By NANDITA SHARMA
Local author, Erin LeDrew, who recently adopted a new role at the vaccine clinic at CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) where she’s worked as a recreational therapist for 10 years, reflected on her journey of five years writing the children’s book Mindful Me Goes to Sleep.
The book aims to be a bridge to guide children to a calm and restful sleep. LeDrew drew on her professional experience to find inspiration for the book.
“I’ve had many opportunities to work with people to find different ways to cope and manage in their recovery. One of the things that I have found, in that work, is that often it’s some of the simple strategies that we overlook that can really have an impact. People just forget about their, their hobbies and their interests, the things that nurture their soul and make them who they are. And I think that over the course of my time working was probably the biggest aha moments that I had,” said LeDrew.
She also sought help from her children Ben, 7 and Katie, 5 as they become the first critics of the book in its initial stages.
In creating a product that was designed specifically for children to utilize as a vessel to hollow out their anxious energy, she made sure everything the children responded with was taken into consideration while writing the book.
“I had them involved in every step of the process. I had them hear what my writing was along the way. And even when I was able to find an illustrator, I had them give me their insight into different colours and different images,” said LeDrew.
On why she chose to write in the format of a children’s book, LeDrew reflected that she thought about “a time when we really do need to learn healthy mental health habits” and being a new mom at the time she focused her reflections on her children.
“And I think that at the time because I was a relatively new mom with little ones, to me it just felt like that’s when I needed to be teaching that. I think that offering it at bedtime is meant to be part of the strategy to build in some mindfulness and coping skills and strategies into existing routines because then you’re more likely to stick with it. And so I think it was maybe a combination of reflecting on my clinical practice over the decade, and then probably a little bit of the fact that I was a parent myself and just really the need to have something like this for my kids.” added LeDrew.
Written by LeDrew and illustrated by Stephanie Mackay, Mindful Me Goes to Sleep is available for purchase at https://www.amazon.ca/Mindful-Me-Goes-Sleep-mindfulness-ebook/dp/B07XNG3JTN