• Nanci Bradley

Urgent! More Sensory and Emotional Experiences Needed & The One Best Way To Provide Them

I know you're a good parent, otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this. And I know you probably feel guilty about one thing or another in your parenting from time to time. We all do.

My son's pediatrician used to say that every parent's middle name ought to be guilt. (I had a horrible experience with a nail clipper. I was cutting his nails when he was asleep and he suddenly jerked awake. Yikes that was a lot of blood.)

Here's something you don't have to feel guilty about. And it's probably the most important thing you can do for your child's sensory and emotional health.

Do you read to your kids? Every day? Apparently some new research is showing that a big percentage of parents don't do it all but those who do end up with kids that are more stable, happy and resilient to life's ups and downs as well as being better readers themselves.

That why I've compiled a list of some of my favorite emotionally rich stories to read with children 1-5 years old.

These stories and others like them should pave the way for many talks you'll have with your kids about feelings. This is how children learn empathy.

They also learn by watching what you do and how you react to others as a compassionate human being.

I'm going to share some books with you that have worked for me in my 43 years as a child and parent educator. I'm including the Amazon link as well as the link to some of the author's websites as a way to make it easier for you, not because I'm affiliated with them in any way. I just love a good read and I hope you do too!

Here's the list:

Read To Your Bunny by Rosemary Wells

Feast For 10 by Cathryn Falwell

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

Sophie Wants A Turn by Dr. Becky A. Bailey

Sophie Is A Star by Dr. Becky A. Bailey

Love Makes A Family by Sophie Beer

Oscar's Grouchy Sounds by Constance Allen

The Monster At The End Of This Book by Jon Stone

La Casa Adormecida/The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

The Day The Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathman

It's OK To Be Different by Todd Parr

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts

Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer

Ernie Gets Lost by Liza Alexander

Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber

Abiyoyo told by Pete Seeger

Shubert's Helpful Day by Dr. Becky A. Bailey

I Don't Like The Sound Of No! by Julia Cook

Milo and The Magical Stone by Marcus Pfister

One more important thing. Parents, relatives, and providers need to cuddle up and feel close when they read to very young children. Humans are soothed by this and that's because multi-sensory experiences help us to make the proper brain connections for learning.

tip: If a child squirms on your lap, and it hurts you, stop reading and point to the part of your body that is uncomfortable and tell them they need them to be gentle with your body if you're going to continue with the story. It's good for them to learn that others can feel pain and good for them to see people set appropriate limits for themselves. Begin reading again when you both feel comfortable.

We have an obligation to model that kind of positive and assertive behavior for them.

If you need a new activity to keep your kids busy, here's one I created this summer. It's called a Rockit! and it has everything you need to get started on a rock project that can be a catalyst for an attitude of giving that lasts a lifetime. All proceeds from the Rockits! go to Early Childhood Education Rocks ( to promote optimal sensory and emotional experiences for little ones.

We would love to get to know you better so we're inviting you to join our community of parents and providers here

Nanci J Bradley, 60ish, is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI

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