“Please Explain ‘Anxiety’ to Me” is a book written by Laurie Zelinger, PhD, and her son Jordan Zelinger and, illustrated by Elisa Sabella which is designed to help explain anxiety, or unnecessary worry, to children. Many children including mine, experience some forms of anxiety, especially when they are in the unknown or after going through a difficult time. Their little bodies will show some physical symptoms when they worry, and this book helps to explain the physical reactions of the body during those anxious moments.
Dr Zelinger, who used to worry a lot when she was a kid, connects readers by using the story of dinosaurs and how their reactions are similar to humans when they experienced anxiety. The book begins by talking about the plant eating dinosaurs which are often afraid of the meat eating dinosaurs since the meat eating dinosaurs can only eat… well, dinosaur meat! As such, the smaller plant eating dinosaurs are often afraid of the bigger meat eating dinosaurs. This causes the plant eating or smaller dinosaurs to worry about the dangers around them all the time.
The author has cleverly used the concept of the ‘switch’ which she called it the ‘Sympathetic Nervous System’ to explain how we can turn on and off our nervous system when we are faced with ‘danger’. At this point, our body will do different activities which relieved us from feeling scare or worried and calmed us down so we could think of a way to overcome our difficult situation. Beside the simple explanation, this book is also full of nice, colorful pictures to hold the interest of a child.
I have the pleasure of reading this book with my 5 years old boy and he asked me a lot of questions when he arrived on the page where there was a boy sleeping in the dark and there was a shadow of a monster on the wall. So, I spoke to him about his favorite cartoon, the monsters in Monsters Inc. and how the little girl, ‘Boo’ was afraid off the monster which came for her from her closet every night. Then I told him that our minds are very good at imagining things which are often unreal but causes us much anxiety and made us scare and worry all the time.
From this book, we learned that anxiety is not all bad or yucky. It is actually a reaction when our body is feeling uncomfortable if faced with something we are not warranted for. This book provides us with different activities that we could do such as ‘breathe more slowly through our nose and blow out very slowly from our mouth’, ‘blowing a giant soap bubble’, ‘do some jumping jacks’ or do something which will distract our mind from thinking of the bad things. Even daydreaming is a good way to counter anxiety!!
I highly recommend this book if you have a fidgety child at home. My son gets worried all the time and I using all the information in this book to help him feeling less nervous especially when we will be moving to another country soon where everything will be so different. I can anticipate the culture shock in him and thus, I need to learn as much as I can in dealing with anxiety.
You can get a copy of this book from here.
I have received the above book to facilitate my review from Parent Reviewers and I was not compensated in any other forms for this post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.