A new children’s book about Highland coo Mairi Moo aims to help little ones with anxiety about big steps such as starting school for the first time.
Dundee-based child psychologist Heather Lawson’s title character in Mairi Moo is Starting School is nervous about her first day in the classroom.
The Broughty Ferry author’s book is the first in a series which helps young children face their fears with insightful tips to overcome the major milestone.
The book will include coping techniques and rhyming phrases for children to remember when they feel worried.
Supporting children experiencing anxiety is Heather’s “bread and butter” as she has worked with the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) since 2015.
Starting school anxiety
But the clinical associate psychologist’s book is perhaps even timelier as many children have faced disruptions to their nursery and school experience because of Covid-19.
She wrote the book as a new parent to her son Josh in February 2020 in an effort to share her knowledge with parents.
The book aims to help children and their parents understand that anxiety is a normal feeling however it does not have to stop them facing their fears.
Heather said: “I wanted a resource that helps children and their parents understand that it’s normal to feel anxious. It might not feel pleasant, but it’s natural to feel this way about starting school.
“I think many more parents and children will be feeling this way because of a disrupted nursery year.”
Parents can play a key role
The book also features guidance for parents and carers to help their children overcome their anxiety.
Heather has shared calming techniques for parents to practice with their child to help them control the physical and mental effects on anxiety.
She added: “No parent wants to see their child distressed. Sometimes it can feel quite overwhelming if your child is worried but it’s really important to try and contain that and say ‘this is what worries feel like and it’s completely normal’”.
One technique, she said, could involve parents sharing a time when they have felt nervous but have still been able to accomplish something anyway.
Mairi Moo will help children overcome their anxiety in other milestones as books in the upcoming series tackles her fear of the dentist, math worries and losing friendships.
The book can be purchased from all major book retailers.