Daydreaming helps child anxiety

Getty Images Lauren Child
Lauren Child, pictured during the 2019 Hay Festival, says she’s inspired by young readers she meets at the event

A former Children’s Laureate says daydreaming helps children cope when life becomes overwhelming.

Lauren Child, who is taking part in Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, says calm and quiet help young people deal with anxiety.

“Daydreaming is there for a reason… It seems to be a vital part of being human,” she told BBC Radio Wales’ Books That Made Me programme.

One in three children are living in poverty in Wales, and Child is passionate about increasing access to books.

“It feels like it should go without saying that children should all have access to books,” she said.

“Because when you’re little particularly, even the motor skills of being able to turn the pages, being able to focus on them, having someone sit with their arm around you, that thing of the communication with the guardian or parent is really vital for children and it creates a bond and love as well as hearing the language and the verbal skills, all of it.”

The Charlie and Lola author is appearing at the Hay Festival to discuss her latest novel, Clarice Bean SMILE, which focuses on children’s anxiety about the environment.

The book is inspired by the author’s own feeling of overwhelm and worry about climate change and is a response to what children have told her about their worries and concerns about the planet.

Getty Images Hay Festival tote bags from the 2018 event
Around 300,000 people visit Hay-on-Wye for the Hay Festival each spring

Meeting her young readers, she says, is one of the main joys of attending Hay.

“Giving the talk, that’s its own thing, but usually it’s the bit afterwards when people who maybe aren’t brave enough to put their hand up will ask you something or tell you something really important and you end up having this little exchange,” she said.

“It’s a tiny moment but I think what they probably aren’t aware of is that it’s very nourishing to me.”

Child has sold more than six million books, which have been translated into 19 languages.

But she says it all boils down to allowing yourself to daydream.

“When we’re daydreaming, we’re using our imagination to escape the confines of our tiny bedroom. We’re using that special way we can think or believe in something.”

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