School is certainly looking different this year. As parents, you had such hard decisions to make. It had to be so stressful having to make the choice as to where and how you and your child felt most safe for their learning. You had to take so many things into consideration. I hope you went easy on yourself! It had to be hard! So many emotions to navigate, coming from both you and your child!
At this point they have started school in some capacity. Whether they are attending school from home or in-person, lets see how we can help keep their mindset & emotions positive.
Communication is key. Make sure you are keeping your child talking about their feelings and experiences. This gives you opportunities to ease their emotions and address any challenges. Go easy in your conversations. Use open-ended questions. If you can stay calm in your responses, this will help keep them relaxed. Your stress level will influence their stress level. Try to alleviate your stress on your own so that you can remain positive in your conversation with your children.
Give them tools to stay positive. They undoubtedly will have some stress, fear, uncertainty and anxiety. Let's review some tools you can give them to manage these negative reactions to this uncertain time:
Relaxation techniques: In order to manage stressful emotions, it is important to know how to calm ourselves down. Teach them to slow down racing thoughts by tuning into their breath, noticing their heartbeat, or picturing peaceful scenes in their mind. It would be ideal to start each day with a few moments of this type of practice so they develop this habit and it becomes automatic. Jump Into Joy Workbook Set of Positive Mindset Tools is a great tool for you and your kids to learn more!
Shifting Perspective: It is important to validate and honor their fears and anxiety. Then it is equally important to teach them how to alleviate this negativity with a mindset shift towards joy. In other words, help them find the positive side of the situation. For example, in one of my Jump Into Joy Workshops a child expressed feeling the sadness of missing in-person learning and specifically her teacher. As a group, we discussed how she might shift her sadness. We decided that she could draw a picture since she was a bit young for a long letter, and send it to her teacher. Art is a great way to express herself and then she was able to feel connection by communicating with her teacher through the mail.
Gratitude: A daily practice of finding things to be grateful for is an amazing way to keep a positive flow of energy in our lives. You can do this during breakfast or even at the bus stop! You could even repeat it at dinner or bedtime. Its so easy and fun! Just suggest naming 3 things they are happy about! It can be anything from their physical environment to people to material items. The great thing is that if they know this conversation will be coming each morning or evening, they will find themselves making sure they are prepared! How does that play out? They develop a habit of paying attention to positive experiences during their day so they can tell you about them during these conversations. Tap for more info on gratitude.
Journalling: I highly suggest starting your kids with some sort of journal. They need a way to get their thoughts and emotions out of their head. Sometimes emotions are hard to express verbally. They can draw pictures or just doodle and as they develop writing skills they can write as well. Tap for more journalling ideas.
At Jump Into Joy Experience, we dive into all of these topics and more. Our next virtual workshop starts Sept. 23! Hope to see you there!