HELPING STUDENTS COPE AT HOME
During our school closure, it will be common for students to feel anxious or worried about their family and our community. All students can benefit from learning healthy strategies for identifying and managing their emotions. Many families will use this time to connect with one another. Practicing some of these coping strategies and discussing emotions as a family is a great way to connect and support one another!
Resources for Families
- The National Association of School Psychologists has information on how to talk with children and teens about coronavirus as well as some tips on how to provide support during the pandemic.
- Common Sense Media has information on talking with kids about coronavirus, tips for helping kids understand the news, and online resources to help families stay entertained while staying at home.
- Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety has useful information and resources for adults and adolescents.
Scheduling and Activities
- In addition to engaging in eLearning provided by your child’s teacher, encourage your child to participate in available online “field trips.” See this link for a list of online resources.
- Maintain the same eating and sleeping schedules for your family to provide as much normalcy as possible.
- Recognize that feelings of boredom, loneliness, worry, anxiety, fear of contracting illness, and panic are all normal reactions in a stressful situation.
- Spend time as a family doing activities that have been helpful for you in the past - watching movies, playing games, listening to music, reading, or other activities that are consistent with your family’s beliefs and cultural values.
- Realize and remind your children that this will be temporary, even if your family is currently isolated or quarantined.
Information adapted from National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Self-Care and Coping
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a strategy for focusing on the present moment while acknowledging your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. This is a helpful strategy for increasing a sense of calmness.
Some ideas for being mindful:
- Taking a mindful walk is a great way for kids to relax. Take a few minutes to make your walk mindful by helping your child use their senses to focus on what they notice. What do they notice with their eyes? What can they smell? What do they hear?
- Try a mindful minute to help your child listen for all the sounds they can notice. Challenge them to remain quiet and calm to notice even the quietest of sounds, then set a timer for one minute. After the minute is over, talk about what sounds they noticed and how their mind and body felt during this activity. They might notice the sound of their breathing, the tick of a clock, or the sounds of birds outside.
- Have a color search! State a color and have your child call out (or write down) all the things they can think of that are that color.
- 5 Senses Activity - Sit quietly and notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can touch, and 1 thing you can taste. This is a quick strategy for focusing on the present moment.
- Mindful Schools is offering free online classes for mindfulness. Kids can participate in live classes, or watch the previous class recordings for free on the Mindful Schools website. The classes are designed for children in grades K-5, but could be useful for all ages!
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
- PMR is a coping strategy that practices tensing, or tightening, and releasing each muscle group in order to help with relaxation. This technique is effective in helping children and adults cope with stress and anxiety.
- Click on the below links for PMR videos by age group:
- Guided Imagery
- Guided Imagery is a mind-body strategy used to focus on images and relaxation through the use of storytelling. This strategy is great for relaxation and taking a “mental break” from daily life.
- Click on the below links for a sample guided imagery scripts, written by Mellisa Dormoy of ShambalaKids:
- Yoga doesn’t have to be an hour long class. Brief yoga stretches and poses can also increase calmness.
- See below for some online resources:
Seeking Additional Help
- If your child is currently engaging in services with Adult and Child, please contact the therapist to discuss telehealth options for continuing treatment.
- If your child is not meeting with a therapist with Adult and Child, but you would like him/her to have additional support, please contact Heather Fosnaugh, CGCSC Director of Mental Health and School Counseling, at FosnaughH@centergrove.k12.in.us
- LookUp Indiana has resources online for coping with COVID-19. Call their 24/7 helpline at 877-257-0208 or text LookUp to 494949.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free and confidential crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-273-8255.
- Get support from a trained counselor from SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline. The helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The number is toll-free, multilingual, and confidential. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- Learn about and connect with a mental health or substance abuse counselor via www.treatmentconnection.com. Treatment Connection is a confidential resource for linking with state-vetted treatment providers.