With all the uncertainty in the world, our children require as much structure and predictability as possible. They also need positivity and peace. I’ve made the difficult decision to keep my son’s home for at least the first part of the school year and I understand that this can be stressful for them – they won’t be seeing their friends, they won’t be familiar with the new learning environment and format, etc.
In my ongoing training in mindfulness (for adults and children), I thought that I would implement some of these strategies with my boys to start their day on the right foot. This activity should not take more than 10 minutes, the first day being the most difficult as they will be learning different techniques and may need some more support and instruction.
It seems like more and more frequently, we find ourselves bombarded with media coverage about tragedies that occur randomly and unexpected. School shootings. Bus accidents. Innocent children and youth dying. Acts of violence towards strangers. Sometimes, watching the local news can be more terrifying than the movies and television shows we “responsibly” use our parental blocks to shield our children from the horrors of computer animation and gratuitous gore and bloodshed.
It is not surprising, then, that our young ones are becoming increasingly anxious about arbitrary and general and unspecific situations. We may wonder why our sons and daughters are worried about practically everything and we may try to comfort them by telling them that they have nothing to worry about. However, in my work with children and youth, although this interaction is, at best, full of positive intentions to support and help, it is often viewed as minimizing and insincere. It can also send the message that these feelings are not okay or “normal”.
My colleague, Uresha Salgado, and I are excited to announce that we are preparing for groups that we would like to have in the Orangeville area for parents and youth! We are hoping to launch our first groups in January/February 2017 and are looking for topics that are suitable and needed in the Orangeville and surrounding area.
Please take some time to complete our survey at the link below to give us idea of your interests and needs:
The school year has finally begun and you are dying to know how your child’s day went. How was their teacher? Were their peers nice to them? Did they find the work hard? So you ask your child and, after a long pause where you think he or she is thinking about a response, you get, “I don’t know” or “Nothing”. You are left starving for more but you don’t know what else to ask. And now you are just frustrated.
Getting your children to talk about their day can be challenging, especially if you want to know if he or she is experiencing stress oranxiety. On one hand, you don’t want your child focusing only on the negative parts of the day. We don’t want to begin the pattern of mental filtering early, after all. (Note: Mental filtering refers to the tendency to filter out the positive things and focus on the negative things, even when the positive things outweigh the negative). It is essential to encourage balanced thinking by prompting our children to think not only about the negative parts of their day, but the highlights of their day as well. We also don’t want to ask them close-ended questions that require them only to answer with one word (ex. “How was your day?” Good. “Did you learn anything fun?” No.).Continue reading “When you need more than “I don’t know”: The High/Low Game”→
Does your child/youth have difficulties falling asleep at night? Do you find them walking in and out of their room, making several excuses about why they are still awake (“I have to go to the bathroom”, “I am thirsty”, “I forgot to tell you something”)?
Are you a child or youth who has been finding it hard to fall asleep? Do you have a lot of thoughts that seem to race through your mind, just when you are trying to rest? Are you waking up tired because you haven’t had a good night’s sleep?
Sleep problems can be very frustrating and can contribute to several challenges, both physically (ex. Fatigue, muscle tension, physical illness) and emotionally (ex. Difficulty concentrating, anxiety, irritability). As a counsellor and a mother of young ones, I have learned the importance of emphasizing bedtime routines, which include calm activities and relaxation strategies. Bedtime routines are crucial in training your mind to fall asleep after a sequence of activities that are predictable and consistent. Continue reading “The Importance of Bedtime Routines with Children and Youth”→