The Worry Bug: Coping with Childhood Anxiety

Photo courtesy of Flickr user chefranden via Creative Commons Attribution License.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user chefranden via Creative Commons Attribution License.

Whether it's current events in the news or particular events in a child's life, more and more parents are noticing increased anxiety in their young children. 

Tamar E. Chansky, a psychotherapist who treats anxious children and adults was recently profiled in The New York Times. According to Dr. Chansky, her goal is not to trivialize children’s fears but to help them see that their fears are unwarranted and can be overcome.

Dr. Chansky offered the following Parent Tips for helping children gain control over their anxiety:

- Empathize with your child. Acknowledge the child’s concerns and the effect they have without dismissing them as silly.

- Describe the problem as coming from the part of our brains that jumps to conclusions and cannot be trusted. Give worry a name, like “brain bug” or "worry bug." This takes the focus away from the child’s specific fear and makes anxiety itself the problem.

- Rewire and resist. Ask your child what she is really worried about and what she thinks might happen. Then ask her to check whether these thoughts really make sense. Help her the inner voice that tells worry it is not the boss.

- Teach relaxation techniques that help temper the biological alarm to fight or flee whenever fear takes over. Deep breathing is a great self-help strategy. 

- Help your child focus on what he wants to do and what he would do if worry were not in charge.

- Finally, reinforce your child’s efforts. Praise her for getting through a tough situation.

For parents seeking professional help, there are many local resources:

Child Guidance Center

Family Centers

The Life Solution Center of Darien

The Southfield Center for Development


2013 ALA Youth Media Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's ALA Youth Media Award Winners!

The Newbery Award for excellence in children's literature went to The One and Only Ivan by Kathryn Applegate. Newbery honors were given to Laura Amy Schlitz for Splendors and Glooms, Sheila Turnage for Three Times Lucky, and Sibert Winner Bomb.

This year, the Caldecott Award for excellence in picture books went to John Klassen, for This is Not My Hat. Klassen also won a Caldecott Honor for Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett. Other Caldecott Honors were given to Peter Brown for Creepy Carrots, Laura Seeger for Green, David Small for One Cool Friend and to Pamela Zagarenski for Sleep Like a Tiger. Special Congratulations to Miss Kiera on her excellent work on the 2013 Caldecott Committee!

The Sibert Award for excellence in children's non-fiction went to Bomb: The Race to Build (And Steal) The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steven Sheinkin. And the Geisel Award, for excellence in Early Readers, went to Up, Tall and High, by Ethan Long.

See a full list of winners below!

Dealing with Bullies Booklist

photo courtesy of Flickr user Eddie~S

From pushes on the playground to mean instant messaging, bullying is an issue that almost all children face at some time or another.  With a recent surge in media attention and a new focus on cyber-bullying, parents may wonder where and how to find the best information and ways of talking to their own kids about bullies. 

What if my child is the victim of bullying?

A recent article in Parenting magazine offered the following 3 Step process for parents:

Step One: Find out what's going on.  Get the facts and reassure your child that you will both work together on a solution.

Step Two: Help your child figure out how to respond.  Some responses include:

  •  Stand tall and act brave
  •  Ignore the bully
  •  Stick with friends
  •  Tell an Adult

Step Three:  Take action yourself.  Set up a meeting with the teacher, parent, or caregiver. 

What if my child's friend is the bully?

One of the hardest things for a child to learn is how to stand up for what's right, even in the face of possible scrutiny or embarassment. 

The US Department of Health and Human Services has a kid-friendly website called Stop Bullying Now that features info, games, quizzes, and webisodes all designed to address the issues of bullying , offer meaningful discussion starters, and help promote positive ways of combatting this childhood problem.  Check out this video featuring the character Melanie and her struggle with a friend who is a known bully.

What if my child is the bully?

It can sometimes be hard to tell if childhood squabbles are simply "kids being kids" or if there is a more serious problem.  

Stop Bullying Now offers the following advice to parents:

  • Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously and that you will not tolerate this behavior.
  • Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your children's behavior. Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and use non-physical, non hostile consequences for rule violations.
  • Spend more time with your child and carefully supervise and monitor his or her activities. Find out who your child's friends are and how and where they spend free time.
  • Build on your child's talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in prosocial activities (such as clubs, music lessons, nonviolent sports).
  • Share your concerns with your child's teacher, counselor, or principal. Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must stop.
  • If you or your child needs additional help, talk with a school counselor or mental health professional.

The Children's Library also offers some great books for both children and parents on the subject of bullying.  These are a few of our favorites: 


App Chat with the Children's Librarians

Miss Claire demonstrates some great apps.
Miss Claire demonstrates some great apps.

On Thursday, the children's librarians hosted an App Chat. A small but enthusiastic group of parents met with Miss Kiera and Miss Claire to hear about great new apps for all ages and share their own favorites.

Click to view and print the handouts:

Awesome Apps for ages 2 to 5

Awesome Apps for ages 6 to 8

Awesome Apps for ages 9 to 12

What are some of your favorite apps- for children or grownups? Share them in the comments below!

Our Favorite Parenting Blogs

"I'm totally gonna Tweet about this blog."

Whether you're sporting your first baby bump or expecting your third little bundle of joy, chances are there is a parenting blog out there that you'll love. Moms, dads, and caregivers can trade tips, tricks, day-in-the-life adventures, and even shopping bargains through social media platforms like blogs. Here are a few of our favorite parenting blogs:

Pregnant Chicken: Laugh-out-loud funny observations and straightforward information for new parents.

Cool Mom Picks: Real Simple named this shopping blog as one of their top three. The bloggers curate list of great gifts, craft ideas, and products for both baby and mom- so you don't have to. 

OhDeeDoh: From the creators of Apartment Therapy comes this interior design blog that has tips on everything from home improvement projects, to setting up a nursery, to converting a child's bedroom into a cool teen space. 

Babble: More of a parenting website than a blog per se, Babble is a fount of information on everything from taming tantrums to having "The Talk." They also feature some great personal mom/dad blogs.

Autism Spot: An empowering and positive blog with information for parents of children with autism or other sensory integration disorders. Contains news about scientific studies and trials, activities for sensory and social development, and support forums.  

Geek Dad: Several dads (and sometimes moms, too!) contribute to this fun, tech-savvy Wired blog for parents. From books, to video games, to Lego competitions, there is no shortage of great, geeky ideas.

Our Family Eats: Looking for a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner idea? Pop over to this practical foodie blog for busy chefs. 

Radical Parenting: Believe it or not, this insightful and informative blog is not written by parents- but by a group of teen writers. Started by Vanessa Van Petten at age 16, the site is now home to over 120 teen contributors. For an inside look at the brain of a teenager, this is an invaluable resource for moms and dads.  

Did you know we have some amazing parent bloggers right here in Darien? Check out these local mom bloggers and come meet them in person at the Tech Moms panel event next Wednesday, February 15 at 9:30am

Lisa Boncheck Adams ( Writings on breast cancer, grief & loss, life, and family.

Nicole Lyons (All About Darien): A "good-to-know" guide for and about everything Darien.

Jacquie ( Funny, poignant tales of a transplanted Brooklynite (now Darienite) living with her husband and two kids ("The Boy" and "The Girl") in suburbia. 

Jennifer St. Jean (Itty Bitty Bag): Owner and creator of the Itty Bitty Bag company, this Darien mom is a craft and sewing goddess- she can even give detailed instructions how to hem a pleated jumper! 

Have a favorite parenting blog that we missed? Share it in the comments section below!


photo courtesy of Flickr user miguelphotobooth.


Programs for Children


Little Clickers [Fridays, March 23 - April 27 at 10:30AM]


A technology class for three- to five-year-olds with a parent/caregiver. This interactive class will introduce new kid-friendly websites and help your preschooler learn basic computer skills. *Registration is a lottery; register here between Monday, February 27 and Monday, March 12.


Techsplorers [Wednesdays, January 4, January 18, February 1, February 15 at 4:15PM]

Wailtlist for Techsplorers (Space is limited)

Children ages six- to eight-years-old will have the opportunity to reinforce computer skills, explore fun new websites and create unique projects using both traditional and digital art techniques.


iKids [Mondays, January 9, January 23, February 6, February 27 at 4:15PM]

Waitlist for iKids (Space is limited)

A creation-based technology program for nine- to twelve-year-olds. This highly interactive class focuses on using technology to express creativity. From podcasting and digital photography to book trailers and art apps, kids will explore different media and create their own.




Storytubes Creation Lab [December 27 - February 4; see registration form for details]

Click here to REGISTER. 

Calling all kid filmmakers and book lovers! Storytubes 2012 is a national competition in which children combine their love of reading with savvy tech skills to create unique book trailers. Darien Library is proud to be a Partner Library for the 2012 competition! Register to reserve time in the computer lab to use the Children's Library cameras and software to make your book trailer.


Part of Cyber Parents & Digital Natives: A Technology Series for the Modern Family.


Programs for Parents

Monday Matinee Film Series

Grab a coffee on us, get comfortable and explore the role of technology in the lives of children and teens as presented in these eye-opening documentaries:

     Digital Nation [Mondays, January 9 and January 23 at 10AM]  Over a single generation, the Web and digital media have remade nearly every aspect of modern culture. Frontline explores our lives as citizens in a digital age. 90 minutes.

     Remote Control [Mondays, February 6 and February 27 at 10AM]   The average American child spends over 40 hours per week consuming media, the equivalent of a full-time job. Remote Control offers a fascinating look at the centrality of media in our lives, revealing far-reaching effects that we are only beginning to understand. 39 minutes.

     Growing Up Online [Mondays, March 5 and 19 at 10AM]   This Frontline documentary peers inside the world of the new cyber-savvy generation of tweens and teeens; a generation with a radically different notion of privacy and personal space. 60 minutes.


Computer Basics for Parents [Wednesday, January 18, 9:30 - 11:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Have you just begun to dip a toes into the digital waters? We've got the perfect beginner's class for you. Learn basic computer vocabulary and concepts. Play with common applications and software. Ask questions and get answers! 


Facebook & Google+: A Workshop for Parents [Wednesday, January 25, 9:30 - 11:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Are you on Facebook or Google+? How about your tween or teen? In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to navigate privacy settings and keep your profile safe in both Facebook and Google+.


Twitter for Parents

Tuesday, January 31, 9:30 - 10:30AM [Click here to REGISTER.]

Wednesday, February 1, 9:30 - 10:30AM [Click here to REGISTER.]

Tweeting's not just for the birds anymore! Learn the basics of using Twitter and experience how this dynamic tool can connect people across the globe. Find out how to limit settings and establish guidelines for tweens and tween who tweet. Register for one of the two offered workshops.


Tweet Up with the Children's Librarians [Fridays, February 10 at 11AM, March 2 at 11AM]

Whether you're on Twitter 24/7 or just tentatively tweeting, join us for these fast-paced and fun conversations, known as "Tweet Ups", on Twitter. On February 10, we'll be discussing eBooks, eReaders, and best practices for engaging both reluctant and voracious young readers. On March 2, we'll be talking about using Darien Library's interactive website and catalog. Tweet along by using the hashtag #CLTweetUp. Tweet from the Children's Library computers, at home, or on the go!


Tech Moms: A Panel Discussion for Parents [Wednesday, February 15 at 9:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Have you ever thought about starting a blog or a website? Whether you're interested in posting day-in-the-life observations, starting your own online business, or forming parenting network, you'll have the opportunity to meet four local moms who regularly blog, tweet and maintain personal and/or professional websites. Find out how these modern moms successfully use technology for parenting, business, and beyond. Panelists will include Nicole Lyons, Jacquie Miller and Jennifer St. Jean. The panel will be moderated by Lisa Adams.





Etsy Workshop [Tuesday, March 6, 10AM - 12 Noon]

Click here to REGISTER.

Are you crafty? Do you make handmade goods? Etsy is the world's most vibrant place for buying and selling handmade or vintage items. Learn all about how to run an Etsy shop from Jennifer St. Jean of Itty Bitty Bag.


Smart Apps, Sound Screentime: A Panel Discussion for Parents [Tuesday, March 13 at 9:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Touch screen technology and apps have changed the way even very young children interact with media, books and each other. But how much screentime is too much? Where do parents draw the line between healthy does of technology and oversaturation? How can parents find great, educational apps for different age groups? Hear from a panel of experts who will share their experiences and recommendations. This program is co-sponsored by Darien Library and YWCA Parent Awareness, members of Thriving Youth; Connected Community.


App Chat [Thursday, March 15 at 4PM]  

Parents and educators are invited to join the Children's Librarians at this special edition of Children's Library Chat. We'll be discussing great apps for different age groups- everything from interactive eBooks to educational games. We'll also be sharing tips on how to find and evaluate apps for children.


Part of Cyber Parents & Digital Natives: A Technology Series for the Modern Family.



[Tweet bird image and laptop photo courtesy of Flickr user dmitrybarsky]



Morning Matinees for Parents in December

Darien Library will be hosting morning screenings of documentaries in December.  If you haven't had a chance to see one, or both, of these films, please join us!

Miss Representation

Monday, December 19 at 10 a.m. in the Community Room

This film looks at the negative portrayal of women and girls in the media, and its glorification of youth and beauty.  After screening at the Sundance Film Festival, Miss Representation was picked up by the Oprah Winfrey N etwork for their documentary film series.      90 minutes.  TV-14.


Waiting for Superman

Wednesday, December 21 at 10 a.m. in the Conference Room

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim tackles the topic of public education and introduces the viewer to the faces behind the statistics.             102 minutes. Rated PG.


Raising Our Sons and Daughters - A Parenting Program for the New School Year

As a parent, do you: 

• Worry that you are not doing enough?
• Struggle with embarrassing issues?
• Seek ways to reduce power struggles?
• Want to do everything you can to be
 an effective and competent parent?







Parents of boys and girls in 3rd and 4th grades are invited to join this monthly Parent Discussion Group held in the Darien Library Conference Room. Using the Raising Our Sons and Raising Our Daughters parenting guides, you will meet monthly with other parents with children of the same age/gender. This program is designed to be a pro-active approach to prepare for the tween and teen years.

Wednesdays, 10 to 11:30 AM

The first session will meet on Wednesday, October 12 at 10 AM in the Library's Conference Room.



Darien Library is a member of Thriving Youth: Connected Community, an initiative of the Human Services Planning Council for developmental asset building through meaningful relationships, experiences, skills and opportunities that benefit all our children. Thriving Youth: Connected Community is a movement in Darien to address the needs of our young people which were brought to light in the Fall when the Search Institute conducted the 40 Developmental Assets survey in our Middle and High Schools. If you missed the results when they were announced you can still view the presentation as a pdf here. Some of the sessions will be facilitated by Moira Rizzo, LMFT.

To see the list of Developmental Assets that will be discussed in this series, click here. To learn more about the Raising Our Sons and Daughters program, visit the Family Empowerment Network's website.

Space is limited - Register online here, or by calling the Children's Library at (203) 669-5235.

Jefferson's Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

In her new book, Jefferson's Sons, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley does something truly remarkable. She takes a complicated and controversial idea, that Thomas Jefferson had children by his slave Sally Hemmings, and writes about it in a simple, eloquent way that children can understand.

This book is definitely for advanced readers. The themes it tackles are complex and readers need a working knowledge of early US history to understand the world that Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston live in. The story does not shy away from the horrors of slavery - families are broken apart, friends are sold, and slaves who run away are punished when they are caught. However, by presenting the book from the perspectives of children, Bradley is able to convey her story without graphic details.

This book is generating a lot of Newbery buzz for its honesty and the high quality of its storytelling. There is a recomended reading list at the back of the book, and Bradley writes an afterword in which she details how she did her research and where she located most of her information (in primary sources from

I would recomend that parents read this book themselves if they have a child who would like to check it out, as it is a tale likely to generate a large amount of discussion.

Further reviews can be found here , here, and here. Highly recomended for children 9+.


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