Healthy steps to the li­brary

He­len O’Cal­laghan on why li­braries are a great re­source for chil­dren

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Parenting -

IF you’re de­ter­mined to keep your new year res­o­lu­tion to get the whole fam­ily health­ier in 2019, make a trip to your lo­cal li­brary a pri­or­ity.

Healthy Ire­land at Your Li­brary, a Govern­men­tled ini­tia­tive launched be­fore Christ­mas, is part of a na­tional strat­egy to im­prove health and well­be­ing by fo­cus­ing on pre­ven­tion, in­di­vid­ual aware­ness and keep­ing peo­ple healthy for longer.

“Li­braries get huge num­bers through their doors each year and it’s not just for the is­su­ing and re­turn­ing of books,” says ex­ec­u­tive li­brar­ian with Meath Co Coun­cil Shauna Henry, who’s on the Healthy Ire­land at the Li­brary Com­mit­tee.

“Li­braries are seen as hav­ing in­for­ma­tion on dif­fer­ent top­ics, so as a one-stop shop to pro­mote health, they’re per­fect.”

Ti­tles in­clude Eat Your Greens, Goldilocks: A Story about Eat­ing Healthily and Ju­lia Jar­man’s Fussy Freda, a cau­tion­ary tale about fussy eaters. There’s also Maisy Learns to Swim from the Maisy First Ex­pe­ri­ence Book se­ries by Lucy Cousins. And with the rise in young chil­dren’s anx­i­ety, the Mind­fully Me se­ries by chil­dren’s ther­a­pist/ mindfulness teacher Louise Shanagher is spo­ton and is the first set of mindfulness books di­rected at Ir­ish pri­mary school­child­ren aged four to eight.

Mind­fully Me has three ti­tles:

It’s Al­ways There – ‘Come on a jour­ney through cloudy days when you don’t feel so good and learn a se­cret trick to find your sun­shine again’.

Where is Happy? ‘A quest to find Happy brings you closer to home than you ever could have imag­ined’. It en­cour­ages chil­dren to ques­tion whether ex­ter­nal things like toys or sweets bring last­ing hap­pi­ness.

Look Who’s Here ‘Find out about your feel­ings and make some new friends along the way’.

Over 700 free health-re­lated com­mu­nity events will hap­pen in li­braries na­tion­wide as part of Healthy Ire­land at Your Li­brary in up­com­ing months. For ex­am­ple, child health-fo­cused events tak­ing place in Jan­uary in Co Cork li­braries in­clude ‘De­vel­op­ing re­silience, con­fi­dence and so­cial skills in chil­dren’ by au­thor of Bully-Proof Kids Stella O’Mal­ley; ‘In­ter­net Safety and Cy­ber­bul­ly­ing’ with Barnar­dos; and ‘Mi­crobe Magic: learn about mi­crobes and how to keep them happy’ – hands-on work­shop for kids from APC Mi­cro­biome (UCC).

Pic­ture: iS­tock

TREA­SURE TROVE: Pick­ing the right book is key.

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