Now that we are a few weeks into sheltering-at-home, check in with Dad Hans Lutgring for empathy, peer support and ideas to keep our family units going strong.
Family feeling a little bearish right now? Join father and family facilitator Hans Lutgring LIVE on Facebook for some quick tips and tools to generate Peace in the Pandemic in your family. Part of Mind Springs Health’s Peace in the Pandemic Facebook LIVE series, full schedule at MindSpringsHealth.org/COVID19
Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience—a film that examines the science behind teen’s emotional challenges, the interplay of social media, and most importantly, what can be done in our schools and homes to help them build crucial skills to navigate stress, anxiety, and depression in our digital age.
Recommended for 6th grade and up… for all adults!
Viewing and discussion from 5:30-7:30 pm
A Camp for Building Confidence and Authenticity
July 15th-19th, 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
(Drop-off between 9:00-9:30PM/Pick-up between 3:30-4:00PM)
Click here to register: https://bit.ly/2IpWVZH
Girls going into 4th and 5th grade will spend a week stepping into their strong, authentic selves. Through games, role-play, art, heart talks, and time outdoors, girls will develop tools to:
• navigate challenging or changing friendships
• assert their needs and desires
• be true to themselves by discovering who they really are
• stick up for themselves and others
• take risks and expand their comfort zones
• build confidence
A Look at Positive Psychology, Attachment Theory, Brain Development & Building Resilient Children
Presented by Charlotte Margulies, MSW, LCSW – Mind Springs Health School-based Therapist.
Please REGISTER at www.AspenFamilyConnections.org
Free childcare and dinner for the kids
To get the most out of this event please go to www.ViaCharacter.org to complete your free character strengths analysis and bring it with you.
School resuming is a busy time for families. The excitement, anxiety, and change in schedules for children and families create stress. Beginning the school year brings varied emotions for children and their parents.
Parents may wonder…
Meanwhile, children’s feelings about the transition back to school can get lost in the shuffle of family stress. A brief article from the American Psychological Association provides tips for parents to attend to their child’s emotions and build resiliency during the stressful back-to-school time. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/school-rush.aspx
I would like to offer a few strategies for coping with, or even enjoying the transition back to school for yourself and your family! Every family and child is different, so pick one of these ideas and give it a try!
Take care of yourself. Try to balance family and professional responsibilities with self-care. By taking the time to do things that nourish you (time with friends, exercise, time outside, hobbies/activities), you are more able to care for and support your child.
Make goals. Brainstorm with your child to come up with a couple of goals for the school year—something he/she has always wanted to learn, or something he/she wants to accomplish to become more independent, competent, or confident. Goals may be social (hang out with a new friend), academic (earn As and Bs, memorize the presidents, read a certain book), athletic (make the varsity team), or related to interests/hobbies (master a skill). Outline steps your child can accomplish each month toward the goals, and provide encouragement and rewards along the way.
Listen and talk with your child. Taking the time to listen and talk with your child is a powerful way to connect and enjoy each other. Practice being calm and present with your children to listen and empathize with their perspectives rather than jumping in to fix their problem or change their feelings. A great book for parents of children of all ages is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. Just a few minutes of uninterrupted time can lead to conversation and connection. Ask a specific question, then be quiet and listen. Not, “How was your day?” but instead, “Who did you sit by at lunch? What was the most interesting thing you learned?” The links below provide conversation starters to learn about your child’s day.
Protect sleep. Good sleep is critical for cognitive and emotional functioning. Children need at least 10-11 hours of sleep every night, and teens require 8-9 hours nightly. Seattle Children’s Hospital provides a helpful document outlining tips for protecting sleep and promoting sleep hygiene. https://www.seattlechildrens.org/pdf/PE1066.pdf
Get organized. Consistency and structure help reduce anxiety and clarify expectations for children. Make a weekly family schedule posted on a paper calendar or white board – listing field trips, sports practices, family activities, parent travel or parenting schedule if parents are divorced, etc. Review and have everyone add to the schedule before each week begins, then refer to the schedule to prepare for each day.
Be together without distraction. Some parents get pulled into the role of driver, chef, homework tutor, and organizational assistant. Others become task-masters to keep their children moving forward on responsibilities, getting out the door, and finishing homework. In the midst of all of these roles, make it a priority to spend enjoyable time with your child rather than just making it through the daily grind. Find an activity that you can enjoy with your child most days, even for a few minutes—read or listen to a book, watch a show, play a game, build a puzzle, cook or bake, go on a bike ride or outdoor adventure. Even five minutes of daily uninterrupted, undivided attention from a parent joining their child in a chosen activity is enough to transform the relationship, communication, and emotion of both the parent and child.
Lastly, consider mistakes, conflict, and stress as opportunities to come together as a family and connect with your child. It’s okay. Now you can work through it together.
May you find moments of connection and enjoyment in the back-to-school transition!=
Heather Kaplinski, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, has a private practice in Aspen.