Here is an article that is always helpful, but in these times of COVID and all that has had to be adjusted, it is really helpful. Kids and parents are feeling loss, sadness, frustration, and more. We also know that many families have found strength and resilience through this time as well. This article is along those lines of strengthening the children's resiliency. I feel like anytime I set out to help my kids, I grew in the process as well. I hope the same for all of you!
Reachoutoregon.org is a wonderful resource for families with children experiencing mental, emotional or behavioral health challenges. They are a free resource to all Oregonians - no matter what insurance (or none at all). There is a warm line for parents and caregivers, and peer support staff with their own life experiences are on the other end - ready to help navigate through tough situations.
Reach Out Oregon is run by nonprofit Oregon Family Support Network (OFSN).
Things have been pretty chaotic since we were supposed to be fully into Comprehensive Distance Learning. We were ready to kick off when the smoke really messed up our access to the technology we needed--believe me those teachers were still working their tails off! Then the technology itself has been strained to its limit. All these companies had no idea they would be strained to the maximum! They and our district tech teams are working hard to remedy the problems. In the meantime, check in however you can. The teachers are leaving recorded lessons on the Canvas page for 3-5 and the Seesaw lessons should be available as well. I had hoped I was going to be using Google Meets and Google classroom for my way to connect with students and parents. But that has had troubles, too. Some of us will use Google Meets while Zoom issues are being ironed out. I was going to post my Bitmoji page that is my Virtual Office, for all to access. So in the short term, I will post it here and you can view it, find some links for you or the kids and you can show it to your children as well.
Hello! This is the school year that we will all look back on and wonder how we did it! We will do it bit by bit, day by day, and with each other! Being a counselor online is not what I am trained to do, being a teacher's assistant, along with all of your other commitments and responsibilities is not what you normally do--at least at this level--either.
Please reach out if you just need to vent, if you need some advice, and know that I will do my best. I have the ability to help with clothing and shoes. I can look for and hopefully send you ideas for other resources. I am a parent, too, and can hopefully help with the raising children ideas.
I will still be recording lessons and really want your children to see them. They may seem less than the other school responsibilities, but they are life skills and important for home and for school (whenever we can congregate there again).
Feel free to look back on other posts. Some will be outdated, but many have good parenting advice. No one gets this perfectly right, and sometimes just knowing and hearing from others can help. Be safe and be well.
This is borrowed from another site (link at bottom)
If they cancel the rest of the school year [and we know they have now], students would miss 2.5 months of education. Many people are concerned about students falling behind because of this. Yes, they may fall behind when it comes to classroom education... school will re adjust next few yrs to catch them up.
But what if...
What if instead
What if they notice the birds and the dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?
What if this generation are the ones to learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, and keep a well run home?
What if they learn to stretch a dollar and to live with less?
What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home.
What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday?
What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics, and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?
What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?
What if they are AHEAD? ❤
During any time of crisis or upheaval, we want to have the news on or talk it over a lot as we work through our own thoughts and possible anxieties. So number one, I would highly suggest the TV not be on all the time on news. Maybe never in your child's presence--they may be able to handle it in middle or high school--depending on your comfort level. As for other expert ideas, I suggest looking at this article from the New York Times HERE I find this article helpful for myself as much as for parenting.
I will be reaching out to all families in the next week or so. I hope to share some lessons with you, resources, and more. In the meantime parents, please feel free to look over my website. Some of my blog posts are older, but they are still pertinent. I will look for ways to help you and your kids connect that are not academically centered. If you need help, have a question, or just want to say hello, please see the contact tab above and send me an email. I am in the neighborhood and will be monitoring my email several times a day. I am also available for phone calls. I can do a call with your child as well, if you would like. Please continue to stay home and stay safe. Know that we are all missing your kids and want to get things back to normal as soon as possible--whenever that may be.
There are many times in parenting that giving positive reinforcement comes in handy. If you are helping your child gain a new skill or maybe helping them with goals/skills the school is working with them on, there are lots of ideas. My ideas stem from my 15 years of school counseling, 10+ years of elementary teaching and parenting my own two--now young adults.
Try to give statements that reinforce, for example:
There are many little rewards you can give your child. The following are some ideas I had, based on how we did with our own children. Little rewards are the kind you might give daily or a few times a week. These can be given by a parent, older sibling, grandparent, etc., depending on your family's dynamics.
Big rewards should be saved for when the student has a bigger celebration: you get great feedback from the school/daycare/your family that a skill has improved for behavior or feelings' management, your child has graduated from a program like our Check in, Check out, they have become a peer helper, and more! Those bigger rewards have to fit the time and money budget for each family but could include:
The bottom line is not to spend too much or to "spoil" your child with things, but to give them the gift of your time. They will blossom with that. It is hard in this day and age to just focus on your child and not be pulled into your phone or household things. It doesn't have to be a lot of time. Have fun!
The Scary Truth About What's Hurting Kids
CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview worried me – because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years. Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core. This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.
The results of that should scare all of us.
They aren’t dating as much.
More likely to feel lonely.
They are getting less sleep.
She goes on to say that we are in the worst mental health crisis in decades.
Why is this happening? Why are kids more depressed because of electronics?
Think about when we were in school – we didn’t know every time that there was a get-together that we weren’t invited to and we didn’t see pictures of each outing, game, or party.
We didn’t care what we looked like when we were hanging out with friends, because we were the only ones that were there- I can remember sitting around with my best friends in our sweatpants, just laughing – I didn’t wear makeup or care if I had my hair fixed just right, because the worry of a phone or camera wasn’t there.
Think about bullies. When we left the school, we left them. If teasing happened, it didn’t happen at home. It didn’t happen so publicly. Everyone couldn’t see it or know what they were teasing other kids about since they weren’t there. Now, it’s all public knowledge, and anyone can join in or watch. It’s horrifying.
I can’t imagine being a tween or teenager now. Although- as the parents of children, we have to believe it, because we have to help our children navigate it.
According to Victoria Prooday, Occupational Therapist & writer at YourOT.com, “There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children… Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:
I couldn’t agree more. According to TIME.com, “Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Researchers said this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. ”
The article goes on to say that it’s not just teenagers, it’s young kids- in elementary school. “Counselors like Ellen Chance in Palm Beach say they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls.
“I couldn’t tell you how many students are being malicious to each other over Instagram. “I’ve had cases where girls don’t to come to school, and they are cutting themselves and becoming severely depressed because they feel outcasted and targeted.” She says she now sees cutting incidents pretty much weekly at her elementary school, and while they vary in severity, it’s a signal that not all is right.”
What can we do about it?
The AAP now suggest screening all children for depression starting at age 11.
-Get back to what we did before phones (back to what our parents did when we were young)… spend time playing games with our kids.
-Spend dinnertime talking.
-Drop everything that you are doing when your kids get home from school to TALK to them.
-Make dinner without having the TV on, the phone close by, or the tablet tuned into something.
-Use any ‘car time’ to talk to our kids (maybe even by not allowing electronics in the car)
-Have your kids do chores: Responsibilities increase their self-worth. Example: if you don’t set the table, we can’t eat. If you don’t wash your clothes, you will have nothing to wear tomorrow:
“To develop a high self-esteem a person needs a purpose. A key component to high self-esteem relies on how you view yourself regarding contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem.” ~Impact Parenting.coms
-Be sure that your child is getting enough sleep. This is a substantial contributing factor. screening all children for depression
-Don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house. Limit junk food & replace it with fruits & vegetables. If your child is picky, they can certainly find a fruit or vegetable that they like. (I’ve taught our kids to make smoothies, too, but they have to clean up after themselves, or they lose the privilege of using the blender… they LOVE to make them, so this is a consequence that they will not want to be placed on them).
–Take away electronics and tell your kids to “go play!” Don’t feel the need to always play with them. My job, as a play therapist, is to teach parents how to play with their kids to help them, so while I always think that playing with your kids is a good idea, but I also want them to play alone. I want them to learn how to keep themselves entertained.
From the time that our kids were tiny, I gave them time to entertain themselves, and now they are are all good about finding ways to keep themselves busy (drawing, playing, building, etc..)
– Don’t rescue your kids. Here’s a recent example that happened in our house:
I’ve started having our kids pack their lunches (with my supervision), but yesterday one of our sons decided to wait.. .and wait… and wait. When it was down to 10 minutes before leaving, he asked me to pack it. I said no, and he then asked for lunch money. I said, “I think it’s upstairs in your piggy bank if you have some in there.” His face said it all. I wasn’t going to buy him out of this. It was his responsibility.
IT is NEVER easy to teach our kids these lessons, but they serve our kids well. He quickly made himself lunch and was on his way. He learned a valuable life lesson about preparing himself for the day.
-Talk to your kids about why they need to come to you if something is wrong. I talk to our kids about all of this, and they know that I would do anything to help them. I say it daily… “If you are ever feeling sad or left out about something and it becomes too big for you to handle easily, come to me.”
Yes, it’s a lot to tell them, but it is the truth. I need them to know it. It’s not a joking matter, and it’s not one to take lightly. Talk to your kids TODAY.
Make a rule with yourself that you will limit YOUR online distractions when your kids are home. Set a time that you can put electronics away… for example: Make 3:30-9:00 a no-tech time for you, the parent. (or whatever hours your kids are home). It will not only benefit your kids, but it will help you, too.
Yes, it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids, but we have the power to help.
About Ms. Lockwood
I am the School Counselor at Myers Elementary School