November 2020 School Counselor Newsletter
Dear St. John Families,
Happy November! I hope this letter finds you well. We’re entering that time of year where the days are shorter and that characteristic Seattle rain seems to envelop us. I wanted to take a moment to give you a gentle reminder to care for yourself.
Between the demands of work, our families, other obligations, and, of course, the stress of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we make space to do things to help ourselves. Not only is this important for your own mental health, but modeling self-care to our children is valuable for them to see, too. I really like this graphic that illustrates the 6 Components of Self-Care: mental, physical, emotional, practical, relationships, and spiritual. Make space in your day—even if it’s just a few minutes in your car—to do something that will help sustain you during these tough times.
This month, the theme in my Google Classroom is “Emotional Regulation,” which is essentially just a big term for the ability to calm down. The skill of being able respond to our emotions in order to find calm is truly a lifelong skill! And it’s a skill that’s correlated with success later in life, so it’s so important to begin developing during childhood. With that in mind, I wanted to share a couple of resources related to helping children learn to regulate their emotions:
- Create a “calm down” space in your home. Having a designated place to go to when we’re feeling upset is so important—more so than ever because we’re spending so much time at home! Check out this article that offers some great ideas to get you going. I’ve also recorded a lesson on creating a “calm down” kit. Feel free to check it out here.
- Implement new practices into your parenting repertoire. Check out the Child Mind Institute’s article with several concrete techniques parents can use to help children regulate their emotions.
- Get mindful! Mindfulness is such a powerful tool to help regulate emotions. Check out this article with 8 mindfulness apps to try.
Finally, I want to give a reminder of the supports I continue to offer for our students:
- Google Classroom (K-5th Grade): As mentioned above, the theme in my classroom this month is Emotional Regulation. All of the lessons and activities this month help students develop the skills to regulate their feelings and learn strategies to calm down. Please contact me if your child is not in my classroom and you would like for them to be added.
- Virtual Calming Room (Middle School): Students are invited to check out my Virtual Calming Room. This site has many resources to support positive mental health, including: guided meditations and breathing videos, journaling prompts, yoga videos, and more.
- 1-on-1 Counseling (All students): I’m available to work with students as requested on a goal-oriented, short-term basis. Please email me to arrange this service.
If I can do anything at all to support you during this time, don’t hesitate to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I work with parents and students throughout the week and would be happy to do anything I can to support you!
- Many parents have approached me with concerns regarding if/how the pandemic and all the disruptions to children’s lives could impact their social and emotional development. If that is a concern you share, I highly recommend reading this article with tips on promoting healthy social and emotional skills at home during quarantine.
- It’s important to pay attention to your child’s mental health, especially during these challenging times. This is a great article from Seattle Children’s Hospital with information on what mental health is, ways to support your child’s mental wellness, and signs of a mental health problem.
- With all the uncertainty surrounding COVID and reopening/closing of schools and other activities, children can (understandably) feel that their lives are out of control. You can help to comfort them by reminding them of things that are still in their control. Check out this resource from Big Life Journal on 5 ways to help kids focus on what they can control.
- I recently attended a webinar put by the Center for Child & Family Well-Being at UW called, “From Ally to Antiracist: Using Psychological Science and Mindfulness to Cultivate Growth and Action”. It was a very informative webinar, which you can view for free here. If you have younger children at home and are looking for ways to broach topics of race and racism with them, check out this recent episode from PBS Kids Talk.