COVID-19 Distance Learning » Family/Student Wellness & Supports

Family/Student Wellness & Supports

Each of us is struggling in different ways during this difficult time. We wanted to put together some resources for you to use. 
 
You may see some familiar faces here - we've asked staff to create videos to support you.
 
Kindness and Compassion: This 2 minute video for students features Mountain Meadow Elementary School Counselor Ginger Price sharing about kindness. 
  • There is a lot we don’t have control over right now, but one thing we do is how we choose to treat others. 

  • You have the power to choose kindness, respect and care. Doing that impacts the world!

  • Kindness helps us as the giver, the receiver, and inspires those around us. 

  • You can do things like:  help someone with a task, make a card or craft, show appreciation, or take the time to say something positive. 

Challenge: Find something to do for someone else to show true kindness, big or small!

 

5 Reasons You are Yelling at Your Kids: This 4 minute video for caregivers features White River School District mental health therapist Stephanie Dann sharing about the 5 reasons you are yelling at your kids. 

  1. You are normal: you might feel like the only person who struggles with this but we all yell sometimes.

  2. You are imperfect: imperfection is the one thing we all have in common. When we can embrace we are imperfect, we can admit our mistakes and refocus our attention in a positive direction.

  3. You are skipping self-care: our bodies are not meant to be in a constant stress state, that is easier said than done right now. Try to fit in some self-care, even just five deep breaths!

  4. You need more practice doing things differently: interrupting patterns we learned from our own childhood can be hard, but it does get easier over time.

  5. You need support: talk to someone like a supportive friend or family member about your shortcomings. Sometimes it can also be helpful to talk to a mental health therapist. There are many in the community who can help, and some are even seeing clients for free!  Email sdann@whiteriver.wednet.edu to get connected.  

Challenge: Take five deep breaths when you feel like you are going to “lose it” with your kids.

 

Sleep Hygiene for caregivers: This 4 minute video for caregivers features Elk Ridge Elementary School Counselor Jonathan Andrus  sharing about sleep hygiene. 

  • The purpose of sleep hygiene is to help us get deep sleep. This will help your mood, increase your mental health, and keep you more alert during the day.

  • Getting outside and getting sunlight helps the body prepare for sleep. Daylight regulates your body's internal clock.

  • A bedtime routine is important for the whole family and save your bed just for sleep if you can.

  • If it takes longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep, get up and do something relaxing in another room. Resetting outside of the bedroom is better than staring at the time or worrying about falling asleep.

Challenge: If you are having a hard time going to sleep - quickly jot down the thoughts that are overwhelming you so that you think about them later, or do something from your night time routine to reset.

 

Sleep Hygiene for students: This 4 minute video for students features Elk Ridge Elementary School Counselor Jonathan Andrus  sharing about sleep hygiene. 

  • Sleep hygiene is taking care of ourselves at night. Sleep helps our mood, makes us more alert during the day, and helps us store information we learned during the day. 

  • Getting exercise each day helps your body get ready for sleep. 

  • If you take a nap during the day, it should be no more than 30 minutes.

  • Try to make your bedroom as cool and dark as possible. 

  • If you can, make your workstation different from your sleep station.

  • Have a bedtime routine and try not to use any screens 30 minutes before bed. 

Challenge: Try turning off screens 30 minutes before bed for amazing sleep!

 

Routines: This 2 minute video for families features Glacier Middle School 6th Grader Miles Birklid and teacher Amy Birklid sharing about routine. 

  • We know how hard it is to do schooling online at home!

  • Kids fight it sometimes, but their brains love structure. Try using a checklist. 

  • Short sustained focus: one strategy is set a timer for different tasks and take lots of breaks. 

  • Try different ways of doing things, there is not one right way. 

  • If nothing else, READ!

Challenge: Think about the routine you have tried so far, what is working for your family and what is not? Revise the plan and be flexible!

 

Doing Something Good for Yourself: This 1 minute video for students features White River High School Counselor Sarra Pierotti sharing about doing something good for yourself. 

  • We are all feeling drained right now!

  • Try to interact yourself with people that will help restore your energy. 

  • Do things that feel good for your body like be outside, go on a walk, relax at night time

  • We are here to help if you need us!

Challenge: Notice when you are feeling particularly drained this week, take a break, and do something good for yourself.

 

Dealing with Stress: This 1 minute video for families features Foothills Elementary School 5th Grader Jeremiah Smith sharing about healthy ways to deal with stress. 

  • Play with magnets, try a new recipe, take a bath, paint a rock, do a puzzle, read a book, write in a journal!

Challenge: Try to do something fun or creative this week when you are feeling stressed

 

Perfectionism: This 2 minute video for caregivers features Elk Ridge Elementary School Principal Nina Markey sharing about perfectionism. 

  • Distance learning is hard and you might be feeling defeated. 

  • You may think other families have it “all together” and are playing the comparison game. 

  • Perfectionism is holding ourselves to an unattainable perfect standard, this is not a time for perfection! It is hard to not feel like you have control over things. 

  • Doing the best you can is good enough!

  • It’s OK if you or your student don’t know something, you are not alone in that. Reach out to your school! We want to help. 

Challenge: Don’t feel like you need to do everything alone, when you are struggling this week reach out for help! Try to drop that expectation for perfection in that moment.

 

Why Belly Breathe: This 3 minute video for students features Wilkeson Elementary School Counselor Carla Burgi sharing about how belly breathing really works!

  • In our Second Step program, we teach students when they are upset to stop, name what they are feeling, and do a calm down strategy. 

  • Belly breathing is a type of calming strategy where you take a slow deep breath in through the nose and exhale out the mouth. It is called a belly breath because you should see your stomach expand. 

  • Deep breathing activates something in our body called the vagus nerve; this is the biggest nerve in our body and is super powerful!

  • Breathing during the day and when we are upset helps our mental and physical health! Research shows it improves our sleep, reduces headaches, helps our memory and thinking, and reduces anxiety. 

Challenge: Try doing some belly breathing every day this week, even if you aren’t feeling upset. It is a great practice to do daily.

 
 

Trauma, Resilience and Connection:  This 3 minute video for caregivers features White River School District Social Worker Carianne Sellers sharing about trauma, resilience, and connection. 

  • This pandemic has been a collective trauma for all of us; a trauma is a distressing and confusing event we don’t have control of. You may be concerned about your student’s stress and reactions. 

  • Research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (or ACE’s) tells us the common thread of resilience is a loving and supportive caregiver.

  • Spending time with our students doing something they are interested in, validating their feelings, and encouraging them when they want to give up will all help.

  • We can all do hard things and we are not alone, take this time to strengthen relationships!

Challenge: Spend some intentional quality time with your student and reach out to someone you have been missing!

 

Control and Acceptance:  This 4 minute video for students features Glacier Middle School Teacher Bailey Plumb sharing about control and acceptance.

  • With so many unknowns, it is hard to feel like you don’t have control in our life. 

  • When you are stressed, stop and think, “Do I have control over this?”

  • If we don’t have control, it is better for our mental well being to try to accept and try not worry about it.

  • Acceptance means accepting things for what they are, even when we don’t like it. 

  • Shift from “Why me?” to “It is what it is.”

Challenge: Try to shift your focus this week on what you can control - how you spend your time, the effort you put into things, what media you look at, and asking for help.

 

Being a Bucket Filler:  This 3 minute video for students features Wilkeson Elementary School Counselor Carla Burgi sharing about being a bucket filler. 

  • We each have an invisible bucket inside of us. When we are having hard emotions like feeling sad, our bucket feels low and when we feel happy, our bucket level feels high. 

  • We have the power to help fill up other people’s buckets. We can do something kind, be helpful, say something nice; all these things make others happier. 

  • The cool thing is when we fill up someone else’s bucket, it doesn’t take anything from ours but rather ours gets fuller too!

  • Scientists have researched this and we know it is true, our brain chemicals and physical health change when we are kind to others. 

Challenge: Be a bucket filler this week! Think of something you can do for someone else, it can be small! Notice how the other person reacts but also notice how it impacts how you feel. 

If you are interested in the books that inspired this post, check out “How Full Is Your Bucket?” by Donald Cliffton and Tom Rath and “How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids” by Mary Reckmeyer and Tom Rath 
 

Disappointment: This 2 minute video for caregivers features Elk Ridge Elementary School Office Manager Kim Cutright sharing about disappointment.

  • We are all having a lot of big emotions right now, that is normal and OK!

  • With this pandemic, we are not able to do many things we were really looking forward to like the end of a sports season, prom, graduation, or job opportunity. 

  • We had dreams of how things would be and it is so disappointing to not be able to have those dreams realized. 

  • When you feel disappointed, you can shift your focus to being kind to others or doing a hobby. It won’t make all the disappointment go away but it will definitely help. 

  • We are all going to get through this together!

Challenge: When you feel disappointment this week, try to do one kind act for someone or get into a hobby. Notice how this impacts how you feel.

 

5 4 3 2 1 Calming Technique:  This 3 minute video for students features Foothills Elementary School Counselor Amanda Barry sharing a grounding technique called 5,4,3,2,1.

·       If you are feeling anxiety, anger, or overwhelmed, you can use grounding to settle those feelings.

·       This calming technique is about noticing things with your 5 senses and deep breathing.

·       Notice 5 things that you see around you, BREATH, notice 4 things you can physically touch around you, BREATH, 3 things that you can hear, BREATH, 2 things you can smell, BREATH , 1 thing you can taste, BREATH.  

·       You can do this in your mind, say it out loud, write it on paper, or use your fingers to count.

Challenge: Try the 5,4,3,2,1 technique alone or with someone you know!

 

Importance of Play for Adults:  This 2 minute video for caregivers features Foothills Elementary School Counselor Amanda Barry sharing about the importance of play for adults  

·       We know play is important for kids.

·       As adults we are often busy and stressed but playing even in adulthood helps release endorphins and increase brain functionality.

·       We can intentionally and actively get involved in play with our students, we can do something they enjoy or maybe do something new together.

Challenge: Try to play with your student 15 minutes each day!

 
CRISIS: If you are in crisis, please call the 24 hour Pierce County Crisis Line at 1 (800) 576 7764. 
EMERGENCY: If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911