Free Summer Fun in Rhode Island

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boy with sunglasses and hat sticking tongue out playfully, free summer fun in rhode island

There is truly something special about summertime in Rhode Island and there are so many options for free fun at our fingertips. The kids being out of school means more days to fill, and the cost to do so can add up quickly for families. Below is a list of ideas for free summer fun in Rhode Island that will keep the money in our wallets and the memories in our hearts.

Libraries—Beyond the Books

We love the library and we go frequently in the summer time as a rainy-day option or for a special event they have planned. Check out your local library’s website to find the fun and free events they have to offer for kids and their families. Our favorites so far have been Kid Bingo at Warwick Public Library and Lego Club at East Greenwich Free Library!

Spray Parks

We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have many spray parks and splash pads accessible for families to beat the heat and enjoy together. Find one nearest you with the brief list below:

Northern RI

  • World War II Memorial Park | Woonsocket
  • Veteran’s Memorial Park | Central Falls
  • Fargnoli Park | Providence
  • Neutaconkanut Recreation | Providence
  • Deerfield Park | Smithfield

Central RI

  • Cooney Park | Cranston

Eastern RI

  • Police Cove Park | Barrington
  • Payne Park | East Providence

Southern RI

  • Wilson Park | North Kingstown

RI Walks Challenge

Join many others in the hunt for the steel creature sculptures hidden throughout trails in the RI Walks Challenge! Details on the challenge and trails can be found here!

Trails of Trolls

Go for a stroll to check out the troll installations down at Ninigret Park in Charlestown.

Movies in the Park

Head over to Rocky Point Park in Warwick on a Thursday in July and catch one of their free movies in the park. Food trucks are available, but a picnic from home will do just the trick. Find dates and movie showings here.

Please share in the comments if you have any other free summer fun ideas to add!

The Best Spots in Rhode Island for Family Photos

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woman holding up camera in front of her face with beach behind her, rhode island family photos

As a Rhode Island transplant, I’m amazed by how beautiful this tiny state is. No matter where you turn, you can find a picturesque background for family photos. The options are endless, and sometimes that can be overwhelming. Where are the best spots in Rhode Island for family photos? Where can you get privacy for do-it-yourself family photos? What do Rhode Island photographers have to say?

Do-It-Yourself Locations

The experts use these locations for their shots too, but what makes these spots great for the DIY mama is seclusion. These locations have many private spots where there are fewer distractions. This makes it easier to retake as many shots as you want. So go ahead ask your toddler to smile for the fortieth time!

Rocky Point State Park, Warwick

Rocky Point is located in Warwick where the amusement park used to be. It offers both ocean and rolling green hill backgrounds. There is also a beautiful fishing pier to capture shots of Bristol Sound. The park gets quite busy on the weekends, so capturing your perfect shot might be easier during the week.

Sandy Point Beach, East Greenwich

This small, somewhat remote beach offers a perfect place to capture great photos. Word of caution: the beach is a bit rocky and closed shoes are recommended. Insider tip: the best secluded spot on the beach is at the end of Ives Rd.

sunset over beach

Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln

The possibilities for picturesque photos are endless at this state park. There is a cute pond nestled in the middle of the park. Pro tip: come during the fall for some perfect foliage photos.  Also, dogs are welcome to join here!

The Experts

These are gorgeous and unique locations that these local photographers like to use.

Kelsea Godek Photography

“Sachuest Point + Second Beach in Middletown offer an incredible blend of coastal beauty and natural charm, making it my favorite photography location year-round. Specializing in beach sessions, these connected locations have it all: a natural coastal landscape, open fields, dunes, maintained pathways, and incredible sunsets. My favorite way to end the session is on sandy Second Beach splashing in the water complimented by the golden hues of sunset.”

Mother and father with toddler on the beach at sunset
Photo courtesy of Kelsea Godek Photography

Jeff and Kari Photography

“Napatree Beach in Westerly is our go-to spot for maternity and family photoshoots. It’s a location that offers endless possibilities for capturing beautiful moments. The variety in this small area is fantastic—we can work with the dramatic dunes for texture or head right down to the water’s edge. The light, especially at sunset, is pure magic, which creates a stunning backdrop for any photo. It’s a great spot to capture those timeless family moments with a beautiful natural landscape.”  (Note that if you are pregnant, it can be a bit difficult walking up the sandy hill to get to the beach, but it’s worth it!)

Woman in white dress and man holding hands and walking on the beach
Photo courtesy of Jeff and Kari Photography

Nicole Belfi Photography

“My favorite location to photograph family portraits is Brenton State Park in Newport. I love the breathtaking ocean views. There is a large rock in the ocean that is easy to climb and there is a small beach area right next to it. In my opinion any location with your loved ones is perfect. Yes, photography is about location but it’s more about the memories made during the session. I have done some sessions in a backyard or a grassy field and the results are all stunning. My goal is to capture the love and beauty within the family.”

Family of four holding hands and smiling at each other on the beach
Photo courtesy of Nicole Belfi Photography

Amanda Lee’s Captured Moments

“My favorite place to photograph in Rhode Island is the Kinney Azalea Gardens located in Kingston. It is special to me because it is the first floral location I photographed my own daughter at eight years ago. It is a magical place that is a breath of fresh air and I find it so special to share this gem with other families while capturing their memorable moments.”
Group of girls in colored dresses posing in flower garden
Photo courtesy of Amanda Lee’s Captured Moments

The beautiful state of Rhode Island is waiting to capture your favorite family photos. All you need is a good camera or photographer!

Birthday Traditions

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colorful birthday decorations laid out on a table, birthday traditionsI was so excited for my daughter to wake up and find her birthday surprise waiting downstairs. I was counting down the minutes until I could show her the overly decorated kitchen we had set up the night before. There was a giant gold foil number balloon, perfectly wrapped gifts, and all her favorite stuffed animals waiting with party hats. But much to my surprise, she came downstairs and immediately asked that I take off each party hat one by one. It got me thinking about other birthday traditions that we could start in our family—ones that she would like more than our epic birthday morning failure! 

Host a birthday party

Pick a theme, order the party decor, and invite your child’s closest family and friends to join the fun! You can host a birthday party at a local venue or right in your backyard or house. Give a nod to the Mexican party tradition by smashing a piñata filled with candy and knickknacks. It’s always fun to celebrate a birthday surrounded by loved ones. 

Set out on a day date

Pick a local spot to spend some quality time with your little one. This might look like a day at their favorite playground or going to the bowling alley. This tradition might seem simple, but oftentimes all our little ones want is our undivided attention and a little one-on-one time at their favorite place

Decorate their bedroom doorway

Join the tradition that has gone viral on TikTok by decorating your child’s bedroom door the night before their birthday. It only requires a few streamers and balloons. Don’t forget to capture their reaction when they open their bedroom door on their special day! 

Whip up their favorite dinner

Ask your child what they would like on the dinner menu and make sure you have all the ingredients (or the phone number to their favorite restaurant!). This tradition is the perfect way to slow down and celebrate your child’s birthday during a busy weekday or season. 

Create a scavenger hunt

Send your birthday child off on a scavenger hunt using unique clues that are all them! Each clue can be made using little fun facts about your child’s birth story, family, hometown, hobbies, or a silly riddle! 

Interview your child 

Record your child’s answers to a set of questions that capture their interests and favorite moments from the past year. This can easily become a sweet tradition to reflect on year after year as your child grows.

Get creative

Invite your child to make art using their favorite medium, or mix together a few ingredients to make slime. It’s their birthday, they can make a mess if they want to! Another fun way to get creative is to grab an assortment of art supplies from the dollar store (such as popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners) and invite your child to create their own masterpiece by cutting, gluing, and coloring for an open-ended activity. 

Bake a cake

What better way to celebrate your birthday than by devouring your favorite dessert? You can make this tradition extra fun by making a homemade dessert. Whether it is a traditional yellow cake, a seven-layer ice cream cake, or a rainbow cake, the time in the kitchen being covered in flour with your child is priceless. Add a candle or two and let the birthday superstar blow out them out and make a wish! 

Write a journal entry

This one is for the parents. Grab an empty notebook or find a personalized journal on Etsy and write a letter to your child on this day. What do you love most about them at this age? What was your favorite memory? What do you hope they remember from this past year? This will be a treasured keepsake in the years to come.  

cupcake with 1 candle with baby in the background

Our little one’s birthday surprise might have been a flop, but we turned it around with a store-bought cupcake in an undecorated kitchen. At the end of the day, your child wants to be seen and celebrated for being the wonderful, amazing person they are! I hope these simple traditions can help make that happen for your little one, year after year. 

Day Date Destinations Throughout Rhode Island

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Summer has officially arrived! The days are longer, the nights are shorter, and there’s no better time to get out for a date with your partner. Despite being a small state, Rhode Island has so much to do and see! So book the babysitter, hug your kids goodbye, and check out one of these great day date destinations.

Relax at the Spa

Three hydrotherapy pools in room, day date destinations rhode island
Photo courtesy of Bohdi Spa Providence (Maaike Photography)

With locations in Providence and Newport, the Bodhi Spa is a must-visit for couples looking for a few hours of relaxation. The spa offers a variety of wellness treatments including massages and hydrotherapy. Go on the popular Water Journey where you can access a series of pools with varying temperatures, saunas, steam rooms, and relaxation areas to achieve ultimate rejuvenation.

Hop on the Ferry

Spend a day exploring Providence, Newport, Bristol, or Block Island by climbing aboard a nearby ferry. The Block Island Ferry departs from Point Judith to and from Block Island and Newport and has traditional and high-speed options. The Seastreak Ferry departs to or from Providence, Newport, and Bristol. This is a great way to visit some of Rhode Island’s charming cities and towns without the hassle of traffic or parking.

Do a Tasting

Outdoor seating at a winery with trees, flower bushes, and white tent
Photo courtesy of Diamond Hill Vineyards

Rhode Island is home to many great wineries and breweries, and this is another fun option for a day date. Diamond Hill Vineyards is a local favorite and a delightful spot to spend an afternoon. Swing into Phantom Farms before visiting the vineyard to grab a sandwich or other picnic supplies. Also nearby are Ravenous Brewing Company and the newly-opened Phantom Farms Brewing if a brewery is more your speed. Both breweries have a rotating lineup of onsite food trucks, as well as entertainment including live music.

Take a Hike

Enjoy the gorgeous summer weather while getting some exercise and fresh air on a hike or walk at one of the many trails located throughout Rhode Island. All of the places previously listed in our family-friendly walks post would be equally enjoyable (and maybe a little less stressful) without the kids!

Go For a Ride

Couple riding on red railbike with water and trees in the background
Photo courtesy of Rail Explorers

Finally, see more of our state by booking a ride on a railbike tour through Rail Explorers. The Southern Circuit travels through the woodlands of Aquidneck Island. It also boasts views of Narragansett Bay and a waterfront picnic area to stop at. The Northern Ramble route passes through waterfront estates, golf courses, coastal woodlands, and more. Certainly, a cool way to spend a day!

Do you have a great summer day date destination not mentioned? Leave it in the comment section below!

My 2024 Rhode Island Summer Bucket List

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Rhode Island lighthouse in summer surrounded by water, rhode island summer bucket list

Summer is the season to get outside and explore. For my family this year, sports schedules have taken over and dashed our hopes of a vacation. While we won’t be traveling out of state, we’ve decided to turn the next eight weeks into our very own summer “stay-cation” and explore the sights and attractions that Rhode Island has to offer. And, hopefully, make some great memories along the way, too!

Here’s our bucket list of Rhode Island “staples” of things to eat, see, or do, to make the most of our summer in Rhode Island.

Eat

A bite or treat to accompany us on our journey…

See

Some of the great sights and experiences Rhode Island has to offer…

Do

Experiences you can only do during the summer months…

While there are plenty of additional things we could add to the list, we wanted to make our bucket list achievable by the time school starts in late August. What experiences would you add to your list?

Dietary-Friendly Ice Cream Options in Rhode Island

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three soft-serve ice cream cones, dietary-friendly ice cream in rhode islandSummer is here! That means it’s time to indulge in some frozen treats. We know that many of you have special diets, and we don’t want you or your kids to feel excluded. We’ve compiled a list of places across Rhode Island that have vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and nut-free options. Please enjoy this list of dietary-friendly ice cream options in Rhode Island, and go treat yourself!

Ice Cream Shops

LIKE NO UDDER :: PROVIDENCE

783 Hope Street
Now open at their new location, Like No Udder is the ultimate destination for dietary-friendly options, offering vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and sugar-free choices.

vanilla soft serve ice cream in a cup with chocolate chips, dietary-friendly ice cream in rhode island
Photo courtesy of Like No Udder

THE SACRED COW :: EAST PROVIDENCE

187 North Brow Street
Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free options!

UDDER DELIGHTS ICE CREAM & FROZEN DESSERTS :: CRANSTON / COVENTRY

1426 Park Avenue / 1373 Main Street
Vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free ice cream options. They also have gluten-free cones!

SUNDAES :: CRANSTON / JOHNSTON

775 Oaklawn Avenue / 95 Greenville Avenue
Vegan soft-serve and hard ice cream, dairy-free, and no-sugar-added options.

LINCOLN CREAMERY :: LINCOLN

276 Front Street
Dairy-free options.

LITTLE RHODY ICE CREAM :: WEST WARWICK

283 Quaker Lane
Vegan and no-sugar-added options. Call ahead to find out what flavor is in stock!

GiGi’S SCOOPS :: EAST GREENWICH

1855 South County Trail
Dairy-free options.

THE INSIDE SCOOP :: NORTH KINGSTOWN

30 Ten Rod Road
Vegan, dairy-free, and no-sugar-added options.

NEWPORT STICKS & CONES :: NEWPORT

8 Fair Street
Vegan ice cream and gelato options.

NANA’S ICE CREAM :: NARRAGANSETT

28A Pier Market Place
Vegan and dairy-free ice cream and gelato options, and sugar-free options.

Restaurants

THREE SISTERS :: PROVIDENCE

1074 Hope Street
Vegan options. Call ahead to find out what flavor is in stock!

VEGGIE FUN :: PROVIDENCE

123 Dorrance Street
Vegan and gluten-free ice cream options and other vegan desserts.

PLANT CITY :: PROVIDENCE / WARWICK

334 South Water Street / 70 Centerville Road
Vegan soft-serve and hard ice cream and milkshake options, depending on location.

WILDFLOUR :: PAWTUCKET

727 East Avenue
Vegan smoothie options.

Specialty Treats

LIKE NO UDDER :: PROVIDENCE

783 Hope Street
That’s right! Like No Udder makes the list again! Call ahead to order vegan ice cream sandwiches and cakes.

ice cream cookie sandwich, dietary-friendly ice cream in rhode island
Photo courtesy of Like No Udder

TRICYCLE ICE CREAM :: PROVIDENCE

70 Battey Street
Vegan ice cream sandwiches and sorbet push-pops.

Ice Cream Trucks

VEGAN SUGA :: PROVIDENCE COUNTY

Vegan soft-serve ice cream with toppings in a cone or cup.

THE MOO-MOBILE :: PROVIDENCE COUNTY

Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options.

Hopefully, this list gives you enough dietary-friendly options across the Ocean State so your entire family can enjoy a frozen treat this summer. Please feel free to reach out to Rhode Island Moms if you see any more places that can be added to this growing list of dietary-friendly ice cream options in Rhode Island!

Rhode Island Food Trucks Guide

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Man handing woman food from food truck, rhode island food trucks

School’s out, the weather is heating up, and our cupboards are about to fill our sinks. Take a night (or two) off from dishes and head to one of the many Rhode Island food truck nights that our lil’ state has to offer! Use this Rhode Island Food Trucks guide as a resource for your next dish-free family dinner. Before you pack up the kids and picnic blanket, I recommend checking HERE for any schedule changes.

Below is a schedule, organized by city/town, to find the food truck event nearest you!

Rhode Island Food Truck Events 

Northern Rhode Island

  • Food Truck Concert Nights @ Diamond Hill Park | Cumberland

7/25 5-8:30pm, 8/10 4-9pm “Cumberland Community Celebration,” 9/21 4-7pm

  • Sunday Food Truck Funday @ Sacred Cow | East Providence

8/11 4-7:30pm

  • Foster Fairgrounds Food Truck Nights @ Foster Fairgrounds | Foster

8/21 5-8pm

  • Assembly of Food Trucks | Harrisville, Burriville 

7/28 & 8/25 4:30-8:30pm

  • Johnston Food Truck Nights @ Memorial Park | Johnston

7/27 & 8/31 4:30-8:30pm

  • Food Trucks & Concerts @ Chase Farm | Lincoln

7/6 & 8/3 5-8:30pm, 9/14 4-7:30pm

  • Food Truck Fridays @ Roger Williams Park | Providence

Friday nights 5-8:30pm, starting 9/6 5-8pm

  • Midweek Mobile Munchies & Music | Woonsocket

7/10 & 8/7 5-8pm

Central Rhode Island 

  • Food Truck Fridays @ Mulligan’s Island | Cranston

Friday nights thru 8/30 4-8pm

  • Warwick Food Truck Night @ Crowne Plaza | Warwick 

7/18, 8/15, 9/12 5-8:30pm, 10/4 4:30-7:30pm

Southern Rhode Island

  • Food Trucks Hop into Hopkinton | Hopkinton

8/1 5-8pm

  • Food Truck Sunsets @ Safe Harbor New England Boatworks | Portsmouth

7/13 & 8/17 4:30-8pm

  • Food Trucks Eats & Beats @ Sons of Liberty | South Kingstown

7/14 & 8/11 11:30-3pm

Be sure to keep this Rhode Island Food Trucks resource handy, and comment below if you have other events we can update our guide with! Happy eating!

Hidden Gems: Farm Stands You Can’t Miss in Rhode Island

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hands holding a bowl of tomatoes, rhode island farm stands

As a mom of two littles, we are always on the go! These local farm stands are hidden gems that make shopping with children in tow a fun adventure with no long checkout lines! Plus a quick stop by each stand helps support local small businesses right in our communities. We invite you to roll your windows down, turn up your favorite music, and buckle up for a trip to these Rhode Island farm stands that are off the beaten path!

Lucky Clover Farm :: North Scituate

477 Rocky Hill Road
Season vegetables, plants, cut flowers, herbal body products

Stocked farm stand with American flag
Photo courtesy of Lucky Clover Farm

This self-serve farm stand is located roadside and stocked with seasonal vegetables, cut flowers and hanging baskets. You can be sure to find annual, perennial, and herb plants to grow in your own garden! Lucky Clover also carries The Grounded Gardener herbal body products—balms, body butters, and more! Swing by this countryside farm stand or message them to pre-order. They are open until sundown, weather permitting. Encourage your child to bring along a book to swap in Ruby’s newly built Little Free Library! Cash and Venmo are accepted.

Freedom Farm :: Chepachet

395 Chestnut Hill Road
Sourdough bakery

Farm stand with baked goods
Photo courtesy of Freedom Farm

Stop by this micro-bakery on Saturday or Sunday for a homemade sourdough baked good. Sourdough loaves (traditional, everything, and Lindt) are hot out of the oven on Sundays only! This mama of two has created a growing menu that also includes cinnamon buns, browned butter chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, cut flowers, and farm fresh eggs. Our little one cannot leave this stand without a mouth-watering chocolate chip cookie…or three! Cash and Venmo are accepted. 

Mapleville Farm :: Burrillville

544 Victory Highway
Artisan bake shoppe

Croissants from the farm stand
Photo courtesy of Mapleville Farm

This hidden gem is located in the heart of little ‘ole Mapleville. Drive slowly or you just might miss it! All produce and items on their menu are locally grown and baked at the farm. The family-owned farm specializes in homemade breads, jams and jellies, fresh produce, flowers, seasonal pies, Italian cookies, and pizza strips. Just when you thought they had it all…they added Croissant Sundays! Order ahead to get your hands on their delicious homemade croissants (original and chocolate) on the first Sunday of the month. Grab a table in their new greenhouse and enjoy a special treat with your littles before hitting the road. Curb-side pickup is available upon request! Open Saturdays 9-5 p.m. and Sundays 9-3 p.m. Cash or check accepted. 

The Farm :: Glocester

463 Tourtellot Hill Road
Small-scale organic farm

Farm stand stocked with fruit and vegetables
Photo courtesy of The Farm

The Farm has quickly grown in size and in our hearts! It offers the highest-quality organic produce, fresh cut flowers, and baked goods all year long. Be sure to stop in their storefront for locally sourced products, such as Wright’s Dairy Farm milk and ice cream.  We are patiently awaiting the arrival of their farm-fresh blueberries that our toddler eats by the pint! Summer hours are Wednesdays and Fridays, 12-4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 9-1 p.m. Cash or credit cards are accepted.

Homegrown Blooms :: Tiverton

1288 Bulgarmarsh Road
Seasonal bouquets and stems

Flower bouquet in front of a farm stand
Photo courtesy of Homegrown Blooms

Looking to grab flowers for someone special in your life? Homegrown Blooms is worth the drive! This farm stand is a flower lover’s dream, stocked with fresh-cut flower bouquets and stems that would brighten anyone’s day. Follow along on Facebook or Instagram for updates from the florist as she plants, tends, and harvests each bloom for her stand as well as for local weddings and events. Farm stand florals are available April-December. You can also find seasonal arrangements such as dried floral pumpkins, holiday florals, and wreaths. Cash and Venmo are accepted.

A dozen farm fresh eggs and flowers from the farm stand
Photo courtesy of Mapleville Farm

We hope you enjoy these wonderful Rhode Island farm stands! Be on the lookout for local farm stands in your community and be sure to come back and let us know!

Guide to Pick-Your-Own Berries in Rhode Island and Beyond

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It’s pick your own berry season! Nothing is better than taking the kids out to pick your own berries! Things can change quickly based on weather and crop conditions so always be sure to contact the farm ahead of time to confirm hours and availability.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

pick your own blueberries
Credit: Bohdan Bevz for iStock

Harmony Farms – North Scituate

    • Offers blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and apples.
    • Harmony Farms

Salisbury Farm – Johnston

      • Known for strawberries, raspberries, and a New England corn maze.
      • Salisbury Farm

Rocky Point Farm – Warwick

Jaswell’s Farm – Smithfield

Sweet Berry Farm – Middletown

    • Provides strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and apples.
    • Sweet Berry Farm

Smith’s Berry Farm – Saunderstown

Quonset View Farm – Portsmouth

Dame Farm & Orchard – Johnston

Delvecchio’s Farm – North Kingstown

Four Town Farm – Seekonk, MA

    • Provides strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
    • Four Town Farm

Goodwin Brothers Farm – North Smithfield

Macomber’s Blueberry Farm – Coventry

Pinecrest Farm – Richmond

The Blueberry Place – Seekonk, MA

Carpenter’s Farm – Wakefield

If we’ve missed your favorite farm, comment below and we’ll be sure to add it in!

How to Best Support Your Child’s Mental Health

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We all want our children to thrive, but we may wonder how best to support them in terms of mental health. Here are some suggestions.

good mental health

You can find a setting for natural conversation.

Ever notice your child suddenly becomes very talkative when it’s time to tuck in?

Sometimes, it’s more than that extra cup of water.  Anticipating the next day’s events and separation from you can make them want to talk things through.  A recess retelling can segue into an issue that’s bothering them.

Teens especially can open up later in the evening.  The same kid who wouldn’t look up from their phone for the past three hours suddenly wants to vent and maybe even ask for advice, though they’d never admit it.  Clearing their minds of residual stress and thoughts of the day sets the stage for a good night’s sleep.

Another place where natural conversation occurs is the car.

With no direct eye contact, no one staring them down, and yet a captive audience, kids may be more willing to broach a subject when sitting shoulder to shoulder, facing in the same direction—especially if it’s just the two of you.

Please make sure that every emotion is valid.

Sometimes, emotions are messy.

Please encourage your child to allow all those that present themselves.  Explain that pretending to feel one way when we think the opposite only changes our facial expression or body language; it’s healthier to feel the emotion and decide what’s next.

Of course, this does not mean allowing inappropriate or dangerous actions. No one can tell you how to feel about stress, but the exact behavioral expectations still apply. Please include your child in determining appropriate coping strategies until a strong emotion passes, and they can discuss what’s happening.

Older children can benefit from journaling about how they feel.

At the very least, the process will help expel some excess energy associated with the feeling.  It may even help them identify where the feeling is coming from and to find a way forward.

Please keep any changes in behavior in mind.

Even the most share-averse kid can give hints as to their internal temperature.

This doesn’t mean a depressed child will present as sad; an anxious child will be nervous.

Sudden changes in how your child acts can indicate shifts in their mental state.

Has their temperament moved in the opposite direction?  Do they have new hobbies or pastimes?  Have they lost interest in beloved ones?  Are they hanging out with different friends?  Or have they stopped talking to/seeing friends?

Be a trusted person.

The most important thing you can do for your child’s mental health is lend your support.  Be open and approachable so they feel comfortable talking to you about anything and everything.  They will know they have someone who truly listens, and you will have a better gauge of where they are and what they need.

Also, please remember that you do not have to be an expert.  Knowing your child best and when they might need more help is even more crucial. And that’s when you should call in the professionals!

Sometimes, children need more support than we can offer.  If you feel this is the case, here are some ways you can locate the proper resources:

  • Go to school: school adjustment counselor, guidance counselor, school psychologist, or social worker. They can meet with your child or offer ideas for out-of-school resources.
  • Ask the pediatrician. There may be a counselor the practice is familiar with or has worked with previously.  They can offer insight into the process of next steps.
  • Use the ‘Find a Therapist’ tab on Psychology Today. Search by specialty, city, zip code, etc.  Read provider details, including methods and philosophies, and find contact info.
  • Become certified in Mental Health First Aid. Learn common challenges to youth’s mental health, how to determine whether more help is needed, and how to assist individuals in finding it.

Some local agencies that offer MHFA training:

NAMI Rhode Island

Washington County Coalition for Children

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Rhode Island Life

Free Summer Fun in Rhode Island

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There is truly something special about summertime in Rhode Island and there are so many options for free fun at our fingertips. The kids...