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5 Easy Ways to Pick Great Children’s Books

5 Easy Ways to Pick Great Children’s Books

One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is when each evening, our babysitter would tell us stories of mysterious creatures from faraway lands. Growing up, those memories played a huge role in shaping me. They also set me up for further exploration through reading.

Research states that we’re wired for storytelling. Good storytelling teaches life skills, builds emotional intelligence and creativity in children. Not just that, it also helps with their language skills and connecting with their own roots and culture.

As a parent, it can be tough to find good books for your children. There are literally millions of books out there and any parent would agree how hard it is to sift through them all. So how do you find a “good” book? The best way to know a good book from a not-so-good one is to keep your child’s interest in mind. For starters, a good book is never going to be boring.

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1. Ask the experts

Experts, who? Your children! Ask them what they enjoyed about a book they read. They are the best children’s book critic you’ll ever find.

Make a note of books that bring them a sense of joy, no matter whether the plot is too simple or twisted, and the type of characters they can relate with.

A good practice could be to ask them share three key lessons they learned from every book they read.

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2. Let them reject

You can always share the books you loved as a child with your children. But remember, it is not about you. Let them reject books they don’t enjoy (they can make a decision by just looking at the cover).

Don’t force them to read something they have already rejected. The more often you take them to the library, the more they want to pick books for themselves. Let them.

3. Don’t reject books rich in vocab

There will be times you’re worried whether a book is too challenging for your child. If it is classified in the right age group, still pick it and see how your child responds to it. Children learn new words through exposure and by making connections through reading.

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4. Use best-seller lists

If you’re stuck, try books from a best-seller list. Here are some good ones to keep your kids considerably busy for a long time:

1. The NEA’s Top 100 Kid’s Books
2. The NEA List of Top 100 Teacher’s Picks
3. New York Times Best-Sellers Children’s Picture Books
4. New York Times Best-Sellers Children’s Middle-Grade
5. New York Times Best-Sellers Young-Adult

5. Use an online library

If you’re concerned about the content of books your child is reading or want to be sure your fifth grader didn’t pick the next Game of Thrones, try online tools such as Library Thing, BookBub, BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian, that let you choose types of books by preferences on profanity, sex and violence for your kid’s account.

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There you have 5 easy ways to find great children’s books. Have a sixth way to pick up good books? Tells us in the comments below!

Want more great books for your child? Try 15 Children’s Books Best Read on an iPad.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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