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Pastoral Care: Contemplative & Mental Health Practices for Children & Youth

hotlines, guidelines and crisis intervention contacts; and support for pastoral care for children, tweens, teens, families, differently abled persons, elders and folks with memory concerns; including mindfulness, personal care and volunteer support


Welcome to The Ministry Lab's curated list of resources to cultivate and nurture the spiritual and emotional well-being of young people. Here you'll find:

  • Books & Downloads to teach caregivers and engage people of all ages in mindfulness and contemplation
  • Other Book Lists from trusted sources
  • Blogs, Podcasts & Articles to spark conversation and support practices
  • Webinars & Curricula for further enrichment and expanding practices

If you don't find a resource to fit your need, don't hesitate to consult with The Ministry Lab's director, Emily Meyer, who is happy to assist you.

Books & Downloads

All About Anxiety

All About Anxiety teaches that the evolutionary reasons for fear and anxiety; that anxiety isn't always a bad thing; and new strategies to manage anxiety.

Big Life Journal

offers journals for kids to help develop Social Emotional skills (creativity, dealing with mistakes, self-confidence, etc.) - plus a free podcast.

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is relatable especially for children experiencing anxiety and extreme emotions, or who have been diagnosed with autism or as a Highly Sensitive Person.
Download a free parent guide for helpful tips.

Catching Thoughts

In Catching Thoughts, children learn how to practice mindfulness and focus on thoughts that bring beauty, joy, and calm into their lives.​​​​​​

Faithful Families at Home

Offers prayers and activities to engage the whole family in developing spiritual practices.

What Is in Your Mind Today?

guided, illustrated meditation for kids to help children learn that they have the ability to feel at peace no matter what kinds of thoughts happen to be in their mind at any particular moment.

Yoga Baby

Yoga Baby, geared toward the littlest ones, but may be helpful for young children and parents, as well.

A Quiet Place

Encourages readers to seek out their own quiet place where they can "think their own thoughts" and "feel their own feelings".

My Magic Breath

Introduces readers to the magic of feeling better just by breathing!

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles

Introduces a concrete activity parents or faith formation leaders can teach to children to utilize anywhere, anytime.

Zen Shorts

Three ancient Zen tales - told by a giant panda - about material goods, the boundaries of good and bad, and holding onto frustration.

Breathe and Be

A Book of Mindfulness Poems

It’s a Beautiful, Mindful World—A Peaceful Poetry Book for Kids of All Ages

Crafting Calm: Art and Activities for Mindful Kids

Kids engage in and practice mindfulness through fun and easy exercises, quizzes, crafts, and activities, learning a deeper sense of peace, joy, and connection to the world, while improving emotional intelligence and self-esteem, and reducing anxiety.

When I Fly with Papa

When I Fly with Papa shares one girl's relationship with God, who she calls "Papa", in which she is free to express herself freely and know herself to to be fully loved.

Name and Tame Your Anxieties

Anxiety in kids is on the rise: 4.4 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 have diagnosed anxiety disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And even more kids experience some level of anxiety in their daily lives. In kid-friendly language, Name and Tame Your Anxiety explains what anxiety is, how it works, and how to manage it.

We Listen to Our Bodies

Body awareness is a key foundation of consent. We Listen to Our Bodies gives children a vocabulary to understand and communicate their feelings, develop personal boundaries, and build their social and emotional skills.

What Do I Do with Worry?

Grandma's got a plate of cookies and some wise words about how Willow can name her “worry birds” and give them to God. Authors Dr. Josh and Christi Straub know that today’s children have a lot of real “what-ifs”—about diseases and disasters, friendships and failures, and all-things-growing-up. Willow’s story offers practical lessons to help worry birds fly away. 

1-Minute Gratitude Journal

With unique prompts for each day, the 1-Minute Gratitude Journal helps kids develop a habit of thankfulness, discover the amazing health and attitude benefits of practicing gratitude, and have a lot of fun along the way.

Something Happened in Our Park: Standing Together after Gun Violence

This important follow-up to the bestselling, groundbreaking, and inspiring Something Happened in Our Town, is a much-needed story to help communities in the aftermath of gun violence. When Miles’s cousin Keisha is injured in a shooting, he realizes people can work together to reduce the likelihood of violence in their community.

With help from friends and family, Miles learns to use his imagination and creativity to help him cope with his fears. This book can help provide parents with helpful messages of reassurance and empowerment.

Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for discussing community gun violence with children, and sample dialogues.

A Terrible Thing Happened

Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better. This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword by Sasha J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

What Do You Say to a Dragon?

What Do You Say to a Dragon? is a whimsical book that empowers children to express their emotions and use their imaginations to change the power dynamic of anxiety while also giving parents a healthy approach to helping their kids face fears.

The Worry Workbook: A Kid's Activity Book for Dealing with Anxiety

With The Worry Workbook, children ages 7 to 12 will learn about how worrying affects their bodies, are encouraged to listen to their thoughts, and are invited to try activities that will help them push through their worries and anxieties, coming out the other side ready to tackle the world. Activities include:

  • Making a worry camera that captures fears and shrinks them into a manageable size
  • Coloring in a mood tracker that explores the rainbow of everyday emotions
  • Writing on the magic mirror of compliments to help recognize their strengths
  • Creating their very own list of anti-worry actions to fight fear and keep smiling

Parents: This book has been peer reviewed by a child psychologist, who has left notes throughout just in case your child has questions about the activities provided.

Blogs, Podcasts & Articles

offers journals for kids to help develop Social Emotional skills (creativity, dealing with mistakes, self-confidence, etc.) - plus a free podcast.

Free Spirit Publishing’s post Mindful Movement with Children includes an introduction to what mindful movement is, how it “works”, and the importance of teaching it to children and includes a mindfulness moment and a list of children’s books about mindfulness.

shared a free downloadable poster of 5 Steps to Managing Big Emotions.

Poetry Unbound: incorporate poetry into a personal or group contemplative practice, worship/liturgical element, or fodder for small group discussions among tweens, teens and/or adults.

Listen to the trailer and subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsOvercast, or wherever you listen.

The Labyrinth Society has a page of resources specifically for children.

Webinars & Curricula

iBme's website is informative. Retreats and courses may be life-changing.

8-week study on health and well-being via meditation and spiritual practices; online-friendly.

Includes Student GuideLeader Guide, and free guide for leading virtually.

offering free online Mindfulness Classes for Kids.

Praying with Mandalas: teaches what mandalas are; includes a free downloadable mandala; and comes as an ecourse; youth-adults.

EmpowerU is built to help teens deal with stress and anxiety, including weekly free toolkits and a semester-long curriculum.

MYCepaz is a teen guide to mental well-being and includes calming yoga videos and several links to Mindfulness and Meditation sites, along with resources and supports for emergency interventions; includes a downloadable app to take mindfulness practices for use anywhere and anytime.

Social Emotional Stories: Lessons and Learning from Plants and Animals


University of Rochester Medical Center's Behavioral Health Partners' Melissa Nunes-Harwitt, LMSW, shares a method called Hand on Heart, to help ease a racing mind/anxiety.

Other Book Lists

Picture books about feelings.jpg     

shared 23 CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT EMOTIONS FOR KIDS WITH BIG FEELINGS which is broken down by age group - toddler through young adult - along with books for parents

 offers several books for helping YOUTH deal with a range of emotions.

Books for Tweens & Teens

     Fighting Invisible Tigers 2019     Chapter Books to Encourage Mindfulness & Gratitude          Struggle to Be Strong 2019     Help teens make informed decisions with judgment-free information about addictive behaviors.     


     Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery