Newsletter – February 2021

February 2021 School Counselor Newsletter

Dear St. John Families,

Happy February! With intermediate students having returned to the building last month and middle school students returning next week, we are moving through a period full of changes. Changes to schedules and routines, changes to the amount of time spent together as a family, changes to the day-to-day school experience, and many others.

With all of these significant changes, you may be seeing some changes in your child’s behavior. Your once generally happy and settled child (“settled” is a relative term during a pandemic!) may be more irritable or sensitive than what you’ve grown accustomed to. You may be noticing that your child is having trouble getting to sleep at night, or reporting stomach aches, or headaches. Or you may be growing exhausted of answering your child’s many questions—ones you know you’ve already answered numerous times.

These are all signs of anxiety and are to be expected during big life changes. In addition to exhibiting signs of anxiety and worry, your child may also be expressing excitement and joy. These conflicting feelings can be overwhelming and confusing to children. You can support your child through these changes by keeping the lines of communication open, patiently answering their questions while reminding them that the grown-ups in their life are doing everything possible to keep them safe, and maintaining (as much as possible) a normal routine at home. The Child Mind Institute also has some great suggestions for supporting kids with Back-to-School Anxiety during COVID.

As we move through these next few weeks together, if you’re seeing signs of anxiety in your child, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for support. I work with many students throughout the week to help them process and cope with the events we’re living through, and would be happy to help you or your child in whatever way I can.

Finally, I want to remind you of the supports I offer our students:

      • Google Classroom (K-5th Grade): The theme in my classroom this month is Conflict & Communication. All of the lessons and activities this month teach students skills to peacefully and independently solve conflict with others. 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.

I want to reiterate that I’m here for you, parents and caregivers! If I can do anything at all to support your child or family, please contact me at cshaw@st-johnschool.org. It’s both a joy and privilege to support this special community.

Warmly,

Ms. Shaw

Resources I’m Highlighting this Month

  • Looking for pointers on how to effectively praise your child in a way that nurtures their intrinsic motivation? Check out this article, The Ultimate Guide to Praising Your Kids full of excellent tips. Hint: work to avoid giving your child “person praise” (e.g., “You’re so smart!”) in favor of “process praise” (e.g., “I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that math problem until you finally got it!”)
  • Beginning February 1st, The Imagine Neighborhood, my favorite social-emotional learning podcast for younger children, is releasing a new series called “Imagine Equity” that includes six stories about “race, justice, and making things right.” Episodes will address topics like identity, diversity, injustice, and standing up for what’s right. Can’t recommend this podcast enough!
  • Struggling to connect with your preteen or teen? You’re not alone! On March 2nd, Space Between is offering a free workshop for parents and caregivers called “Get Centered: Strategies for Supporting and Connecting with Your Teen” that will cover tools and practices to “cope with stress, respond with compassion, and stay connected to our kids and our partners.”
  • If the long-term increase in screen time is taking its toll on your family, check out these awesome Screen-Free Activities for kids and families.