The past two years have had a profound effect on how we all interact with others. For many adults it has been a difficult time, but for children, whether very small or older, it has been even more difficult as they were only just beginning to learn how to integrate with other children; both at nursery and then at primary school. For those ho are just that little bit older, it can be even more of an issue. After all, they had just got used to school and having new friends and then suddenly they were cut off from this contact and often restricted to a very small space as well; those living in small flats would have had a particularly difficult time. This charming little book follows Little Squirrel as he gradually learns to renew his contact with the world around him and finds that the other animals are friendly and caring and want to help him get used to the wood he lives in.
Thank you for Katie O’Donoghue for writing this introduction to her work and explaining the background to the story. With her work as a child therapist she has first hand experience of the issues that young people face at times like this and hopefully her book will help many children cope with all of the changes they face.
From the author:
“It’s time for Little Squirrel to start collecting acorns for winter, but he hasn’t left his tree since last autumn. He is nervous about going outside again after such a long time tucked up in his nest. The more Little Squirrel thinks about venturing down to the forest floor, the more he worries about the unknown and what might be waiting for him….The past few years have certainly had an impact on everyone’s wellbeing and mental health, with research identifying that anxiety in children ages 3-17 have increased over the last five years.
The tale of “The Little Squirrel Who Worried“, introduces the reader to the world of a Little red Squirrel and follows him on his adventures through the forest. As little squirrel encounters new friends on his journey we learn valuable strategies to equip us with skills that will benefit us our whole lives. We engage with anxiety psychoeducation*, helping the reader to understand anxiety what it is and how it can physically present. Distraction techniques that helps to take your mind off worried thoughts. Coping strategies, relaxation techniques and CBT** Thought challenging skills. These complex issues are told gently in a child like way and through the engagement of the characters in the forest that little squirrel meets. The tale invites the reader to meet Wren and Snuffly Hedgehog, Grey Rabbit to Mister Fox and from Old Badger to Great Stag. All these techniques can be useful in helping children manage any worried thoughts and feelings they may be having. It is the perfect book for a parent and child to sit down together and to use as a springboard for difficult conversation. Its also a great resource for teachers to use in the classroom to help children learn mindful techniques which can support them through the rest of their lives.
* psychoeducation – learning about and understanding mental health and wellbeing
** CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy
A timely story with a message that’s suitable for children and adults alike. As well as teaching coping strategies to help manage anxiety, it is a lovely way to help a child relax and regulate. With the increase in children being impacted by anxiety and other mental health concerns and a demand in services, resources like The Little Squirrel Who Worried are needed to help families navigate the ways to best support children’s wellbeing.”