Wednesday, January 27, 2021

7 Ways to Use "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn

7 Ways to Use "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn
This year, in addition reading some children's books as part of my work on Mom2MomEd, I'm also participating in a children's literature reading challenge hosted by Mrs. Sarah Collier of Belle's Library and the Victorian Letter Writers Guild

My inaugural book for the Children's Literature Challenge is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. My child (now an adult) and I first received this book as a gift from my mother several years ago when my kiddo was still quite young. 
The Kissing Hand holds a special place in my heart because it was instrumental in helping us in adjusting to the emotional turmoil that comes with going back and forth between divorced parents (read about my suggested books for divorce HERE). Although the book is the story of a child going to school for the first time, it easily is applied to any form of temporary separation between parent and child.
Here are 7 ways to use The Kissing Hand beyond simply reading it with your child (or on your own):
1. Start a Kissing Hand tradition with your child
When my child was struggling with the emotional ups and downs of going back and forth between mom's house and dad's house, we started every exchange by kissing each other's palms and holding them to our cheeks. My child then could put palm to cheek during their time with their dad and thus would be reminded of my love. My kiddo told me several times that it helped them to feel better. 
2. Encourage your child to have a Kissing Hand tradition with family members that live far away, that they don't get to see often, or that are towards the end of life
Keeping in mind safety measures around viruses (Covid-19 as just the most worrisome as I write this), your child can start a Kissing Hand tradition with a loved one outside of the immediate family. If the loved one is too far away or it isn't safe to exchange palm kisses, you can kiss your child's palm and tell them, "Grandma gave me this kiss for you. You can put your palm to your cheek anytime you miss grandma or are thinking about her. Grandma loves you so much and would be so happy to know that you have her kiss in your palm."
3. Use The Kissing Hand anytime your child is nervous about trying something new or going somewhere new without you
In the book, the little racoon is nervous about starting school which prompts Mama to teach him about The Kissing Hand. Your child could use the same concept for any new situation or place -- a lesson or class, taking a flight without you (started flying alone at age 8!), starting up with a new babysitter, and so on. 
4. Teach your child to self-soothe anxiety, stress, or fear 

If your child tends towards anxiety or excessive stress or feels fearful at times, but maybe The Kissing Hand and holding a palm to a cheek isn't ideal, you could kiss your child's palm and have them kiss their other palm. 
Teach them to hold their palms together, interlacing their fingers, and pressing their palms into one another. They can then visualize their kiss and your kiss and the love between you. The side benefit is that the whole exercise of putting the palms together, interlacing the fingers, and then pressing against their own palms can help to reduce stress and anxiety. There are many other ways to do this that are similar -- tapping, pressure points, and so on -- but this is one that a child can do without anyone noticing. They can put their hands under their desk or simply in their lap and anyone that notices will just see a child sitting with their hands together. Your child will know that they have a little secret centered on your love for one another.
5. Introduce or practice early math literacy skills
If you flip through The Kissing Hand, you'll notice that it's filled with gorgeous illustrations, most of which have a multitude of different animals within the scenes. You can have your children count the animals on any given page or count all of the animals in the entire book or count a specific type of animal (how many frogs are there? bunnies? owls?). For kids that are already counting, you can begin to incorporate some basic addition: "If we have two frogs on this page and one frog on that page, how many frogs do we have?"
6. Play "I Spy"
You can turn many pages into the book into scavenger hunts: "Where is the frog? Can you find the red book? Where is the snail?"
7. Talk about similarities and differences
One of the subtle things I love about The Kissing Hand is that so many different animals are included in the illustrations. You could easily turn this into a discussion about how people have all kinds of differences. Some of the animals are little, or even tiny, while others are bigger. Some have feathers while others have fur or smooth skin. You could translate this into a discussion about diversity and inclusiveness or about bullying (after all, a lot of bullying happens due to someone being perceived as different in some way). 
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak, is such a lovely and sweet book. I hope you'll pick up a copy for a child in your life.  

Grab a copy on Bookshop HERE.
Grab a copy from Amazon HERE.
Or, hit up your local library.

Links in this post may be affiliate in nature ~*~ making purchases through these links may result in a small commission to me at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance.

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