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.
In this time of overall melee in the United States, we need Mental Health supports to help cope with all that we are experiencing. These teen resources gathered by School Psychologist Misty Bonita a Licensed Educational Psychologist, NCSP Ed.S are a wealth of strategies for coping and growing in a variety of social-emotional and life issues.
The day after the mass shooting occurred in Florida many kids were talking about the massacre. They were asking a variety of questions like, “Will that happen to us at our school?” or simply “Am I safe at school?” As educators, parents, and community members we have an obligation to know what to say to our kids. This post will review what the National Association of School Psychologist (NASP) recommends.
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
Schools are safe places. School staff works with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
The school building is safe because … (cite specific school procedures).
We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and probability that it will affect you (our school community).
Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.
NASP has additional information for parents and educators on school safety, violence prevention, children’s trauma reactions, and crisis response at www.nasponline.org.
Death is that inevitable phenomenon that no one really cares to talk about, especially with your children. As we go through life death often pops up when we least expect it. This post is dedicated to resources to support your efforts in guiding your child through the tough process of death of a loved one.
Here are some things you can do to help you express your feelings.
Activity 1: finish the sentences
Finish the following sentences.
The thing that makes me feel the saddest is …..
If I could talk to the person who died I would ask….
Since the death my family doesn’t….
My worst memory is….
If I could change things I would….
One thing that I liked to do with the person who died was…
When the person died I….
Since the death my friends….
After the death, school….
When I am alone….
Is there anyone you want to share this with?
Activity 2: drawing
Find a piece of paper and fold it in half. On one side, draw a picture of your family before the death. On the other side, draw a picture of your family after the death. You might want to share your picture with someone who would understand.
Camp Erin is the largest national bereavement program for youth grieving the death of a significant person in their lives.
Children and teens ages 6-17 attend a transformational weekend camp that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, free of charge for all families. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin provides a unique opportunity for youth to increase levels of hope, enhance self-esteem, and especially to learn that they are not alone.
Camp Erin is offered in every Major League Baseball city as well as additional locations across the U.S. and Canada. The Moyer Foundation partners with hospices and bereavement organizations to bring hope and healing to thousands of grieving children and teens each year
Classroom meetings are an effective way to help build classroom community, establish behavioral expectations and norms, as well as explore social issues that need tending to help continue supporting a thriving learning environment.
A growth mindset is a belief that your most basic abilities can be nurtured and developed though dedication and hard work. Talent is just the starting point. People with a positive growth mindset create a love of learning that is vital for doing great things. A positive growth mindset will also lend itself to being resilient in the face of setbacks. Failures are seen as learning opportunities to people with a positive growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is a belief that your basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are fixed traits. People with a fixed mindset believe that talent makes people successful. Effort is secondary to brains and talent.
Programs that support developing positive learning environments
A promising program out of Yale University that helps supports Developing Classroom Culture is called RULER.
RULER is an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools. RULER applies “hard science” to the teaching of what have historically been called “soft skills.” RULER teaches the skills of emotional intelligence — those associated with recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion. Decades of research show that these skills are essential to effective teaching and learning, sound decision making, physical and mental health, and success in school and beyond.
The RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) helps build the following skills:
Recognizing: Recognize the emotion of either yourself or of someone else in order to react in the most socially appropriate manner to help resolve the issue. This includes picking up on cues such as facial expression, words, tone, behavior, and one’s own thoughts.
Understanding: Emotions are often triggered by events that bring upon specific emotions and thoughts. When a child understands more about what is triggering specific emotions, they are more likely to be less reactive. Understanding of emotions helps young children see how emotions affect decisions, behavior and goals. Problem-solving skills are needed to learn how to cope, as well as develop empathy towards others.
Labeling: Labeling emotions is nothing more than connecting different scenarios with a specific emotions, and descriptive words. For example, a child with emotional literacy may use the words inspired, enthusiastic, and thrilled.
Expressing: practicing control, timing, and expression of emotions in appropriate ways helps with communication development for healthy relationships. Students who have difficulties in both labeling and expression tend to not have successful relationships.
Regulating Emotions: Regulation during emotional experiences means organizing and managing the thoughts, emotions and behavior that often develop. Successfully regulated emotions are often prevented, reduced, initiated, maintained, or enhanced (PRIME). Source
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all youth by making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.
7 Ways Parents Can Help a Child Through the Grief Process
1. Do not trivialize the death of a pet. Children need time and opportunity to mourn. They need their parents to validate their feelings and understand how much they miss their pet, and they may need to miss a day of school or a soccer game. “Grief is appropriate,” Segal says. “It’s how we heal from losses. Your child’s grief is an indicator that your child has learned to love.”
2. Suggest different ways to remember the pet. Your child may want to draw pictures of the pet, make a scrapbook, or create a memory box. She may want to have some sort of memorial service. She may want to place photos and mementos in a special place. Planting a tree in memory of a pet can also be comforting, Sife says.
3. Let the child’s caregivers know about the death. Inform your child’s teacher, babysitter, piano teacher, and coach. Let anyone know who might otherwise be confused by your child’s sadness. Ask teachers if anything is coming up in the curriculum that might warrant preparation—for example, will your child be studying a novel that features a pet or a death?
4. Don’t rush to replace the pet. It’s tempting to rush out and get a new dog or cat. Your child may even ask to get a new pet right away. But explain that the family needs time to mourn the loss of the pet that died.
5. Read age-appropriate children’s books that deal with pet death. There are many options, including the classic Dog Heaven, by Cynthia Rylant; the tender and touching Murphy and Kate by Ellen Howard; and I’ll Always Love You, by Hans Wilhelm.
6. Let your child know it’s okay to talk about death and about the pet. If the mention of death makes you upset, your child may avoid the topic and hold his feelings in. Let your child know death is a part of life and that it’s okay to talk about it. Let him know he can talk about his beloved pet, and share your favorite happy memories of the pet with him.
7. Seek outside help if your child has a hard time coping. If your child is already dealing with stress such as divorce, a parent’s illness, difficulties at school, or a conflict with a close friend or sibling, the death of a pet can bring on a crisis, Sife says. A counselor, psychologist, or therapist may be able to help.
The stress of losing a pet and seeing your child so upset might make you wonder if a pet is worth the inevitable grief. But the process of grieving strengthens families, Segal says. “When something happens and we get through it, trust is built,” she says. “We shouldn’t take away the pain in life…the more your child feels, the better life will be. The more we feel, the more meaning we find in life.”
Dealing With a Pet’s Death for Kids of Different Ages
Children respond to death differently depending on their age. Here are some general ways children of different ages may react to a pet’s death, according to Wallace Sife, author of The Loss of a Pet and founder of theAssociation for Pet Loss and Bereavement.
Ages 2-3: At this age, children do not have the life experiences to give them an understanding of death. They should be told that the pet has died and will not return. Reassure your child that he did not do or say anything to cause the pet’s death. Maintain usual routines, and most young children will accept the loss without a lot of emotion.
Ages 4-6: Children have some understanding of death but may not comprehend the permanence of it. They may even think the pet is asleep or is continuing to eat, breathe, and play somewhere. Frequent, brief discussions about the pet’s death will allow your child to express her feelings and ask questions.
Ages 7-9: At this age, children know death is irreversible. They might not be afraid that they will die, but they may worry about the death of their parents. Your child may ask questions that seem morbid, which parents should answer with honesty. Their grief may manifest itself in misbehavior or antisocial behavior at school.
Ages 10-12: Children understand that death is natural, inevitable, and happens to all living things. They look to their parents as role models in how to react to death. At this age, children may cry a lot and need lots of comforting.
Teenagers: Children of this age group may show anything from an apparent total lack of concern to excessively emotional reactions. One day they want to be treated like an adult, and the next day they need to be reassured like a young child. If friends are supportive, it is much easier for them to deal with a loss.
Young adults: The loss of a pet for this age group can be particularly hard. Young adults may have feelings of guilt for abandoning their pets when leaving home for college, work, or marriage, and may be unable to return to the family home to say goodbye to the pet. Again, supportive friends and coworkers may help, as will allowing the individual to discuss and remember the pet with family members.
I’ll Always Love You, by Hans Wilhelm. A boy and his pet dachshund grow up together, but one morning the dog doesn’t wake up. This tender book will touch any family who’s ever had to say goodbye to an old dog.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by Judith Viorst. After a little boy’s cat dies, the family plans a funeral, and the boy is asked to recall ten good things about his pet.
When a Pet Dies, by Fred Rogers. This direct but sensitive book includes color photos of kids and encourages children to share their feelings of loss.Source
A social autopsy is a problem-solving strategy designed to support social skills. Students with difficulties understanding social interactions can use a social autopsy as a way to analyze the social errors they made.
Examples of where social autopsies may be used include:
• Ignoring others’ greetings
• Asking a question in a class without raising hand
• Continuing to talk on the same topic
• Sneezing without covering own mouth
The steps include:
• Identify the error. The student describes to an instructor what happened and identifies what the error was. Identifying the correct emotions about the error can be difficult. The instructor helps the student understand the moment. In addition, the instructor teaches the unspoken rules that govern people’s behavior in a given setting.
• Identify the persons who were hurt by the error. Lack of theory of mind can be an obstruction in identifying others’ feelings or thoughts about the error. Teaching theory of mind may become a central aspect for this step.
• Decide how to correct the error. The student may need to observe the natural setting in which the desired behavior can happen. The instructor helps the student identify what other people do in the same situation and how the consequences can be different.
• Develop a plan that does not cause the error. Based on the identified way to alter the error, the student makes a plan and writes down in the worksheet what to do for the next time.
Remember the Autopsy is:
a supportive, structured, constructive strategy to foster social competence
a problem-solving technique
an opportunity for the child to participate actively in the process
conducted by any significant adult in the child’s environment (teacher, parent, bus driver)
conducted in a familiar, realistic, and natural setting
most effective when conducted immediately after the social error
It is not:
a punishment or scolding
an investigation to assign blame
controlled/conducted exclusively by an adult
a one-time “cure” for teaching the targeted social skill
SOCCSS (Situation, Options, Consequences, Choices, Strategies, Simulations) developed by Jan Roosa. Designed to help individuals understand social situations and interactions, SOCCSS is a step-by-step problem-solving process teaching that choices have consequences. It provides an individual with decision-making techniques, including questioning and choice making. SOCCSS is a perfect intervention to incorporate into a comprehensive program plan. Source
2. Comic strip conversations: Also developed by Carol Gray. Visual symbols such as those found in cartoons often enhance social understanding, turning abstract and elusive events into something tangible that a person can reflect upon. This can help with theory of mind, and to understand the intent behind others actions. In comic strip conversations stick figures with speech and thought bubbles are drawn to illustrate the story while the child is talking. Colors from a color chart illustrate feelings e.g. green equals kind words and thoughts, and red equals mean words and thoughts. Source
3. Social Behavior Mapping-Developed by Michelle Garcia Winner. Social Behavior mapping teaches a student how to Connecting Behavior, Emotions and Consequences Across the Day and is geared for use by parents and professionals to help those with social thinking challenges understand what behaviors are expected and unexpected in a way that makes sense to their way of thinking.
Recently, I worked with a father who was reluctant to take part in his child’s life after being incarcerated. He felt a lot of shame over not being there for his son and didn’t know if he could get passed his feelings of guilt and reestablish ties. Long story short he moved through his feelings of guilt and started with weekend visits and things are going great. So, we looked into it being a Dad together and I have to say it was a fun and empowering activity here is what we found.