Marion Green and Liz Barron are two local writers who recently published the smashing success children's book, "What Hat Are You Wearing?" Darien Lifestyle spoke with the two authors.
DL: Can you tell us a little about What Hat Are You Wearing?
The book is intended to help children learn that they can influence the way that they feel not only about themselves, but in everyday situations as well. So many kids (and adults) fall into the trap of unknowingly perpetuating unwanted feelings and don’t realize that they have the ability to change their perspective regardless of the situation at hand. Mindset shifts can begin simply by asking ourselves questions like, “what do I want to feel instead of this?” or “how do I want to feel about this?”. “What Hat Are You Wearing?” uses a hat as a metaphor for feelings. It highlights the way that pausing and reflecting on an unfavorable feeling can help us identify the emotions that we want to sustain.
DL: Why did you write this book?
Marion: One of my professional missions has been to help children with early mindset training. The goal of this story is to help teach kids that they have the ability to choose how they want to feel about themselves, everyday situations, and even their moods. Learning this skill can help children shift from an undesirable mindset to a more desirable one.
Liz: The toll that the past few years has taken on emotional well-being has been tremendous and as a parent of young children, it has been difficult to witness such struggles. Our story provides a valuable strategy to help kids see that even when they can’t control what’s happening around them, they can control how they want to think about it.
DL: What do you hope comes out of this story for children reading it or parents reading it to their kids?
Our hope is to provide our young readers with an “easy to remember” strategy to use when they are struggling and to give our adult readers relatable language to use when discussing their children’s difficult emotions. Oftentimes, parents and caregivers struggle with how to best address children’s fears, negative attitudes, low self-esteem and difficult moods. Asking children, “what hat are you wearing right now?” instead of “what’s wrong?” can quickly give a child a way to identify their current mindset and feelings. Following up with a second question like, “how would you like to feel instead?” enables a child to reflect on ways that changing their perspective might feel better by choosing a different mindset that is more appealing. Our story uses everyday, age appropriate scenarios as examples to help both children and adults see how easily this strategy can be applied.
DL: What is the value of "What Hat Are You Wearing?"
The concept of “mindset training” is something that can be introduced both at home and in the classroom at an early age. It helps teach young children that they have the power to choose how they want to feel. Knowing that they don’t have to stay stuck in negative emotional cycles can leave them feeling empowered.
Marion: I started using the “What Hat Are You Wearing?” approach with some of my young clients a while back. I found it to be very effective when trying to help them find ways to re-frame their attitudes towards themselves as well as fear provoking or unfavorable situations. This technique is especially successful when parents or caregivers use the metaphors to support the strategy at home.
DL: How they decided to write this book:
Liz: I am a freelance writer and Marion and I met a few years ago when I interviewed her for an article that I was working on.
Marion: We had been thinking about writing a book together for a while and last year while I was at the Kentucky Derby, seeing all of the elaborate hats reminded me of the strategy I had been using with my young clients. I put together the first draft of the story in my hotel room and then things just took off from there!
“What Hat Are You Wearing?” is available at Elm Street Books in New Canaan, Diane's Books in Greenwich, Athena Bookstore in Old Greenwich, Amazon, and at Barnes and Noble. Please visit www.whathatareyouwearing.com for more information or to order a copy today!