By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris
We often come back to the topic of emotions and social-emotional learning with our kids. Sometimes it may feel like we’re repeating ourselves! But we keep returning to the topic because it’s an important one.
Kids (and adults!) learn best when they feel that they are safe and secure in their space and relationships. Part of building relationship trust happens through these social-emotional skills. Part of learning is being able to regulate emotions to stay in a calm, self-controlled state. Learning and emotions are entwined.
But right now, we’re in a pandemic. Caregivers and teachers are stretched thin. We’re back to being overwhelmed by pandemic changes around us, with kids too young for vaccinations. Adults are stressed and kids are, too.
How can we best support our kids when we’re struggling too?
Let’s start by reviewing these videos Jenny & I have made
Here, Jenny starts with stretching–movement breaks help reduce stress—and then shows a wonderful book called Saturday by Oge Mora. In this book, a lot of things go wrong for a mom and daughter on a special day. Many of us are having a lot of those days lately.
In this video, Jenny and I talk about ways songs can help self-regulate or prompt conversations, using “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “The Self-Reg Song” by Raffi.
When we make these videos, caregivers are just as much our planned audience as kids. When we practice hot chocolate breathing, we want to help caregivers relax and feel better, too. These aren’t just tools for kids, but for everyone.
How can you build these small moments into your day, for your benefit & for your children?
Taking care of yourself is key to taking care of your children. Does that mean they watch more TV right now because you’re extra tired and grumpy and need your own break? That’s okay!
Take a look at Kanopy Kids with your Oak Park library card. There’s unlimited streaming every month for kids, with content from PBS Kids, Jim Henson Company, storybook readalouds, and so much more.
Check out these other ways your library is here to support your health and well-being:
- Our adult librarians put together a list of books to celebrate the new year: feel better, do better, play better, age better.
- Relaxing library classes like chair yoga and meditation will continue through the year.
- And Hoopla audiobooks are a great way to experience meditation and mindfulness, as well.
When the adults around them are stressed or angry, many children wonder if it’s because of something they’ve done. When you are able to self-regulate yourself and model describing your feelings, you are showing them how to handle the big feelings they’re also having as well as helping ease their stress.
This is a hard time for many people, but it will get better. Be kind to yourself.
Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.