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What do we mean by healthy bodies, healthy books? We share how can you use books to help your family stay healthy, and what are some great options to read together.
This week we are joined by Coleen Graham, a RN who has worked in a major pediatric hospital for the past eleven years. She also has three kids of her own, so she has had plenty of experience teaching kids about being sick and staying healthy in all sorts of settings. Along with nursing she also teaches preschool and the occasional yoga class, so we are very grateful that she was able to take the time to chat with us about this topic that has been on many parents’ minds lately!
In this episode we talk about:
1. Coleen’s job at the hospital and what she does there. She explains her unit as a “step-down NICU.” She mostly works with infants and toddlers, although they have recently started getting children of many different ages.
2. What she prioritizes as a nurse and a mom when she teaches her kids about their bodies and staying healthy.
3. How she has used books to teach those things to her kids and why picture books do such a great job at putting these complicated topics on their level.
4. How she has seen books used at her hospital unit. For instance, she has seen a feeding tube kit that comes with a story book and coloring book that talk about what it is, how it is used, how they can talk about it, etc. Since her unit is mostly younger kids, they do not use them to explain what is going on as much, but they have books that are for the kids and parents to use while they are there, which helps to bring something familiar and comforting to a scary situation.
“The parents are happy to see a book that they are familiar with and they are happy to read to their child and it kind of makes a scary hospital experience something a little less scary.”
5. Coloring books and what a great tool they can be. Coleen has used them when teaching her kids about their bodies and she made a great point about how kids are often times better able to listen to things we are trying to teach them when their hands are busy doing something else… like coloring or drawing!
7. How she has decided what to teach her different children at different ages.
8. A few of their family’s favorite books for talking about bodies and health.
9. How our emotions and mental health can affect our physical health and how we can help our kids with their emotions and especially to identify and communicate them.
10. All three of us chime in with some books that might be good for older children, teenagers or even adults who want to
We are so grateful to Coleen for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, the books we chat about, and other resources to help us teach our kids about being healthy can be found in the following places:
In Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books we mention:
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain
What are Germs? – By Katie Daynes (Usborne)
The Usborne Science Encyclopedia by several authors
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
Standin’ Tall Cleanliness by Janeen Brady
Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost
Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ by Scholastic
The Big Book of the Body – Usborne
Daniel Visits the Doctor – Daniel Tiger book
Looking for more on “healthy” books for your family? Look at this blog post
Want to read about the Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020? Here’s a great booklist to get you started