This week’s lesson is about gratitude. I know that when times are difficult, it can be a challenge to stop and think about being grateful. However, taking a moment to remember the things we have to be grateful for can be very beneficial to our mental health.
This week, students are asked to write down on a piece of paper something they are grateful for. This can be something very simple like fresh air and sunlight. I encourage them to collect these slips of paper in a jar or old shoebox. In times of struggle, they can take out the box and read all the things they have to be thankful for.
Thank you for all the support you have given your children during this time. I know that it has not been easy and the path is still not clear. I encourage you to take things one day at a time. No one has this completely figured out yet, so you don’t need to either. Please keep talking to your child. Encourage them to reach out to peers and spend a little time each day outdoors. Lastly, praise them for how resilient they have been. It has been a pleasure working with you and your child this year. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be their counselor.
May 11, 2020
The focus of this week’s lesson is growth mindset. It is important for your child to understand that their intelligence and capabilities are not fixed. Their brain acts like a muscle and the more they use it, the stronger it becomes. Take a moment to review the graphic below which illustrates the difference between having a fixed mindset versus growth mindset:
Having a growth mindset will enable your child to successfully navigate through life’s inevitable challenges. A growth mindset fosters flexibility, creativity, and resilience. Here are ways you can foster a growth mindset in your child:
- Help them change their self-talk. Instead of “I can’t do this”, encourage them to develop the mindset of, “I can’t do this YET.”
- Praise the process. Instead of focusing on how smart your child is, praise their effort, persistence, or creativity.
- Remind your child that their intelligence is not fixed. Every time they learn something new, their brain makes connections and gets stronger.
- Change how you address failure. Your child needs to know that failure is okay. Did they set a goal and work really hard? That is worth acknowledging, regardless of the outcome. Don’t try to prevent your child from experiencing failures; this is how they learn to persevere in the face of adversity.
This focus of this week is self-regulation. Being able to self-regulate is an essential component to success in school and life. It’s important for your child to recongnize when they are getting upset and then be able to utlize techniques to help calm down. If you think of the world around you as a river, I want your child to be able to go from choppy waters to calm.
Recognizing when our waters are getting choppy and taking a moment to use a self-regulation strategy listed above is the key to success.
The counseling activity this week focuses on building resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back or recover from difficulties. I like to think of resilience as emotional “body armor”. As our current global situation shows us, life is not always predictable. Our students will be faced with many challenges as they develop and our goal is to ensure they have the ability to face those challenges. Research shows that resilient people recover faster and more completely from painful life experiences. Providing protective facts help build your child’s resiliency. Protective factors include experiencing supportive parenting, having a stable environment, being exposed to positive experiences, and being able to identify and utilize coping skills. When protective factors in a child’s life outweigh risk factors, the child becomes more resilient.
3 Tips for Building Resilience in Children:
- Provide warm, supportive parenting: The single most common factor in building resilience is having at least one close relationship with a warm, responsive caretaker.
- Teach coping skills: While coping skills are very beneficial during traumatic times, they are also useful for everyday life. Coping skills help students deal with regular challenges and transitions.
- Cognitive reframing-last week, we reviewed how important cognitive reframing can be in helping us view a situation in a more positive light
- Problem solving- help your child identify their problem and brainstorm possible solutions
- Review relaxation techniques- help your child identify their 3 favorite ways to relax (deep breathing, journaling, taking a walk, listening to music, talking to a friend)
- Encourage emotional awareness-aid your child in identifying the emotion they are feeling, remembering that ALL emotions are OK
- Remind your child that no matter what, you will be there to support them and that mistakes are part of growth.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com if I can be of any assistance.
I will be posting weekly activities to support your child's social emotional needs while we are away from school. Your child can access those activities by clicking on the COVID-19 Weekly Message and Activity tab. This week, the focus is on cognitive reframing. I encouraged the students to reframe their negative thoughts. For example, instead of feeling like we are "stuck at home", consider that we are "safe at home." This simple technique can assist your child in managing his/her emotions during this challenging time.
If you would like for me to call your child, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I check my email daily and would be happy to reach out to your child to assist him/her in any way I can. Lastly, please take a moment to read the article below. It offers additional guidance on how you can support your child during the pandemic.
First, I want you to know that I miss you! I know that this time feels scary and overwhelming. It is never easy when things are going on around us that we cannot control. During this time, I encourage you to focus on things you CAN control.
Try to stick to a daily routine. I know that the district has provided work for you to do. You can also listen to music, play a board game, draw, and talk to friends over the phone. As challenging as it may be, try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. There are many people working around the clock to help solve this problem. You can help by staying at home as much as possible. Maybe while you are home you can help by doing some chores. I know your loved ones will really appreciate anything you do!
Please check this webpage for other helpful documents. I cannot wait to see you again. Stay home, stay positive, and be KIND to one another!
email@example.com (Please have a parent email me at this address if you would like to talk while we are out of school.)