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In this issue: Reduce the stress of back to school
Responding to your child's anxiety
Coping with loneliness

Back to School
Laptops, Snacks, and a Pandemic...
Oh My!

FALL 2020

Summer is over and school is back in session during a pandemic. The options and considerations have caused an understandable increase of stress for students, parents, and teachers. 
Here are a few suggestions to help reduce some of the stress at home:
  • Utilize Resources
You are one of the greatest resources for your child and one another during this pandemic. Humans learn through observation. So, parents and teachers demonstrating healthy behaviors to a child help fill a knowledge gap.  Adults that model appropriate self-care like taking breaks, and COVID-19 safety measures such as washing hands and wearing a mask, help children create healthy habits.
Parents and teachers can be a resource to one another, creating an extended support system. Remember to seek and share suggestions for self-care and virtual learning. 
  • Make a Schedule  
Routine is key.  Creating a schedule will help keep a child on track and help you know how your child is doing. A routine helps you identify opportunities for fun breaks and motivating incentives for your child, like a reward for completing a project.  Be sure to incorporate check-ins with your child.  These will help avoid procrastination and encourage your children to advocate for themselves during a challenging lesson.  Also be flexible within your routine so you can make adjustments for unexpected problems or personal shifts in your day.
  • Be Open and Positive
Focus on what you can control. Avoid blaming or dwelling on the negative. Use your energy to maintain open communication and connect with a support system.  Utilize all the resources you can to do what best suits your family's needs. Consider that as you are doing your best, so are others around you, and engage with small doses of kindness and grace.  Emphasize to your child that they are not alone and work together to address obstacles.

By Randi Bradfield, LPC

What can I do when my child lacks motivation for school?

Try a reward system as motivation to complete work or to help with behavior.  A reward system can be set up for your child to earn a reward daily or weekly.  Your child should be able to earn a reward based on behavior, amount of work completed, or a specific goal (You passed your math test!). 
Your child should have clear expectations on how to earn their reward. Avoid rewarding with food as this may not be an option when your child returns to school. 

When motivation is low, avoid getting into a power struggle with your child over their schoolwork. If your child is refusing to complete work, remove yourself and give them time to calm down before getting back to work.


What can I do when my child seems stressed or anxious?

It is normal for children to experience stress or anxiety when their typical routines are disrupted. Here are tips to help your child and you calm down:
  • Do not say, “calm down" or "what’s wrong with you?” 
  • Instead say,  “tell me what you are feeling" or "what’s going on" or "how can I help you" or "what do you need right now?”
  • Create a safe space in a bedroom or playroom that includes an item to touch or hold (soft blanket, a favorite stuffed animal or a stress ball) and activities like reading, drawing or watching a funny video. Take a few minutes to relax in the safe space as needed.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Count backwards from 100.
  • Check in with your child about how they are feeling as their anxiety goes down.

Quarantine Wilderness 101

When my colleague requested that I write an article on loneliness and isolation during the pandemic, I thought to myself…perfect!  I have got this number covered.  As a counselor, my figurative tool box is jam-packed with cognitive and behavioral tools to help remedy the situation – e.g. get plenty of sunlight, sleep, exercise, drink lots of water, talk to a non-judgmental friend (easier said than done), have a daily routine, journal, apply an abundance of grace to ‘self’ and others, practice mindfulness & meditation, clean the closets, discover what is actually under the bed…yikes!, cook nutritious meals, disengage from social media from time to time, use aromatherapy to sooth the soul, take up a new hobby, celebrate the sacred ordinary day, express gratitude, listen to good music, dance in the living room, dance in the kitchen, just dance darn it…and, on and on it went.  All good ideas to implement from a mental health perspective…and, if you are not engaging in them…then, I would encourage you to do so.  

But, as a single woman who lives alone, a believer in Christ, and actually as a licensed professional counselor who daily deals in the arena of trauma…still…I, too, have felt the sting…the pain…of being…alone.  

Over the years, I have learned to practice ‘self-care’ – coffee with friends, frequent massages, etc.  However, now due to the world-wide pandemic, many social activities have gone by the wayside.  Now, I no longer feel the touch of another human being and cannot readily bounce ideas off of others.  Not failing to mention that the therapeutic work environment is not the space where I can get my own needs met.  So, now, what do I do?

What I have discovered is that the answer comes out of a more important question.  Rather…  “God, what would You like for me to do with this time that has been carved out?”  Albeit, not just for me, but for the entire world.  

So, have you personally asked Him, "What is it that you are to be about doing today…this week…this month…this year?"  Do you have a talent to share…a story to tell? Is there something that He has asked of you to do, but you have never managed to chisel out enough time due to other seemingly more important matters and time restraints…procrastination…and/or just plain did not want to do as He requested for whatever reason?  

NOW is the time.  At the risk of sounding like a Nike commercial, ‘Just Do It!”  Reap the eternal reward and the personal satisfaction of completing something that God specifically made space for you to accomplish.  Who knows where it could lead? The time is going to pass anyway, no matter what.  Let’s do something great with it!

Peace be with you & please drop me a line or two to let me hear all about what He asked of you @

By Margaret McCrummen, LPC   
September Mental Health Tip:
Get Creative!
Try a new recipe. Paint, color or draw.  Write a poem or short story.  Build or make something. Creative expression and a sense of well-being are linked!

Check out 100's of free printable coloring pages here.

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