COVID-19 School Information » 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 disappointed 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!

Emotion Coaching is a communication strategy which supports young people to self regulate and manage their stress responses. It was originally developed in the USA by a psychologist John Gottman.
 

Emotion Coaching: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: This 6 minute video for caregivers features Elk Ridge Elementary Counselor Jonathan Andrus, introducing the Emotion Coaching curriculum, based on the work of the Gottman Institute in Seattle.

Emotion Coaching Part 2: Building Self Awareness: This is part 2 of our Emotion Coaching series for caregivers. Jonathan Andrus, the school counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, suggests ways that caregivers can reflect on their own parenting styles in order to create more opportunities to build connections with their children.

Emotion Coaching Part 3: Emotional Intelligence Categories:In Part 3 of our Emotion Coaching series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, explains the categories of emotional intelligence. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.  

Emotion Coaching Part 4: Emotional Intelligence Outcomes:This is part 4 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, wraps up the topic of emotional intelligence by explaining the researched outcomes of children with high emotional intelligence. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.

Emotion Coaching Part 5: Emotion Dismissing vs. Emotion Coaching:This is part 5 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, describes how adults may unintentionally dismiss emotions in our day-to-day interactions with kids. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.

Emotion Coaching Part 6: The Five Steps of Emotion Coaching:This is part 6 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, shares the 5 steps of Emotion Coaching. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman. 

Emotion Coaching Part 7: Parenting Behaviors to Strive For:This is part 7 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, shares 4 parenting patterns to strive for. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.  

Emotion Coaching Part 8: Four More Parenting Behaviors to Strive For:This is part 8 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, shares 4 more parenting patterns to strive for. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.  

Emotion Coaching Part 9: Flooding or Flipping Our Lid:  This is part 9 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, describes what happens when children and parents are overwhelmed by emotion and "flip our lid." For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman. 

Emotion Coaching Part 10: Repairing Mistakes:   This is part 10 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, explains why finding opportunities to repair the parent-child relationship is important. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.   

Emotion Coaching Part 11: The Coercive Cycle:  This is part 11 of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, describes the Coercive Cycle that all families fall into from time to time and how best to avoid it. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman.

Emotion Coaching Part 12: Final Thoughts:  In the final video of our Emotion Coaching caregiver series. Jonathan Andrus, School Counselor at Elk Ridge Elementary, leaves families with a summary of Emotion Concepts and final thoughts. For more information, visit the Gottman Institute at gottman.com or read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child" by Dr. John Gottman. Mr. Andrus is available by phone or email to discuss or answer any questions regarding Emotion Coaching.

Mental Health: What's Normal and Concerning

This 3-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about mental health, what is normal, and when there is cause for concern.

  • Being mentally healthy means you have a range of emotions and you feel like you can meet life’s challenges and stresses in positive ways.
  • One in five youth will develop a mental health condition and that number is on the rise due to the global pandemic.
  • You may be struggling with a mental health condition if: 1) You feel sad, worried, angry, or empty most of the day nearly every day for at least two weeks, 2) Less interested in things you used to enjoy, 3) Changes in sleep, appetite, energy, and concentration, or 4) Have thoughts of not wanting to live anymore, suicide, or hopelessness.

Challenge: If your student is struggling with their mental health, reach out! Contact your student’s school today, we have school counselors and mental health therapists available.  

 

Cognitive Coaching

This 3-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about how to use cognitive coaching with students when they feel stressed.

    • Thoughts impact how we feel and how we feel impacts what we do. We can help students to think differently through cognitive coaching.

    • Validating how our students think and feel is the first step before problem solving. 

    • Help your student to evaluate: is this thought true, helpful, or kind? If not, how can I think differently about this situation. 

Challenge: It is hard to see our students struggle, try hard at first to validate their experience before helping them to think differently!

 

What We Pay Attention To

This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about what we pay attention to as parents.

  • When times are hard, we tend to focus more on correcting and what kids are doing wrong. 
  • Sometimes we get tunnel visioned and don’t see the times they are doing things right, those small glimpses of controlling emotions, maturity, and problem solving. 
  • Changing your focus can change how you feel about parenting. 
  • Noticing and letting kids know we see their positive behaviors increases the likelihood they will do more of it in the future too!

Challenge: Try to notice one positive thing your student does each day this week, tell them what you are seeing! Just say the positive and walk away, don’t say the positive and end it with, “but you need to work on…”

 

Motivation
This 3-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about motivation.

  • Consider these questions: 1) How can I help my student believe they will be successful? 2) How can I increase the value of the activity for my student?
  • Goal-setting conversations - elementary: short-term/daily and specific choices, middle school: longer-term weekly goals and break into smaller parts, high school: long-term self-directed goals. Track progress and make a plan for when your student gets stuck. Talk about how the goal relates to things your student values.
  • With rewards, focus on effort and not results as well as be specific about what you are rewarding.

Challenge: Have a goal setting conversation this week with your student!

 

Control and Acceptance

This 3-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about control and acceptance.

  • Wanting control isn’t a bad thing, but trying to control things we can’t over time doesn’t work and is exhausting. “When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.”

  • Acceptance is giving up the struggle with things you can’t control and accepting reality for what it is, even if we don’t like it. 

  • Focus on what you can control: my attitude, how much news and social media I consume, following health guidelines, finding ways to have fun at home, how I treat others

Challenge: When your student is having a difficult time, help them to focus on what they can control and act on that!

 

Slowing Down
This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about slowing down.
When things are new, overwhelming, or stressful, we often can feel panic. When you feel panic, try slowing down as your first response. Slowing down gets your brain into a calm space. One where you can think through your options and explore what you and your child may need.
There are many ways to slow down:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Physically move your body slower
  • Remind yourself that it takes time to form a routine
  • Step outside or take a walk
  • Take a drink of water
  • Agree to wait until later to make a decision about something

 

I Statements

This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about I statements.

  • When we are upset, we often use “You statements” to communicate how we feel to others. Although our feelings are valid, this usually creates defensiveness and conflict. 

  • Try using an “I statement” like this: I feel ____________ (feeling word) when ___________ (the problem). I need ___________ (what you hope for in the future).

  • It’s harder for others to argue with your feelings when you present them in this way. 

Challenge: When you feel upset, try using an “I statement” instead of a “You statement” this week. Also, try watching this video with your student and practice coming up with I statements. They are more likely to use them if you teach the skill when they are calm.

 

Aplogizing

This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about apologizing.

  • We all make mistakes and apologizing is a part of making things right again. 

  • There are some benefits to apologizing: makes the person and you feel better, improves the relationship, and you are more likely to make a better choice in the future. 

  • Steps to making an apology:

1.     Calm down and think

2.     Say what you did and why it hurt the other person

3.     Ask how you can fix things

4.     Say you will try to do better next time and that you hope that person can forgive you

5.     Give the person time to feel better

Challenge: When you make a mistake, don’t pretend like nothing happened. Be brave and make an apology!

 

Deep Breathing

This 2-minute video for families features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about deep breathing.

When we are upset or stressed, the thinking part of our brain stops working well. 

The best way to get your brain back online and be yourself again is deep breathing.

Deep breathing involves taking in a lot more air into our lungs than we normally would and pushing it out. Putting your hand on your stomach and watching it go up and down can help you know if you are doing it right, also known as “belly breathing”. 

Challenge: When you feel stressed or upset, try taking three intentional deep breaths to help bring your thinking brain back online. 

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This 2-minute video for families features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about progressive muscle relaxation.

  • We can change how our bodies feel when we are stressed by using progressive muscle relaxation. 

  • This involves focusing our attention on different parts of the body, noticing how they feel, tensing the area, and then releasing. It can help to pretend like you are squeezing the water out of a clay ball. 

  • Try squeezing hard for 10 seconds  and releasing your hands, toes,  shoulders, jaw, and in between your eyes. You can do other parts of the body too if you wish. 

Challenge: When you feel stressed or upset, try taking a minute to use progressive muscle relaxation to release the tension.

 

Neutral Thoughts

This 2-minute video for families features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about neutral thoughts. 

  • When we have negative thoughts often like, “I am so terrible at math,” this can turn into a firm belief about ourselves that is resistant to a positive perspective. Telling ourselves, “I am good at math!” doesn’t feel genuine and is easily dismissed. 

  • Try instead to replace negative thoughts with neutral thoughts like, “I’m learning math, this is hard because I am learning.” 

  • We often try to change negative thoughts into positive ones, but oftentimes that doesn’t work. 

Challenge: When your student voices a negative thought about themselves, try to resist the urge to tell them the opposite positive thought. Experiment with helping them have neutral thoughts about themselves or their abilities instead, as a first step to being open to positive thoughts in the future. 

 

Feelings Vocabulary 

This 2-minute video for families features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about expanding your feelings vocabulary. 

  • We often use limited words to describe our feelings. 

  • Naming our feelings helps us manage our feelings. 

  • Research with the brain shows when we can name uncomfortable feelings, they start to go down. “If you can name it, you can tame it.”

Challenge: 1) Do a quick google search for an emotion list, feeling chart, or feeling wheel. See if you can find a word or words to describe how you're feeling right now. 2) Try observing your student and using words beyond sad, mad, happy, ok, frustrated, excited to describe how you think they are feeling.

 

Coping Skills Part 1

This 3-minute video for students and families features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about coping skills (part 1). 

  • Coping skills are anything we do to help us with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. 

  • Think about coping skills like a buffet, you should try lots of them and you can use different kinds based on the situation.  

  • Distraction is absorbing your mind in something else, examples include conversation, tv, reading, arts and crafts, video games, listen to music, organize, clean, do a project

  • Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, examples include noticing sights, sounds, smells around you, scanning your body and noticing how it feels, deep breathing

  • Catharsis is letting out how we feel physically, examples include run, cry, laugh, yell/scream, cold shower, popping bubble wrap, dance, journal, playing sports

Challenge: Use distraction, mindfulness, or catharsis as a coping skill this week, extra points if you try something you have never done before! Try to “sample” something new from the coping skill buffet.

 

Coping Skills Part 2
This 3-minute video for students and caregivers features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about coping skills (part 2). 

  • Coping skills are anything we do to help us with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. 

  • Self-Compassion is showing yourself the same care you would show a friend that is going through a hard time, examples would be massage your hands, taking a hot shower or bath, treat yourself to something nice, take a break, cook your favorite food, positive affirmations, self-care

  • Thought Challenging is identifying and pushing back on negative thought patterns, examples would be write down your negative thoughts and then examine the evidence for or against them, talk out your negative thoughts with a friend, replace negative thoughts with positive or neutral thoughts

  • Accessing your higher self is connecting with a perspective greater than your own and shifting your focus outward, examples would be volunteering, meditating, praying, gratitude, random acts of kinds, doing something nice for someone else

Challenge: Use self compassion, thought challenging, and accessing your higher self as a coping skill this week, extra points if you try something you have never done before! Push yourself not to be reliant on just one type of coping skill.

 

10 Second Hugs

This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about 10 second hugs.

  • There is a real value in physical connection, like hugs. 

  • Research shows that a 10 second hug can increase feel-good hormones like oxytocin, which causes stress to drop and increase in positive mood. 

  • When times feel hard, try doing a 10 second or longer hug. It strengthens the connection between you and the other person.

Challenge: Try to do at least 3 hugs this week that last 10 seconds or longer, it will give your body and your relationship a boost!

 

Letting go of Thoughts

This 2-minute video for students and parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about letting go of thoughts.

  • Thoughts are what our mind says to us, they affect how we feel and act.

  • Sometimes we can challenge or reframe thoughts, other times we get stuck in our negative thought patterns. 

  • We can’t prevent negative thoughts from popping up but we can change our relationship to our thoughts by how much we pay attention to them.

  • We can learn to observe our thoughts and decrease their emotional impact by diverting our focus. 

Challenge: Try googling “Leaves on a Stream meditation” to be guided through a short visualization on letting go of your thoughts, there are many great videos out there for this with young children and also adults!

 

Relaxation Techniques for Children

This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about quick and easy relaxation techniques for children. 

  • When children are stressed or upset, they can feel it in their bodies. By changing the way our bodies feel, we can also change how we feel emotionally. We can do this through breathing and movement. 

  • Belly breathing: have your child lay on the ground and put a stuffed animal on their stomach, have them take deep breaths to make the animal go up and down

  • Hot chocolate breathing: pretend to hold a cup of hot chocolate, breath in to smell it and breath out to cool it off

  • Making lemonade: pretend to hold a lemon in each hand, squeeze as hard as you can to get the juice out and then drop the lemon

  • Spaghetti noodle: pretend to be an uncooked spaghetti noodle straight up and down, then a cooked spaghetti noodle relaxing your body

Challenge: Try teaching one of these relaxation techniques to your child when they are in a calm state, then help them to do it at a time this week when they get upset.

 

Savoring Positive Experiences

This 2-minute video for parents features Mental Health Therapist Stephanie Dann talking about savoring positive experiences. 

  • Often people will say it is easier for them to remember or focus on the negative rather than the positive experiences in life. 

  • There is a reason for this! Negative experiences are stored differently in the brain, they are considered implicit memories and they are more felt in the body when remembering. 

  • Positive experiences are stored as standard memories, they don’t carry as much “weight” in our memory system. They aren’t recalled as often or as vividly. 

Challenge: Try deliberately remembering the positive experiences you have during the day, big or small, and recall how it felt. This will help to make the memories more salient and you can see an increased positive mood!

 

 

 
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