Understanding Mental Illness in Children


Published:

Despite years of research, medical breakthroughs and efforts to educate the public, mental illness is still widely misunderstood. A family facing a child's mental health crisis is likely to feel overwhelmed, isolated and judged.

The key to finding a way through this struggle, mental health experts say, is knowledge and support. Several Triangle-area families who have traveled this road - whose last names are withheld to protect their child's privacy - share their experiences in hopes of helping other parents facing a child's mental illness.

Signs of a mental health challenge

Experts cite changes in sleep patterns or appetite, irritability, difficulty focusing, avoiding favorite activities and problems in relationships as possible indications that a child is struggling with a mental health challenge. Physical complaints are also common with younger children; truancy and drug abuse can be red flags for teens. These symptoms may be most noticeable at home but can also impact school performance and friendships.

Karen recalls that her daughter had always been "a little high-strung" but says she became concerned when the then-6-year-old began complaining excessively of stomachaches and exhibiting heightened anxiety. "She didn't want me to go anywhere without her," Karen says. "I began having to pick her up from school on a regular basis."

Kim notes a similarly unexpected change in her daughter. "My daughter was 4½ when we first noticed a change in her personality and behavior," she says. "She turned from a calm, complacent, loving child into a demanding, loud, obnoxious brat - like the 'terrible 2s,' only delayed."

Heidi remembers that her son, as a 15-year-old, was "smart, social and well-liked" when, over the summer, he began sleeping all day and avoiding his friends. Unsure whether this was just a stage, she and her husband gave him some time. But when school resumed and he opted not to try out for the basketball team - and then refused to go to school at all - they became concerned that it was something more serious.

What to do if you suspect a problem

One of the difficulties in identifying whether a child is experiencing a mental health challenge is that children are, by their very nature, changeable. The brain undergoes normal changes that can disrupt sleep and affect mood. For that reason, experts caution, consider changes in your child's mental or emotional state in

terms of the severity, duration and impact symptoms are having on your child's quality of life.

"It's important to note that these changes do not necessarily indicate any specific condition or even a mental illness at all," says John Curry, a clinical psychologist specializing in adolescent psychology at the Duke Child and Family Study Center in Durham. "A good starting point is a conversation between the parents, then with members of their immediate support system to see if others have noticed the changes and share this concern."

Teachers and guidance counselors may also offer perspective as to whether these changes are a normal developmental phase or something unusual. If concerns persist, talk to your pediatrician or visit a child mental health specialist to discuss whether an evaluation is warranted, Curry says.

Experts and parents caution, however, that even with these elements assessed, the path to answers is not always a straight one. Sometimes an initial diagnosis is discarded as treatment fails to help, new symptoms appear or evaluations suggest an additional condition is present.

Cynthia's son, now 20, was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Then, just before turning 11, he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder as well. "I was aware of some of his compulsions/obsessions early, around age 4 or 5 - his extreme neatness, absolute need for order," she notes. "[But] as these challenging rituals became more intense, we knew we were dealing with something in addition to the autism."

To help guide parents through the often complex process of getting an accurate diagnosis, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has developed recommendations that include a comprehensive physical exam by your child's pediatrician, an evaluation for co-occurring conditions (such as learning disability or sensory integration problems), good record-keeping and working with specialists in children's mental health.

Cynthia's advice: "One, don't panic. Two, don't jump to conclusions. Three, you are not alone."

Managing fear, stigma and guilt

Unfortunately, "alone" is how many parents feel when they learn their child has a mental illness.

"Our world went dark, to put it mildly," says Kim of her now 15-year-old daughter's difficulties. Managing her conditions - attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, pervasive developmental delay and oppositional defiant disorder - involves frequent adjustments to her treatment regimen as she matures. "It's getting harder to do," Kim acknowledges. "As a parent, my heart breaks every day."

For many families, too, the difficulty is compounded by society's general unease with the subject of mental illness.

"One thing you hear is that mental illness is not a 'casserole' illness - [meaning] if your child is hospitalized due to a psychotic break or suicide attempt, neighbors do not bring casseroles or offer to get your mail," explains Jennifer Rothman, NAMI North Carolina program director for young families. "Families feel isolated due to family members and friends not knowing how to handle a mental illness."

Heidi's family has experienced such isolation during her now 29-year-old son's battle with bipolar disorder. When he dropped out of school and was hospitalized for severe depression, "all of his friends disappeared. I kept thinking that if he had broken his leg, they'd have been lining up to see him," she says. "That really sparked my anger."

Adding to families' pain is the common misconception that a child's mental illness is the result of poor parenting. Ironically, sometimes the people struggling hardest with this notion are the parents themselves.

"I felt very guilty," says Karen, whose daughter, now 10, was eventually diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. "I wondered what I was doing wrong as a parent that I could bring my child to such a state of trauma."

While these feelings are common, mental health experts urge parents not to focus on blame, but on how to help their child.

"Emotional problems have different causes," explains Donald Rosenblitt, executive and clinical director of the Lucy Daniels Center in Cary, which provides mental health services for children up to age 11. "Some types of emotional problems are more dependent upon genetic and other biological factors than others. Some are more likely to be affected by life experiences than others."

Curry adds, "I simply tell parents, 'We're going to form a team' - parent, child and me - 'to identify the problems and how to address them.'"

Cynthia, who is now a parent educator with NAMI NC, agrees. "We are not helpful to our children when we spend time determining responsibility or assigning blame," she asserts. "Mental illness, like all illness, is a part of the human life experience."

Family education and support

One critical element helping parents face this challenge is knowledge.

"An informed, educated family can make a big difference in helping a child facing a mental health challenge," explains Deby Dihoff, executive director of NAMI NC. Participating in a family psycho-educational program, such as NAMI Basics, can help parents understand what their child is going through and how to manage their child's illness.

The goal, Dihoff says, is "wrapping support around families facing this challenge, from people who have been there" - trained facilitators who are also parents of children with mental illness. Other organizations offer support groups for specific mental health conditions.

Some parents find they benefit from professional support as well. Heidi - who, like Cynthia, is now a NAMI Basics instructor - sought therapy to come to terms with her son's suicide attempt. "My friends were very supportive, but they didn't know what to do," she remembers. "Talking to a trained person who can help you understand what you can help, and what you can't, is very helpful."

Karen, too, says that counseling gave her comfort. "I have learned that we are all who are, regardless, and that I shouldn't blame myself," she says. "Now we can all move forward with the strength and knowledge that there is nothing wrong with us, with our daughter or with having mental health issues." 

Karen Lewis Taylor is an Apex-based writer and editor and mother of two school-aged daughters.

CHILD MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

*      Duke Child & Family Study Center: www.dukechildrens.org/services/child_psychiatry

*      Duke Child Development and Behavioral Health Clinic: www.dukechildrens.org/services/child_development_and_behavioral_health

*      Lucy Daniels Center: www.lucydanielscenter.org

*    N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (includes links to local services by county):

www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas.consumers.htm

*      UNC Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: www.med.unc.edu/psych/patient-care/child-adolescent

See resource listings under "Mental Health/Behavioral Counseling" (p. 39 of the Special Kidsguide) for additional children's mental health service providers.

WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?

Mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. The Surgeon General has estimated that 1 in 5 children will face a serious mental health challenge at some point in their lives.

For more information, including details about family education and support programs, visit www.naminc.org.

?

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

2019 Holiday Events: Santa Visits, Christmas Tree Lightings, Sleigh Rides, Parades, Festivals

Tickets for many events are on sale now. Find out when and where local parades, holiday performances, santa visits and more will take place.

Oct. 21-24: NC State Fair, Spooky Stories, Museum Community Day, Nature Watchers and Zombie String Dolls

Oct. 21-24: Check out the North Carolina State Fair, Spooky Stories, Museum Community Day, Nature Watchers and Zombie String Dolls.

Shop for Handmade Gifts at Holiday Craft Fairs

Start your holiday shopping early by visiting these Triangle-area craft fairs.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2019

Take part in a 10k, 5k or 1-mile-fun-run to raise funds for local mental health research. Register online. The event also features food and kids' activities. Register online.

Cost: $30-$75. Free for ages 5 and younger.

Where:
The Angus Barn
9401 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Website »

More information

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Website »

More information

The Alliance for Historic Hillsborough and Ayr Mount Historic Site presents a weekend of activities centered around Scottish heritage, colonial history and the wildly popular...

Cost: See website for ticket fees

Where:
Ayr Mount Historic Site
376 St. Mary’s Rd
Hillsborough, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Make witchy legs for the Halloween season. Ages 6-10. Register online. Choose course #126766.

Cost: $31/resident, $40/nonresident

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

  Join us to celebrate the fall moon! During a full moon in October, the mystical powers of the moon are revealed in many ways, so be on the lookout for live scarecrows, werewolves and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Ages 5-8 embrace science and nature while developing skills and knowledge about the natural world. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ride a bike on the streets of Carrboro. Enjoy bike decorations, giveaways, healthy snacks and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Elementary School
400 Shelton St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Activities include large KidZone with fire engine, face-painting, giant games, inflatable obstacle course, and paint-a-pumpkin. Kids can enter their original pumpkin carving in the Carved...

Cost: $10/adult, $5/child. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Commons at North Hills
4321 Lassiter at North Hills Avenue
Commons
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Midtown Raleigh Alliance
Telephone: 919-606-6068
Contact Name: Tara Robbins
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

We are starting the Halloween-time festivities early! Join us for some make-and-take craft time in the park and create a “monster” to take home. We will bring the materials if you bring the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Ages 11-17 learn how to make desserts perfect for Halloween. Register online. Choose course #127729.

Cost: $35/resident, $46/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online. 

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your budding naturalist to the park to learn about our eight-legged friends that call the park home. A craft, engaging activity or story and a guided greenway walk through the wetland will...

Cost: $2

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood

More information

Read the story by Laura Numeroff and make brownies. Register online. Choose course #127716.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

It's a Fall Homeschool Day at the JC Raulston Arboretum! Join us for a fun rotation through hands-on stations to learn about a variety of fall topics. Students will have a chance to interact with...

Cost: $5.00 per child for Arboretum Family members, $7.50 per child for nonmembers

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

It's a Fall Homeschool Day at the JC Raulston Arboretum! Join us for a fun rotation through hands-on stations to learn about a variety of fall topics. Students will have a chance to interact with...

Cost: $5.00 per child for Arboretum Family members, $7.50 per child for nonmembers

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Parent and child ages 2-5 water plants in the native wildflower gardens. Register online. Choose course #124908.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

This program is designed to move at a toddler’s pace: Run. Stop. Pick dandelions. Run. Climb on a rock. Find an interesting leaf! Join others for an easy-paced hike around the greenway...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy dinner with your family on us! On Thursday, October 17th, The School for Creative Studies PTSA will be hosting its 3rd Healthy Eating Tasting Night. Local Chef Carmen Settles of Full Street...

Cost: Free

Where:
The School for Creative Studies
5001 Red Mill Rd.
Durham, NC  27704
View map »


Sponsor: The School for Creative Studies PTSA
Telephone: 919-560-3535
Contact Name: Tanisha Davis
Website »

More information

Just in time for your next dress-up event!  Join us to make a tutu.  Kids 8 and up and teens make one for yourself!  Adults make one for yourself or for a child!   Call to register,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

Homeschoolers of all ages enjoy a day of hands-on activities focused on the history of slavery and freedom in North Carolina. 

Cost: $4/student

Where:
Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Hwy
Durham, NC  27712
View map »


Telephone: 919-620-0120
Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Sip cider and enjoy a cookie while listening to music and a storyteller. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Weaver Street Market Lawn
101 E. Weaver St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy live German music, traditional Bavarian food and fare, German cars, a "Kinder Platz" zone wiener dog races, nail-driving competitions and more. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $5-$20

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

We think about bats this time of year for Halloween. Join us as we learn the truth about bats and their importance to the ecosystem. After a wonderful story we will take a walk to some places...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Come join us for a party of spooky proportions! We will have classic monster mash games including a mummy wrap, Halloween Fear Factor eating challenge, Tarantula Toss, and other fun party...

Cost: Adults & Kids Over 14 years of age:$44; Kids 13 and under: $39

Where:
TreeRunner Raleigh
12804 Norwood Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Telephone: 919-410-7347
Contact Name: TreeRunner
Website »

More information

We think about bats this time of year for Halloween. Join us as we learn the truth about bats and their importance to the ecosystem. After a wonderful story we will take a walk to some places...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Register online. 

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

N.C. By Train and Amtrak are making it easier than ever for families to get to the N.C. State Fair through a special stop right at the fairgrounds in Raleigh from Friday, Oct. 18 through Sunday,...

Cost: See website for fees; prices vary based on pick-up location

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join local bird expert Larry Zoller as we explore the different habitats of Harris Lake County Park to look and listen for our resident birds as well as fall migrants that have stopped to rest...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Join the Preschool Teachers at Chestnut Ridge for a fun-filled morning of nature inspired activities in the great outdoors at Camp Chestnut Ridge. This event is for anyone interested in learning...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center
4300 Camp Chestnut Ridge Road
Efland, NC  27243
View map »


Sponsor: Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center
Telephone: 919-304-2178
Contact Name: Becky Garus
Website »

More information

The World Beer Festival Durham features a sampling of local, national and international breweries. Adults can also enjoy food and live music. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $15-$60

Where:
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

In honor of Cameron Village’s 70th anniversary, play tunes and games. Learn how some incredible kid musicians play songs that capture the beat of life in Raleigh in 2019.  Cameron...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cameron Village
2108 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Cameron Village Merchants' Association
Telephone: 919-630-2908
Contact Name: Amy Davis
Website »

More information

Make little pumpkins, a black cat and other Halloween creatures with polymer clay. Ages 5-10. Register online. Choose course #127352.

Cost: $19/resident, $25/nonresident

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Make a mini shadow puppet theater out of a file folder and mini shadow puppets. Please bring your own light source such as a flashlight for the full effect. Space is limited, advance registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library
Inside McDougle Middle School
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-969-3006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
Website »

More information

Is your dress-up closet looking drab?  Discover a new costume at the library’s Costume Bazaar!  Every child can select one complete costume and stay to create new accessories to go with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Games, entertainment, vendors and kids activities await families in an event that celebrates National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month. All ability levels welcome.

Cost: Free

Where:
Community Family Life & Recreation Center at Lyon Park
1309 Halley St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a guided tour of the trees, shrubs and flowers that adorn the park, followed by an art activity using plant materials collected during the tour. All ages and abilities welcome. Registration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover the flavors and history of African American foodways Saturday, Oct. 19, 12 noon to 5 p.m. at Historic Stagville. The “Harvest, Forage, Feast” program explores the history of...

Cost: $5/person

Where:
Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Highway
Durham, NC  27712
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy live German music, traditional Bavarian food and fare, German cars, a "Kinder Platz" zone wiener dog races, nail-driving competitions and more. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $5-$20

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for the seventh annual Canine Contests! We're looking for the best dog tricks and canine costumes in Wake County! If your dog has a special talent and/or a super cool costume, come and show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Since the 1850s, North Carolina farmers have been going to the State Fair to learn about ways to improve their farming practices. Discover the origins of the State Fair and the history behind some...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Mark your calendars! Our annual Halloween event, Creepy Crabtree, will return in October! This free park wide event will investigate the darker side of nature. Join the freakish festivities,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Enjoy a yoga session in costume, games and treats. Ages 5-10. Register online. Choose course #127452.

Cost: $19/child

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
125 Middle Creek Park Ave.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Website »

More information

Shop with more than 40 businesses operated by local children ages 6-14.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Commons at North Hills
421 Lassiter at North Hills Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #127673.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

More information

N.C. By Train and Amtrak are making it easier than ever for families to get to the N.C. State Fair through a special stop right at the fairgrounds in Raleigh from Friday, Oct. 18 through Sunday,...

Cost: See website for fees; prices vary based on pick-up location

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.