• Back-to-School Anxiety

    Is your little one nervous about going back to school? It is quite common! Starting school, whether it is your first year or you’ve done it before, can be scary. There are a lot of changes and new things to learn. Here are some tips to help alleviate worry and anxiety about going back to school.

    Talk and listen

    Have an open conversation about what is worrying them about going back to school. Ask what makes this a nerve wracking time so you can help them problem solve or prepare for specific situations. If they are not able to express what is scary – that’s ok! Assure them that being nervous is a normal emotion and reaction.


    Walking through anxiety provoking situations can be extremely helpful. If they are nervous about something specific, role play what the situation might look like and how they can address it or ask for help. If you are able to, drive to the school and visit so they can become familiar with where they will be each day.

    Involve them in decisions

    Have them help pick out their going back to school supplies, backpack, lunchbox or whatever else they may need for school. Getting something in their favorite color or including their favorite superhero or TV character can help make this a fun and exciting time!

    Start the routine

    Help get them into the swing of going back to school by starting the routine early. Change is hard, so the more time kids have to adjust, the better! This could involve setting a bed time, wake up time, eating and getting dressed in the morning, or whatever your family decides to do to!


    Help connect them to their school friends! Reach out to other families who will be attending the same school or will be in the same class so they can meet. It is much easier to do something new when you have a friendly, familiar face by your side.

    Calming exercises

    Try some calming exercises to help alleviate worry and anxiety. Calming exercises are great to practice when you are feeling calm so that when you are anxious you are already an expert in a technique to help! Some calming exercises include belly breathing, 54321 grounding, or doing a little stretch!

    Read books

    Check out our Back-to-School picture book section for stories about going to school that children can relate to. Need other book recommendations? Just ask a librarian; we are happy to help! 


       Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica


  • Summer Mindfulness Activities

    Mindfulness is an activity you can practice year-round, but here are some summer inspired activities to encourage mindful moments for your little ones.

    1. Gardening
      Whether it is at home or participating in a gardening program at the BALibrary, gardening is a great way to connect to nature! What colors do you see? How does the dirt feel between your fingers? Notice how the flowers smell.
    2. Cloud watching
      Gaze up at the clouds and see what shapes you can see! Better yet, lay in the grass and notice how it feels beneath your body.
    3. Blowing bubbles
      Get out your bubbles and wand! Pay attention your breath as you inhale and exhale to make the bubbles.
    4. Draw with sidewalk chalk
      Get creative and draw something you love! What colors do you use? What shapes are within your drawings? What texture does the chalk have?
    5. Nature walk
      Put on those walking shoes and explore nature! What do you see? What colors do you notice? What does the ground feel like beneath your feet? Do you feel the sun on your face or the wind in your hair? What do you hear or smell? Name anything else you notice!

    Interested in programs related to mindfulness? Check out Morning Garden Story Time, Loose Parts Nature Play, Nature Art, Nature I Spy, Meditation Story Time, and Little Kids, Big Feelings.


       Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica 


  • Expressing Gratitude - Scavenger Hunt Edition

    Gratitude can have a big impact on our lives. It has been proven to be effective in improving mood, increasing ability to cope with emotions, decreasing stress, and so many other positive benefits. Let’s practice showing our gratitude in a creative way - with a scavenger hunt! Use the list below to find what sparks your joy and makes you smile.

    1. Something you enjoy looking at
    2. Something that is useful to you
    3. Something that is your favorite color
    4. Something that makes you smile when you see it
    5. Something that smells good
    6. Something that makes you laugh
    7. Something you enjoy in the morning
    8. Something you enjoy at night
    9. Something that means a lot to you
    10. Something you love to spend time with
    11. Something that reminds you of the people you love
    12. Something you created
    13. Something you like to share with others
    14. Something that makes you feel calm
    15. Something you love


    Looking for more fun activities? 

    Gratitude for Kids - 9 Ways to Practice Gratitude with Kids ⋆ Journal for Kids


    Learn more about why gratitude is so important:

    Why gratitude is important for kids? | WOW Parenting

    8 Reasons Why Gratitude is Important for Kids — Peake Academy

    The Positive Impact of Gratitude on Mental Health | Psychology Today


    We’d love to hear about your experience with the scavenger hunt! Chat with us at the Youth Services Reference Desk, or email us at youthservices@balibrary.org.

       Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica 


  • 5-4-3-2-1 Mindfulness

    When you are feeling big emotions it can be hard to think straight. When this happens, take a mindful moment and practice 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness!

    5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness can be done anywhere and at any time! By noticing what is around us, in the present moment, we can help ourselves gain control over our emotions. To use this skill follow along with the directions below.


    Name five things that you can see right now 


    Name four things that you can touch right now


    Name three things that you can hear right now


    Name two things that you can smell right now 


    Name one thing that you can taste right now


    Want to learn more about mindfulness? Check out our Early Learning Kits here:

    Feelings and Emotions


    Mindfulness 2


       Youth Services Assistant Librarian Jessica 


  • Daniel Tiger on Kanopy Kids: What Happens When We Do Something New?

    Watch“Daniel Visits School/Daniel Visits the Doctor” on Kanopy Kidsusing your Barrington Area Library card number to log in, and come back to this blog post to enjoy some family activities that will enhance your child’s learning around the episode. 


    Now that you’ve watched the episode, here is a companion video that will demonstrate some ways to practice mindfulness when your child is feeling nervous or worried.




    Here are some questions that will help you unpack some of the topics in the episode with your child.

    • Is there something new in your life that you are nervous or worried about? What is it? What questions do you have about the new thing? Talk through some of your concerns with a trusted adult.  Sometimes just talking about it helps you feel better, and they can help you answer some of the questions that you have!
    • When you feel nervous or worried about something, how does it make you feel? Can you think of something to do that might make you feel a little better? What are some things that make you smile?


    Below are some other activities to try as a family.


    Here are the books I mentioned in the companion video.

    Here and Now by Julia Denos, E. B. Goodale |, Hardcover | Barnes... Here and Nowby Julia Denos, illustrated by E.B. Goodale
    Quiet by Tomie dePaola, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

    Quiet by Tomie dePaola

    Listen by Holly M. McGhee, Pascal Lemaitre |, Hardcover | Barnes...

    Listen by Holly M. McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

     Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark, Madeline Kloepper |, Hardcover... Tiny, Perfect Thingsby M.H. Clark, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
     Big Breath: A Guided Meditation for Kids by William Meyer... Big Breath: A Guided Meditation for Kids by William Meyer, illustrated by Brittany R. Jacobs
     Your Mind is Like the Sky: A First Book of Mindfullness by Bronwen... Your Mind is Like the Sky: A First Book of Mindfulness by Bronwen Ballard, illustrated by Laura Carlin



        Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie