Counselor's Corner
May 10, 2020
We’d like to honor all of our mothers, grandmothers, guardians, and all of those loving people who have loved, nurtured, and supported our students, through the years.  HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!  Please enjoy the letter which reminds us of all that you give to your children!  - Click here to read... 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Staying Mentally and Physically Healthy during COVID

Most families have chosen or been forced to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and this has completely altered our day-to-day lives. While it is the safer and recommended thing to do, it does not come without risk to our health and well-being.

Many families are experiencing increased levels of stress from multiple causes:

·      financial strain due to lost income;

·      working from home while concurrently taking care of and trying to home-school their children;

·      the lack of access to technology to support learning from home;

·      complete disruption of their usual routines including participation sports, activities and social gatherings;

·       the limited or nonexistent interactions with other family members and friends who typically provide a support network; and the inability to access community supports and various therapies.

How do families try to remain healthy during this time of isolation and stress that is aimed at keeping families well?

It is extremely important for children, teens and adults to try and maintain a daily schedule.

·      Maintain consistency in wake times, mealtimes and bedtimes.

·      Even if school and work will be attended virtually, continue the same routine that would be done for in-person attendance, such as getting cleaned up and dressed before logging on.

·      It may be helpful to set some goals for each day to provide structure and a sense of purpose.

·      It is also important to ensure that older kids and teens have some “down time” where they do not have to interact.

o   This is good for parents, as well.

Unfortunately, a side effect of virtual learning and meetings is that we are all getting more screen time than ever before.

·      A great site that can help with quality media and at-home learning opportunities is www.commonsensemedia.org   

More importantly, go outside, get some fresh air, move your body.

·      There is evidence that being outside helps kids learn, encourages increased physical activity, and can reduce stress and depression.

·      This could be in your own backyard, a local park or a nature trail. Just remember to maintain social distancing and wash hands when returning home. 

·      Prescriptiontrails.org is a website that can help you to easily find a nearby park, walking trail or wheelchair accessible rolling path.

It is important to talk to your kids about how you, and they, are feeling.

·      Allowing them time to express their concerns can help them feel better and give you an opportunity to support them and address their concerns.

·      Staying in touch with friends and loved ones can help in times of stress. A video chat or even a phone call can give a sense of connection to others and provide an opportunity to talk about your feelings.

·      Some families are experiencing extreme stress and abuse. The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line has a 24-hour crisis call line 855-662-7474, as well as a website with many community resources (nmcrisisline.com) and a phone app called NMConnect.

The city of Albuquerque website www.cabq.gov  has community resources listed that can help families:

·      with food assistance,

·      teaching kids at home,

·      utility and internet information,

·      unemployment,

·      health and medical information,

·      Newmexicokids.org has a wealth of information and resources for families as well. 

·      PBS.org/parents is another site with free online books and resources that can help families with educating and entertaining their kids.

This article is adapted from Melissa Mason is a general pediatrician with Journey Pediatrics in Albuquerque.



Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Notes for Parenting Skills:

1. Boost Your Child’s Self-esteem: Praise their accomplishments, however small; let them do things independently, and accept their efforts; soften your tone of voice, your body language, as our children are highly perceptible at a very early age. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless. Damage-making comments, such as “What a stupid thing to do!” or “You act more like a baby than your little brother!”, will make children feel like they “are not good enough.”
2. Be generous with your positive statements: “You made your bed without being asked - that’s terrific!” Or “I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient.” This encourages good behavior. Reward the good behaviors with your hugs, and compliments - this is encourage and modeling the behavior that you want and is highly more effective than repeated scoldings.
3. Set Limits and Be Consistent With your Discipline: Discipline is necessary in every household, as limits grow children into being responsible adults. Limits teach self-control. Such limits might include, “When your homework is finished, you may choose to watch tv or play a game on your electronic device.” Other rules within the household might include such expectations as “no hitting,” “no name-calling,” and “no hurtful teasing.” You might put into place, such consequences as a loss of privileges, with just one warning. A common mistake parents make is failure to follow through with the consequences. Consequences are present throughout our lives. If I don’t go to school, I won’t graduate. If I don’t graduate, I won’t find a job. If I have a job, but show up consistently late, I won’t keep a job.
4. Make Time for Your Kids: One of the ways that children know they are loved and worthy is when we adults spend time with them, at the table talking about their day at school, playing games together, working on projects together, taking a walk together, finding “love notes” in their school backpacks or lunches, popping popcorn together, are just a few of the ways. These are “connections” that they will remember as adults.
5. Communicate Clearly and with Transparency: Children want and deserve explanations, and want to know what your expectations are. Describe, express your feelings “I feel very sad when you yell at your little brother. I want him to love you like I do. I believe the yelling scares him, and he moves away from you. What could you do instead, so that he will know it’s not alright to get into your desk, without asking first.” This is inviting your child to work with you on a solution. Children who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.
6. Show that Your Love is Unconditional: How you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how a child perceives it. Avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Rather, strive to nurture and encourage when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is always there for them. This gives children the “safety” and “security” they need and deserve, to grow into adulthood where they will take care of themselves in a healthy manner.
7. Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent: There is no such thing as perfect parenting. You do, however, have strengths and weaknesses to be recognized: “I am a loving and dedicated parent.” Vow to work on your weaknesses. “I need to be more consistent with discipline.” Be realistic in your expectations of yourself, your partner, and your kids. We parents do not have all the answers - forgive yourself! Take time out from parenting to do things that make you happy. Focusing on yours needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being which is an important value to model for your children.
 

Monday, April 27, 2020


We’ll begin with BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM, in our children.
TIPS:

Using a person’s name builds respect and SELF-ESTEEM. Self-esteem is basically a person’s sense of worth, or how your child sees himself.  When children feel confident, secure, and loved, they are more successful at school, and more motivated later in life.  Give children choices, early on, between two healthy outcomes.  (For a two year old, , you would want to present two choices of what to wear that day, both of which you’ve already selected as insuring good outcomes.) By the time they reach the age of reason, seven or eight years old, they have learned how to make good choices and are more self confident.  They know the difference between hot and cold weather and what they need to wear to be comfortable and safe.  Give your children sincere praise, and also let them know that no one is perfect.  We’re always striving to be better people.  Allow them to make mistakes, and to do for themselves.  Again, this instills more self-confidence.  Little ones can help set the table, and other age-appropriate household chores, while older children can be assigned other jobs, such as being responsible for their space (bedrooms), helping to bring in the wood, washing dishes, doing their own laundry, and more. Show them HOW to do these things, so that they know your expectations, and know the feeling of belonging and being successful.