Use the 5 Love Languages to Better Understand and Connect with your Kid(s)

We all want to connect with our children on a deeper level. Understanding the needs and wants of our kids is a short cut to connecting. The 5 Love Languages is a tool to elicit what best translates to love for that individual. Using the short activity questionnaire (below) you can easily do (in a half hour) with your kids to find out a little more about how they tic.

5 Love Languages
A) Words of affirmation – These are the ways you express your gratitude, and even your
needs to someone else in a positive manner, such as: “I appreciate your help running
skit lines when I was sick;” “I really appreciate you doing such a good job with your
small groups.”
• Verbal compliments – “Your enthusiasm in the mornings at orientation has
been excellent;” “Thank you for answering my questions about Mason. I’m really
excited about coming here in the Fall;” “I’m sure your small group members
really love you.”
• Encouraging words – “I know you’ll do great;” “You’ve got great potential;”
“Keep it up”
• Kind words – Said in a kind and gentle tone of voice: “I care about you;” “I hope
we can learn from this experience;” “You’re not a failure just because you failed;”
“I know you can”
• Humble words – Making requests, not demands: “I really liked it when you
were on time for PL training, do you think you can do it again;” “Do you think it
would be possible to swap duties farther in advance next time;” “I’d really like it
if we could talk about this and find a solution.”
B) Quality Time – Time spent with another person with your undivided attention focused
on them. This can happen in groups, but it is a little more difficult. Togetherness
(focused attention) and Quality Conversation (focused not on what you’re saying, but
what you’re hearing) are 2 types of Quality Time.
• Sitting around and talking (TV off) – Maintain eye contact; don’t listen and do
something else at the same time; listen for feelings; observe body language;
refuse to interrupt
• Taking a walk or going somewhere together
• Playing games
• Doing something you mutually enjoy
C) Receiving Gifts – A gift is any tangible item that reminds you that someone was
thinking of you when they gave it to you. These gifts don’t have to cost any money or
take a lot of time to create. They just have to show thoughtfulness and remind them that
you care.
• A handmade or store-bought card
• Candy
• Flowers
• Snack or a meal
D) Acts of Service – This is a way of expressing love or care for someone by serving them,
doing something for them, or helping them to accomplish a task without expecting
anything in return. Sometimes, actions can speak much louder than words.
• Bringing someone coffee
• Cleaning up a mess
• Putting up someone else’s posters
• Volunteering when someone is asking for help or input

Book

The link below is to Gary Chapman’s Book on the 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages of Children: (PDF) Secret of how to Love Children. (Book 317pages)

Parent Quiz

LOVE LANGUAGES MYSTERY GAME-This is the activity to discover your child’s love language.

Source

Maple Syrup Urination Disease (MSUD)

 

MSUD Diagram

Recently, I had a student diagnosed with MSUD. It was the first time I had heard of the disease. This post will review all that I learned about MSUD.

Defined

Maple syrup urine disease is an inherited disorder in which the body is unable to process certain protein building blocks (amino acids) properly. The condition gets its name from the distinctive sweet odor of affected infants’ urine. It is also characterized by poor feeding, vomiting, lack of energy (lethargy), abnormal movements, and delayed development. If untreated, maple syrup urine disease can lead to seizures, coma, and death.

Maple syrup urine disease is often classified by its pattern of signs and symptoms. The most common and severe form of the disease is the classic type, which becomes apparent soon after birth. Variant forms of the disorder become apparent later in infancy or childhood and are typically milder, but they still lead to delayed development and other health problems if not treated. Source

MSUD means that the person’s body is unable to break down protein in the usual way. This condition is a rare, non-contagious condition, which, left untreated, can result in irreversible brain damage. Fortunately, the condition can be treated by a special diet, medications and careful management during illness.

Great resource- The ASIEM Low Protein Handbook for MSUD

 

 

Books

MSUD related books published by both casual and professional authors.

 
MSUD Food List Booklet
Recipes your whole family will enjoy
MSUD & Me
Glossary of Terms pertaining to Maple Syrup Urine Disease

Talking to students about the Insurrection at the US Capitol (Teacher and Administrator Resources)

In considering the events on January 6th 2021 we must help our students process this to better understand what occurred.

Read

RESPONDING TO THE INSURRECTION AT THE US CAPITOL

RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS ON THE DAYS AFTER THE ATTACK ON THE U.S. CAPITOL.

Teaching in a Time of Crisis

Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol NEA

NASP Statement on the Assault on the U.S. Capitol NASP

NASP Guidance for Ensuring Student Well-Being in the Context of the 2020 Election NASP

Teaching Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the Rampage at the Capitol New York Times

Dozens of lesson plan ideas, activities and Times materials for exploring the causes and consequences of this assault on democracy in the United States.

Resource Guide

Resources for School Communities in Times of Crisis – Great resources on a Google Doc


Navigation
Self Care Resources for EveryoneTeachers: Curricular Resources & Lesson PlansTeachers: Navigating Conversations, Addressing Difficult Topics, and Coping with Trauma
Leaders: Leadership, Teams, & CultureLeaders: Providing SupportStudents: Activities to Process EmotionsFor Families & Communities
Above is the Navigation of the various areas of the Resource Guide.

Streaming Event

PBS NewsHour Extra@NewsHourExtra·Teachers & school staff: TONIGHT at 7pm ET (4pm PT) w/ @YohuruWilliams@kennethcdavis@saribethrose RSVP: http://bit.ly/zoom1-7 Talk w/ other educators on how to process the #insurrection w/ students & support one another. #sschat#apgov#hsgovchat#USCapitol#CapitolRiots

Consider this when talking with students-

@misskatiesings

Abbreviated version — full vid & discussion prompts on IG @misskatiesings 🧡 // #fyp #preschool #parentsoftiktok #teachersof2020 #kids

♬ original sound – Miss Katie Sings

Organize your talk using these themes below-

Sigal Ben-Porath, an expert in civic education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and fellow at the Center for Ethics at Harvard, says teachers should not ignore yesterday’s historic events.  

But they have to be prepared for the conversation. Ben-Porath suggests starting with these areas of focus:  

  • The facts about the democratic process: according to grade and knowledge levels, discussing the roles of voters, electors, the courts, state legislative bodies, and Congress. The older the kids are, the more detailed the conversation can be, and more opportunities for independent research should be offered. 
  • The events that happened yesterday. Look at diverse and reliable news sources, and apply critical digital literacy skills to social media posts that come from unverified sources. Focus on local news and on public media (such as NPR) to support a habit of consuming reliable news.
  • Discuss the reality of living in historic moments. This can be compared to the lives of people in other crucial moments for democracy. Students can talk about where they were, what they did, what others who were nearby might have felt, etc. 

Teachers holding class online because of the pandemic will also have to think about how the platform might have to change the conversation. The country is clearly polarized. In an online setting, parents can potentially hear the discussion. Students might feel uncomfortable engaging if they know their parents, or many of their classmates’ parents, would hear them disagreeing with the parents’ beliefs.

The goal: finding ways to develop together true knowledge about the events. What happened, and why it matters, are the key questions. 

The process has to include the students, so that they create this knowledge together. The only way to overcome our current polarization is by learning to share the facts, to have a shared understanding of reality. The source of a lot of this chaos is the rift in the facts we have (who won the election, what body has what constitutional role, etc). If students can learn to rely on each other, on their teachers, and on reliable sources, to understand events around them, we can start building the path back to democracy. 

Source

NASP developed election resources to assist adults helping youth navigate feelings of uncertainty and strong emotions, understand hate-based violence, and cope with cope with threatening actions or speech.

Parents: http://bit.ly/39ntkKL

Educators: http://bit.ly/35gN2pU

Class Activities

Breaking down with Incident with 3 prompts to reflect the students HEAD, HEART, and CONSCIENCE.

Holding a Community Circle for your class could help the discussion process.  

Community Circle Guidelines– Gives the concept of Community Circles and procedures.

Community Circle Flow for “Breaking News” for 3rd-6th Grade Students 

Read Aloud by author/illustrator Sarah Lynn Reul https://youtu.be/V-U3lF5Ei_E 

Opening Quote“I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if it’s from the heart.” –Rachel Naomi Remen
Round 1Let’s do a check-in. Are you mad, sad, glad, and/or afraid today? What is that mostly about? 
Yesterday was a BREAKING NEWS day in the United States. When reflecting on what happened at the United States Capitol as Congress was working to verify the election…
Round 2 I am going to put on on some calm music for one minute, while you take that time to draw a picture of how you are feeling right: mad, sad, glad, afraid. We will take time for everyone to share their drawing. 
Round 3 It’s okay to disagree with others, but what would it look like, sound like, or feel like to have a peaceful disagreement? 
Round 4 Do you think that YOU need to be a better listener? Why or why not? 
Round 5  Is there anything else you want to add to the circle about yesterday’s events that we did not talk about? 
Close the CircleLet’s take a couple of minutes to close our circle with a mindful breathing activity. (Choose your classes favorite breathing strategy-Box breathing, Figure 8, Breath in-Breath-Out). 

Community Circle Flow for  January 7, 2021 for Middle School and High School

Opening QuoteRead the poem, “Let American Be American Again” by Langston Hughes https://poets.org/poem/let-america-be-america-again
Round 1As you listened to Mr. Hughes’ poem were you mad, sad, glad, or afraid? What is that mostly about? 
When reflecting on what happened at the United States Capitol as Congress was working to verify the election…
Round 2 What surprised you about yesterday? 
Round 3 What has changed or challenged your thinking? 
Round 4  How do we reject violence in our daily lives?
Round 5 What can you do to make a non-violent difference in Your Life, Your School, Your World?
Close the Circle Is there anything else you want to add to the circle about yesterday’s events that we did not talk about? 

Slide – Source

Upcoming (12-21-20) AFT Presentation on Supporting Students Experiencing Grief by Chelsea Prax

Grief Definition Flowchart

Grief might be the one topic that Schools and Teachers might be under prepared to deal with in 2021.

The AFT has many opportunities and resources available to its members. The AFT Share My Lesson website is a hub of many teaching resources such as lessons and webinars. One of the webinars available to members is about grief amongst our student population. The growing number of loss due to the pandemic places a greater burden on educational staff as we too are navigating loss within our own family circles. Earlier this year we met with Chelsea Prax from AFT to discuss offering this webinar series to our membership, but with the challenge of crisis teaching, we held off. The AFT will be offering the series in a few weeks. This article, Grief among students: tools for educators facing a wave of loss, speaks to the need to provide this webinar.

“As COVID-19 sweeps through communities across the nation, educators are on the frontlines witnessing unprecedented grief and loss among their students. Parents and other family members are getting sick and sometimes dying, household tension is rising with job loss and remote learning, routines are being disrupted and social networks shattered by the need to distance and isolate.”

If you are interested in attending this webinar is scheduled to happen on Monday, December 21 at 12 pm pacific time (3 pm eastern)

Webinar: https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/2873575/6BCF55E259C6F7F8515B43163CD5043E

Chelsea Prax was also recently on the Podcast The Widowed Parent called, “Exploring grief in schools in the era of COVID with Maria Collins and Chelsea Prax” One of our members shared this podcast link with us to share with members:0

Podcast Link: https://jennylisk.com/podcast/wpp091  

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:

Kai's Journey - A book series about grief, strength and love.


Kai’s Journey books – Kai’s Journey is a series about a little boy named Kai who, together with his mom, learns how to navigate a profound loss in their family. 

Scholastic Grieving Students logo

Coalition to Support Grieving Students –

Video- https://vimeo.com/394316350

[Infographic} 4 Grief Definitions

Sleep Hygiene for Children

Image description not available.

The Stresses of life especially in the time of the COVID-19 Pandemic difficulty with sleep is affecting our students more than ever. This post is aimed at a variety of tools and ideas to support your struggling sleeper.

Sleep Hygiene for Children
Preschoolers (ages 3-5 years) generally need between 10-13 hours of sleep per night, and
school-age children (ages 6-13 years) need between 9-11 hours of sleep per night.

  1. Stick to the same bedtime and wake time every day, even on weekends. Children sleep
    better when they have the same bedtime and wake time every day. Staying up late
    during the weekend and then trying to catch up on sleep by sleeping in can throw off a
    child’s sleep schedule for several days.
  2. Beds are for sleeping. Try to use your bed only for sleeping. Lying on a bed and doing
    other activities (e.g., watching TV, using a tablet or computer) makes it hard for your brain
    to associate your bed with sleep.
  3. A comfy, cozy room. A child’s bedroom environment should be cool, quiet, and
    comfortable.
  4. Alarm clocks are for waking up. Children who tend to stare at the clock, waiting and
    hoping to fall asleep should have the clock turned away from them.
  5. Bedtime routine. A predictable series of events should lead up to bedtime. This can
    include brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and reading a story from a book.
  6. Quiet, calm, and relaxing activities. Before bedtime is a great time to relax by listening to
    soft, calming music or reading a story. Avoid activities that are excessively stimulating right
    before bedtime. This includes screen time like watching television, using a tablet or computer, and playing video games, as well as physical exercise. Avoid these activities during
    a nighttime awakening as well. It is best to keep video games, televisions, or phones out of
    the bedroom and to limit their use at least 1 hour before bedtime.
  7. How to relax. If a child needs help relaxing, they can use techniques such as taking deep
    and slow breaths or thinking of positive images like being on a beach.
  8. Start the day off right with exercise. Exercising earlier in the day can help children feel
    more energetic and awake during the day, have an easier time focusing, and even help
    with falling asleep and staying asleep later on that evening.
  9. Avoid caff eine. Avoid consuming anything with caff eine (soda, chocolate, tea, coff ee)
    in the late afternoon and throughout the evening. It can still cause nighttime awakenings
    and shallow sleep even if it doesn’t prevent one from falling asleep.
  10. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed. If a child is tossing and turning in bed, have them get
    out of bed and do something that isn’t too stimulating, such as read a boring book (e.g.,
    textbook). They can return to bed once they are sleepy again. If they are still awake after
    20-30 minutes, they can repeat the process and get out of bed for another 20 minutes
    before returning. Doing this prevents the bed from being associated with sleeplessness.
  11. Put kids to sleep drowsy, but awake. The ideal time for a child to go to bed is when they
    are drowsy, but still awake. Allowing them to fall asleep in places other than their
    bed teaches them to associate sleep with other places than their bed.
  12. Cuddle up with a stuff ed animal or soft blanket. Giving a child a security object can be
    a good transition to help them feel safe when their parent(s) isn’t/aren’t there.
    Try to incorporate a doll, toy, or a blanket to comfort them when it’s time for bed.
  13. Bedtime checkups should be short and sweet. When checking up on a child, the main
    purpose is to let them know you are there and that they are all right. The briefer and less
    stimulating, the better.
  14. Maintain a sleep diary in order to track naps, bedtimes, wake times, and behaviors to
    fi nd patterns and work on particular problems when things are not going well.

Source

ARTICLES

HOW TO GET BEDTIMES BACK ON TRACK

THE GOOD-NIGHT GUIDE FOR CHILDREN

Encouraging your child to have good sleep habits

NASP Sleep Problems: Helping Handout for Home

NASP Bedtime Guidelines for Parents

KIDS BOOKS

List of Kids book about sleep by Common Sense Media

Lesson Plans

Bedtime Routines to Improve Sleep Habits (K-2)

Bedtime Routines to Improve Sleep Habits (3-5 grade)

Games

Sleep for Kids Games and Puzzles

Measurement

Child and Adolescent Sleep Checklist– Child and Adolescent Sleep Checklist (CASC) is designed to identify sleep habits and to make a screening of sleep problems among preschoolers, elementary school children, and high school students.This might be helpful for School Psychologists or school teams who want to really understand if a child is experiencing a sleep disturbance and to what degree.

CHILDREN’S SLEEP HABITS QUESTIONNAIRE(ABBREVIATED) Parent-reported screening survey designed to assess behaviorial and medically based sleep problems in school children, aged 4-10 years.

Fire Hits the Santa Cruz Community Hard. Natural Disaster Resources for Schools

Our Central Coast has been hit with major fires. Many families have been displaced and are in crisis. The California Association of School Psychologist has published a variety of resources to support our families.

Resources for Natural Disasters

CASP would like to extend our thoughts and support for the victims of the state’s most recent wildfires. Below are resources from the National Association of School Psychologists and a video of a presentation made at CASP’s Spring Institute held by Santa Rosa Schools Assistant Superintendent Stephen Mizera, Principal Ed Navarro, School Counselor Robin Wilkins, Restorative Specialist Briana Seely-Clark and School Psychologists Angela Bonner and Matthew Park. We hope this information may help as schools and communities come back together to rebuild.

OPENING SCHOOLS WITH SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING IN MIND

Our students more than ever need us to recognize that they need their SEL needs met differently in this time of the pandemic. I ran across a beautifully thoughtful re-entry plan written by CHAI Lifeline. I hope you can put it to positive use in your school. Link

Here are the topics it covers:

Link: SEL checklist for returning to school by CHAI Lifeline

Mind Yeti- Videos to Support Social-Emotional Learning

mindyetiElementary School Counseling - Marissa's Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind Yeti is a research-based digital library designed to help kids and their adults calm their minds, focus their attention, and connect better to the world around them.

Created by the nonprofit Committee for Children, the world leader in social-emotional education, Mind Yeti offers a growing library of short, guided audio sessions featuring diverse voices and immersive soundscapes that invite kids and their adults to practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, stretching, and emotional self-regulation.

Below is the introductory video. Please click the SOURCE link below for 40 free videos in both Spanish and English.

Source for more videos.

​Other Platforms to access Mind Yeti Video and Audio files.

 

A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus via American Psychological Association (APA)

https://www.apa.org/pubs/magination/kids-guide-coronavirus-ebook.pdf

The APA posted this children’s book about COVID 19.

A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus (PDF)

By

Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW and Julia Martin Burch, PhD illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

Magination Press • Washington, DC American Psychological Association

You probably already know a lot about different ways to be sick. You may know about colds, when you cough and sneeze a lot. You may know about strep throat, when it hurts to swallow, or ear infections, when your ear hurts inside.

What other ways to be sick do you know about?

Most sicknesses have been around for a long time. Scientists and doctors and all the grown-up helpers know just what to do to make people get better.

Can you think of some things that help people when they are sick?

This book is about a certain sickness. It’s called COVID-19, or coronavirus.

Have you heard of it?

Grown-ups have been talking about it a lot. You may have heard about it on TV or online.

What do you know about it already?

A lot of kids have questions about coronavirus. And without getting good answers, they might feel confused or even scared.

This book will help answer those questions!

This coronavirus is a new sickness. Grown-ups don’t know as much about it as they’d like. But here is what they do know:

Coronavirus is contagious. That means it can get people sick by moving from one person’s body to another person’s body when they touch or spend time close together. Coronavirus can move from you to someone else before you even start to feel sick.

Many people who get sick with coronavirus have a fever, a dry cough, and a little trouble breathing.

Anyone can get sick from coronavirus. It can cause big problems for older people or people who have other health issues.

Because coronavirus is such a new sickness, doctors and scientists are working really hard to learn how to help people get better and make coronavirus go away.

In fact, everyone can help out! You can do a lot to stop coronavirus from making people sick.

Can you think of any things you already do to make a difference?

You can wash your hands often with soap and water. Some people sing the ABCs while they do it—what about you?

You can also cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue and try not to touch your face a lot.

You can find fun ways to help, too.

Maybe you could paint a picture for your friend, or make a movie of your new dance moves to give Grandma a giggle.

You could write funny jokes on the sidewalk for your neighbors to see, or hang a sign in your window to brighten someone’s day.

Until scientists have found out how to make coronavirus go away for good, you and your family might have to make some other, bigger changes.

You might need to stay away from crowded places. This is because crowds make it easy for coronavirus to spread to more people and make them sick.

For the same reason, your parents might not work as much, or they might try to work from home. You might not be able to go to school or play with friends.

You might see people wear masks when they go outside. You might even get one of your own.

Super-heroes wear masks to protect their secret identities, right?

Now super-people everywhere are wearing masks to protect each other from coronavirus. Feel free to wear a cape, too!

These bigger changes can be hard.

What do you think some hard parts might be?

These bigger changes can be kind of nice.

What do you think some nice parts might be?

You should know that these bigger changes are temporary. That means they will not last forever.

Other things are staying exactly the same! Your grown-ups are still in charge of taking care of you. And it is still your job to be a kid, which means you still need to learn, play, and spend time with family.

What else is staying the same?

And if you ever have questions, or want to talk, your grown-ups are here to help you and to listen.

No sickness can ever change that!

The coronavirus pandemic can be frightening and confusing for children and adults alike. As a parent or caregiver, you have the challenging task of navigating and managing your own emotions and needs during the crisis while also supporting your child. The following tips offer information and concrete strategies that you can start using right away with your child and on your own.

Provide Just Enough Information

It is natural for children to be curious about

the new kind of illness they keep hearing adults discuss. Provide your young child with limited, age-appropriate facts about the virus. Focus on what they can do to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.

The information covered in this book is an appropriate example of how to talk with young children about the virus. Listen respectfully to their concerns and reassure them without being dismissive. Help them focus on what is in their control, such as social distancing and hand hygiene. Emphasize that it’s important they still do their “jobs” as a kid, including learning, playing, and spending time with family.

It is important to try to strike a balance between oversharing information, which may lead kids to worry about facets of the crisis they do not need to be concerned about, such as the economy, and under-sharing. Though parents sometimes withhold information from kids with the noble intention of wanting to spare them distress, too little information can send active

imaginations into overdrive, leading kids to concoct far scarier outcomes than what’s realistic.

Validate and Name Emotions

It is normal for children to have a range of emotions in response to the pandemic. Some children might feel anxious about the unknown and fearful about their safety. Others will feel sad or angry about canceled events like a vacation, or about losing their normal routine and time with teachers and friends. No matter the emotion, it is important to validate it, or in other words, to communicate to your child that their emotion makes sense and is okay for them to feel. For example, you might say, “It makes sense that you are feeling disappointed about missing your class field trip. You were really looking forward to it.” Or, “I can understand why you’re feeling worried. There are a lot of changes happening right now.” It is also helpful to specifically label the emotion your child is feeling; research demonstrates that naming an emotion decreases its intensity. In a difficult moment, taking the time to say, “I see that you are really sad” can be incredibly soothing to your child.

Parents sometimes try to make their children feel better by pointing out that the child has many privileges, and that other people are suffering more. For example, a parent might say, “Don’t feel sad about missing vacation! We’re lucky to have somewhere to live. Other kids aren’t that lucky.” Despite the good intentions, this is not a helpful approach, as it confuses children about why they are feeling what they are feeling. It can also lead them to feel ashamed for feeling sad about missing vacation. If you would like to teach your child to reflect on what they have to be grateful for, make a family practice of writing down “gratitudes” or discussing what you are each thankful for over dinner. By doing this when your child is calm rather than feeling sad or fearful, you teach them that their “gratitudes” are things to feel uncomplicated joy about, rather than guilt or confusion.

Focus on the Present Moment

Worried brains tend to focus on the future, predicting all of the scary things that might happen. Teach your child how to gently bring their mind back to the present moment by practicing mindfulness. Being mindful simply means that you are purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judging it as good or bad. Mindfulness can be practiced in countless kid-friendly ways. For example, you can play a mindful “I spy” in which you count all of the objects of a certain color in the space around you. You can mindfully eat, dance, walk, listen to music – the sky is the limit! Build times into the day to practice, such as in transition periods or at meals.

Create a New Routine

It can feel next to impossible to maintain a routine during the quarantine. Yet, flexibly following a consistent plan day-to-day provides much-needed stability for your young child. This is particularly important given that their world has changed dramatically in a short time. Routines do not have to be complicated. For example, it can be helpful to just structure the day around basic needs such as wake-up times and bedtimes, meals, and periods in which you get active. Constructing a routine around these building blocks of physical and mental health makes it more likely that they will occur consistently.

Consider giving your child age-appropriate tasks to help the family, such as setting the table, helping to prepare food, or cleaning up after a meal. Though teaching your child a new skill takes more effort and attention in the short term, it will make your life easier (and increase your child’s level of independence and sense of competence) in the long term.

Create Memories

Look for opportunities to create new, special family rituals. These do not have to be time consuming or involve preparation. For example, you can jump-start your days with a family dance party in which a different family member chooses a song each day and everyone dances around the breakfast table. You might also help your children brainstorm ways that they can give back to their community, such as writing cards for the elderly or creating supportive signs for health-care workers. When your children look back on this time, they will remember that, despite the many challenges, the time at home also allowed your family to create memories together.

Put the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

Whenever you can, pause and take a moment or two to check in on yourself and your emotions.

Just like your child, you will reduce your own emotional intensity by noticing and labeling your feelings. During a crisis, this kind of self-attention can feel like the last thing a busy parent or caregiver has time for. However, by ensuring that you are attuned to and taking care of your own needs, you will have reserves available to help support your children during difficult moments. You will be grateful that you preemptively invested the time in yourself when you must draw on these reserves to help a struggling child.

Make a point to practice what you preach with your children. Focus on what is in your control, such as practicing and modeling coping skills, limiting news consumption, and creating your own new routines around sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Most important–validate and be gentle with yourself. It is impossible to perfectly fulfill all of the roles you are being asked to play in this moment in time. Get comfortable with being good enough. This may look like allowing your children more time on screens than you would normally, cooking (or just heating up!) very basic meals, or practicing a coping strategy for two minutes while hiding in the bathroom.

When to Seek Help

If your child is experiencing so much anxiety or sadness about COVID-19 that it causes significant distress or begins to impact their functioning (e.g., consistent trouble sleeping, eating, or engaging in typical life activities), you should consult with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional. There is no need to wait until social distancing restrictions are lifted. During the current crisis, many mental health providers are offering therapy over virtual meeting platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for children and adults alike. Yet within great challenges lie opportunities for growth, bravery, and resilience. You are taking a concrete, effective step forward simply by taking the time to read this book and reflect on how to help your child. Remind yourself of this whenever the “not good enough” monster strikes. You are doing the best you can, and that is enough.

Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW, is a clinical social worker with a private practice. She specializes in treating child and adolescent anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior, and traumatic stress. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Visit http://www.growecounseling.com

Viviana Garofoli earned her degree in fine arts in 1995, and since then has dedicated her time to illustrating children’s books. She has illustrated over 20 children’s books and contributed to many editorial and textbook illustrations around the world. She lives in Buenos Aires.

@vivi_garofoli

Julia Martin Burch, PhD, is a staff psychologist at the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program at McLean Hospital in Boston. Dr. Martin Burch completed her training at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She works with children, teens, and parents and specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy

for anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and related disorders. Outside of her work at McLean, Dr. Martin Burch gives talks to clinicians, parent groups, and schools on working with anxious youth.

Magination Press is the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association. APA works to advance psychology as a science and profession and as a means of promoting health and human welfare. Magination Press books reach young readers and their parents and caregivers to make navigating life’s challenges a little easier. It’s the combined power of psychology and literature that makes a Magination Press book special.

Visit maginationpress.org @MaginationPress

Copyright © 2020 by Magination Press, an imprint of the American Psychological Association. Illustrations © 2020 by Viviana Garofoli. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system,

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Book design by Rachel Ross

eISBN: 978-1-4338-3415-8

NASP Article on Suicide Prevention During the Pandemic

Suicide Prevention within COVID 19 Pandemic

Over the past several years in working with students at the secondary level, I have found myself approaching school breaks with trepidation for their wellness, mental health, and safety. Unfortunately, when students are out of school, our community has been impacted by student deaths resulting from suicide. Now, impact of the global pandemic has intensified the concern for students given the closures of school buildings with the reopening unknown. The mandates of “stay in place”, social distancing, and face coverings over the past few months, have resulted in drastic change in routines, increase in uncertainty, the loss of employment, and the lives of over 100,000 U.S. citizens.  Educators responded by transforming the face of schools virtually overnight from brick and mortar to computer screens within a distance learning platform.  The pandemic has intensified the concern for the safety, wellness, and mental health of our students with implications for policy and the practice of school psychologists.  

Nationally, suicide is the leading cause of death among youth. Advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national level on behalf of students has resulted in new suicide prevention policy and practice. Over the past few years, there have been several new federal and state laws that have advanced suicide prevention efforts in schools.  The recent legislation has demonstrated the commitment and recognition of policymakers around the importance of school-based prevention efforts; the approval for a 3-digit national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system and mandated suicide prevention education for students, staff, and parents.  NASP has continued to provide leadership and advocacy efforts with suicide prevention.  NASP, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, and the Trevor Project authored a comprehensive guidebook [Model School District Suicide Prevention Policy] for school administrators and policymakers. This guidebook provides a framework for best practices for the continuum of K-12 suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies. 

At the district level, we have responded as school psychologists to address the student needs by engaging in grassroots advocacy and leadership roles to expand efforts beyond district crisis response (i.e. suicide intervention, postvention) to ensure a comprehensive suicide prevention framework. Suicide is a 24/7 issue. Thus, we partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, law enforcement, community mental health agencies, and with local hospital emergency screening unit teams.  As a result, our team developed a district protocol to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to suicide.  Several integral components of a multi-tiered system of suicide prevention has emerged within the district; board approved suicide prevention policy, a district NASP PREPaRE trained crisis team, a district suicide prevention coordinator, a district suicide prevention council, district-wide coordinated implementation of Signs of Suicide (SOS) prevention education for students, staff, and parents, a community suicide prevention forum, suicide prevention training of trainers (TOT) of school site coordinators, suicide risk assessment protocol and training, educating the community regarding firearm safety, and postvention support in collaboration with community partners.

In March 2020, the global pandemic of COVID-19 drastically changed the landscape of education and our practice as school psychologists, especially with suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.  Within the first week of school closure, our community was impacted by the death of a student by suicide.   To be honest, there was uncertainty in the “if” or “how” to best provide crisis response and postvention supports.  In collaboration with a few of our NASP PREPaRE community leaders -thank you Dr. Melissa Reeves and Dr. Ben Fernandez – we navigated the discussion with the site crisis leadership team, guided the response efforts, and initiated revision of our suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention protocol to address the needs within a distance learning educational milieu. As a result, our district has provided a comprehensive on-line suicide prevention protocol with embedded forms and resources.

As we continue to face social distancing and school closures in response to the global pandemic, the need for school psychologists to advocate and provide guidance and leadership in suicide prevention efforts is paramount.   Suicide prevention programs and policies expand our roles as crisis responders to include preventive supports for student wellness, mental health, and safety. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic may generate for students intensified sense of fear, worry, isolation and suicide risk factors; simultaneously impacting youth protective factors such as hope, access to trusted adults, peer connection, and social activities. It is critical to begin or further our efforts to support our students by engaging in advocacy and providing leadership within our district, state, and at the national level with suicide prevention.

I encourage you to review the resources developed by NASP and your state professional organization.  Ask yourself what can I do, especially during this time of the global pandemic, to address student mental health needs and ensure comprehensive suicide prevention policies and practices that encompass prevention, intervention, and postvention? Each of us are “ADVOCACY”, let’s find our voice!  

NASP Comprehensive School Suicide Prevention in a Time of Distance Learning  

Preparing for Virtual School Suicide Risk Assessment Checklist  

COVID-19: Crisis & Mental Health Resources

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