impact ourselves and the people around us. Equipping children with these skills from a young age will increase their resilience, empathy and social skills in the future.
The Miniphant & Me books are a resource as well as endearing bedtime stories, designed purposely to support adults in developing their child’s emotional literacy and mental health. They also look at the child from a holistic perspective – offering activities to equip their social skills, explore their creativity and grow their souls spiritually from a Christian viewpoint.
The books use a mix of humour, colour, detail and real images alongside carefully crafted narrative – to engage the child visually, while learning and building their emotional and mental foundational layers in a positive, constructive and helpful way.
My hope is that the books, activities, webpage material and links to other service providers will all contribute to the resource pot for adults to use, equipping them to help, support and grow our children’s Emotional Literacy and Mental Health in early childhood.