Newsletter – December 2020

December 2020 School Counselor Newsletter

Dear St. John Families,

Happy December! I hope you were able to have happy and safe Thanksgiving. Our holiday celebrations are going to look different this year and these changes can cause us, children AND adults, to have a lot of strong feelings, among them anger, sadness, and disappointment.

In the midst of these changes and feelings, I encourage you to find moments of connection, warmth, and joy. My advice to families as we navigate these challenges comes from an article in the Child Mind Institute that includes excellent tips on helping our kids handle COVID-19. Among the key points include talking to your children about their feelings, validating their experiences, helping them focus on what they can control, and teaching them to find the positive, however small.

With this in mind, the theme in my Google Classroom this month involves helping children find the positive and cultivating a positive outlook. Here are a couple of resources to consider how you can promote this at home:

      1. Develop an attitude of gratitude by reframing the situation. It’s easy get stuck in focusing on all the things we can’t do or are missing out on this year. But when we work to develop an attitude of gratitude, we help our kids look at situations from a positive perspective. For example, instead of thinking “We’re stuck at home for the holidays this year,” try reframing that thought and focusing on something positive like, “We’re safe at home for the holidays.”
      2. Engage in activities that promote positivity. Check out this list that highlights 7 activities to help children develop a positive attitude. From meditation, prayer, and positive affirmations to helping others and recording “awe moments,” this list includes some great activities that could easily be incorporated into your family’s routine.

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

      • Google Classroom (K-5th Grade): As mentioned above, I’m focusing the theme in my classroom this month on Positive Thinking. 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, please contact me via email at cshaw@st-johnschool.org. I work with parents and students throughout the week and would be happy to do anything I can to support you!

Wishing your family all my best,

Ms. Shaw

Resources I’m Highlighting this Month

  • The Child Mind Institute recently published a great article called Holidays During the Pandemic that includes tips for reducing stress, helping kids cope, and ideas for making new traditions.
  • Parenting in Place is offering what looks to be a fantastic Fall 2020 Masterclass. There are weekly classes put on by parenting experts that address topics like supporting children during distance learning, promoting their social and emotional well-being, managing mental health as parents, and more.
  • On December 1st at 2pm, ParentMap is hosting a free webinar with positive discipline expert Julietta Skoog called, Together Forever: Fighting Fair and Fostering Friendship Among Siblings. The event will cover how to embrace kids’ conflict as an opportunity for social-emotional learning, strategies to equip children with the tools they need to decrease conflict, and more. If you can’t catch the event live, ParentMap makes their events available to view later on their Facebook page.
  • For families with younger children at home, I’d highly encourage checking out the television show Look, Listen, and Learn. It’s an excellent show that emphasizes Black and Indigenous people and people of color learning, teaching, and exploring, all in the context of promoting social-emotional learning. There are mini episodes that tackle big issues in children’s lives such as loneliness during the lockdown, getting a flu shot, and racism, as well as longer episodes on topics like friendship, worry, courage, and more.