A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

9 Books to Help Ease Your Kid’s Fear of Dogs

I grew up around labs, beagles, terriers, German shorthairs, miniature poodles, and I loved them all. So how did I end up with two daughters who are afraid of dogs?

We had a greyhound when my older daughter was born – a sweet and gentle giant who hardly even barked – but he died when she was about 18 months old. She doesn’t have many vivid memories of him, and we haven’t gotten another dog since.

My younger daughter is so afraid of dogs she panicked when we walked into Old Navy, where they have a dog mannequin front and center as soon as you walk in the door, along with the child and adult sized mannequins. The first thing she said to my husband when he came home from work was, “Dog!” and, “No barking, no walking.” The best kind of dog, according to her, but even so, kinda scary.

Since it’s pretty clear we’re not quite ready for a walking, barking, real-life dog at the Lerner house, I read my girls books about friendly dogs to teach them that dogs are safe. Here’s a list of nine of my favorites, three for each age group from young picture book readers up through young adult fiction readers.

Angus Lost

by Marjorie Flack

The oldest book in the list, published originally in 1932, this book is a simple story about the adventure of a Scottie dog living back in the era when the milkman delivered milk to your door each morning. It’s one in a series of books about Angus, and I love the three-color, realistic illustrations and straightforward storylines.

Snuggle Puppy

by Sarah Boynton

This is another cartoon-style board book with a rhyming verse about loving a dog written in Sandra Boynton’s signature style. You can look up the song on YouTube, but it pretty much sings itself.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

by Norman Bridwell

With over 40 books about Clifford, you won’t run out of reading material any time soon if you like this oversize bloodhound. And what’s not to like…he goes from being the runt of the litter to arguably the most loved dog – and the biggest! – in children’s literature.

I Got Two Dogs

by John Lithgow, illustrated by Robert Neubecker

You can find this song on YouTube as well, or buy the book and CD. So much fun to sing, it tells about the relationship between the owner and his two trouble-making dogs.

Henry and Mudge

by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Suçie Stevenson

This beginning reader series features another big friendly dog and his boy companion. Check out “Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas,” the first book to win the Theodor Seuss Geisel award for the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.

Martha Speaks

by Susan Meddaugh

Martha is truly a fun dog, a dog kids would dream of having. She eats a bowl of alphabet soup and learns to talk. The silly things Martha says and the trouble she gets into are entertaining for child and adult alike, plus this is one book series turned into a television show that I can get behind. The show is just as adorable and witty as the books.

Ellie’s Story

by W. Bruce Cameron

This novel about a search-and-rescue dog is the perfect transition book for your older child. It’s based on a segment of Cameron’s popular adult fiction book “A Dog’s Purpose,” so for my older, voracious reader, it was the perfect segue into adult fiction.


by Spencer Quinn

This is also a good introduction to an adult fiction writer’s work for younger readers. Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mysteries are the most fun dog books for grownups, and these Bowser and Birdie books capture the same free spirit and smart characters.

Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

There’s something about putting a dog in a book that brings out the starkest of emotions. This classic gets right to the heart of the matter while exposing young readers to the rich culture of the Ozarks.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

Keep reading... Show less

If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.

The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:

Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

Keep reading... Show less
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.