Be kind to yourself: Videos & resources for grownups & early learners

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian

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. For neurodivergent kids, that means providing a variety of supports to help them minimize the sensory overload and dysregulation that happens daily in spaces with bright lights, noise, neurotypical expectations like eye contact, etc. For all children, learning and emotions are entwined.

But there are some days when we—the adults—are the ones who are not calm, who are stressed, overloaded, and dysregulated.

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. We all know how frustrating and stressful those days can be!

In these videos, Jenny reminds us all to fill our cups regularly so we can help others, and I share a book that I love that reminds me that I’ve gotten through hard things before, and I can do it again.

When we make these videos, caregivers are just as much our planned audience as kids. When we practice different kinds of breathing, we want to help caregivers relax and feel better, too. These aren’t just tools for kids, but for everyone. Which styles work best for you? For your kids?

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 when 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 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:

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 their own big feelings, as well as helping ease their stress.

Be kind to yourself. You are doing your best, and that’s what is important.

Shelley Harris

About Shelley

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.