Archive for April, 2020
Since we’ve been under stay-at-home orders in our state and school has turned into “virtual school” for the last few weeks, I’ve been making short daily, themed videos for my students. The theme for Tuesdays has to do with the character traits of perseverance and persistence, or, as I like to call it, Tenacity Tuesday!
This week, I made a short video for PS-Gr 5 students about changing automatic negative thoughts (e.g. “I can’t do it” or “It’s too hard!”) into more positive, realistic, tenacious ones (e.g. “I can’t do it yet,” and “With practice, I’ll figure this out!”) This video features classic CBT skill building, helping kids understand the connection between thoughts, feelings & behaviors.
Find more of my Tenacity Tuesday videos on YouTube here or using the link below:
While we are under stay-at-home orders here in Pennsylvania, I’m staying connected with students through daily themed videos. On Mondays, I share mindfulness practices and strategies.
Here was the first video I created last week, on mindful breathing strategies that are fun and easy for kids to use!
And here is this week’s video, where I show kids how to make a Glitter Jar to develop the mindful practice of focusing on the here & now as a way to calm and center the brain and body.
Best of all, here’s one of my amazing students, proudly showing me her jar!!!
At this morning’s Coffee with the Counselor, we talked about ways to cultivate resilience in young people–at any time–but especially as we all adjust to a new normal. We talked about things like:
1. The importance of CONNECTION with family members and loved ones. Kids who feel safe, supported, and connected to others are best positioned to cope with stress.
2. Though the spread of a pandemic virus is largely out of an individual person’s hands, young people benefit from feeling a realistic sense of CONTROL over their lives. Encourage kids to control what they can–thorough hand-washing, staying at home, managing their school work, and being kind to others.
3. Instilling COMPETENCE & CONFIDENCE. As kids encounter new online learning methods, caregivers should allow them to figure some things out on their own. Experiencing manageable struggles builds a child’s sense of competence that they have what it takes to handle stress and confidence in their independent problem-solving. Parents, stand back instead of jumping in to help right away! Affirm kids with statements like, “It was great to see how you figured that out!”
4. I’m a big fan of kids developing responsibility through chores; as luck would have it, giving kids the sense that they CONTRIBUTE to a household and/or to a cause greater than themselves is a great way to build resilience. Create opportunities for kids to contribute to the household in meaningful ways to give them greater purpose.
5. I’m running out of words that begin with the letter “C” but I still want to mention that resilience is also cultivated by helping kids develop healthy thought patterns. While our brains tend to jump toward “worst case scenarios” and negative ways of thinking about things like pandemics and stay-at-home orders, parents have a huge role to play in reality checking their kids’ way of thinking. So, for example, if you hear your child say something like, “We’re stuck at home,” you can gently re-frame this negative thought into a positive one by saying something like, “I’m grateful that we’re safe at home together.” Likewise, if a young person hears on the news that over one million people have contracted COVID-19, it can be helpful to add, “Did you know that over 100,000 people worldwide have already made a complete recovery from the virus?” Kids who have the ability to keep their thoughts realistic (rather than catastrophic) and optimistic (instead of pessimistic) show greater resilience in the face of stress.
Stay healthy, safe & well, everyone!