So, each day, especially when I find myself getting crazed by the items on the TO-DO list, or like today as I wait for new software to load on a new computer (which still needs files uploaded and so much more), I remember to take that break. For me, the quickest and easiest joy break is to play a computer game. If I need a longer break, I read something I call a guilty pleasure. It could be an easy chapter book or a picture book or a novel, just as long as it is not part of my TO-DO list.
And on the way to work in the morning as I am already fretting about the day ahead and that TO-DO list, I force myself to stop and simply smile as widely as I can for a few seconds (thankfully I drive alone and generally in the dark, so this does not frighten others in nearby cars). You know what? It works. Just the simple act of smiling eases tension and makes me feel better, happier.
What does this have to do with books and kids and reading? I think kids are often stressed out, too. How about we give them a joy break from time to time? Read them something silly (joke books, Captain Underpants, BabyMouse, Lunch Lady, etc.). Share some authors who write humor: David Lubar, Jack Gantos, Gordon Korman. Go back and dig up Paula Danizger's books about Matthew (EVERYONE ELSE'S PARENTS SAID YES) or Chris Lynch's HE MAN WOMAN HATERS CLUB or some Jovial Bob Stine (aka R. L. Stine of Goosebumps fame). Take some time to smile and giggle and guffaw.