Calm in the Storm

When things going on in the world around us are uncertain and out of our control, it is very easy to find ourselves in worry, fear and anxiety. We are human beings with a full range of emotions so that just means we are normal.

I’ve been thinking about this and about what my children and all children need right now and I think what they need is a feeling of peace and safety when things feel unknown and, perhaps, scary.

Brene Brown has said that “who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do, than what we know about parenting.” I feel like this is especially applicable with what is going on in our world and lives right now. As a parent, who you are and how you respond to this challenge will have a greater impact on how your children will do during crisis than what you know about parenting.

What are your actions showing them?

What are your words teaching them?

What do they hear you saying about everything that is going on?

We get to be the calm in the storm for our children.

This is also why it is so important that as parents and caregivers, you are taking care of yourself.

Ask yourself what is it that you need to do for you in order to be the calm, the peace, the voice of reason and hope for your children.

Get plenty of rest.

Eat the healthiest food that you can given the circumstances.

Limit caffeine intake as that can contribute to greater anxiety.

Move your body.

Breathe.

Know what things work for you to bring calm when you are anxious or worried.

And when you are worried or scared or anxious or overwhelmed yourself, reach out and ask for support.

We don’t have to go through this alone.

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.

As human beings, we are wired for connection.

And we are blessed to live in a time that technology allows us so many ways and opportunities to connect even when we are practicing social distancing in our homes.

Know that we are thinking of you and your children during this time and wish you peace and health and happiness amidst the uncertainty.

Rebekah Anderson

Just Breathe

By Rebekah Anderson, School Counselor

One of the quickest and easiest ways to calm a racing mind or a beating heart is through breath. When we calm or slow down our breath, we calm our adrenaline. We can’t be anxious and calm at the same time. I’d like to offer a few breathing techniques that can support adults and children alike when you want to soothe emotions and feel calm.

Box Breathing
1. Close your eyes. Breath in through your nose while counting to 4 slowly. (In, 2, 3, 4)
2. Hold your breath while slowly counting to 4. (Hold, 2, 3, 4)
3. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds. (Out, 2, 3, 4).
4. Repeat Steps 1-3 at least 3 times or until calm.

1-2-3 Clap!
1. Open your arms out really wide.
2. Count 1, 2, 3 and clap your hands one time.
3. Rub your hands together and make some energy.
4. Put your hands on your belly. Take a long breath in, and let it all out.
5. Open your arms out really wide again.
6. Count 1, 2, 3 and clap your hands one time.
7. Rub your hands together, faster this time. Make some energy. Feel the warmth.
8. Put your hands over your heart.
9. Take a long breath in, and let it all the way out.
10. Repeat as needed.
*Younger children especially love this one!

Breathe In-Breath Out
This is one of my favorites. I use this often for myself. It is perfect for when you are feeling an emotion that you would like to release and replace. Let’s say that you are feeling anxious and want to feel calm….
1. Close your eyes.
2. Place your hands on your heart.
3. While breathing in a deep, slow breath, say in your mind (or out loud if you are guiding a child through it): “Breathe in calm.”
4. While breathing out a slow, deep breath, say in your mind (or out loud if you are guiding a child through it): “Breathe out anxiety.”
*You are breathing out whatever you want to release and breathing in the positive emotion, choosing what you want to invite in. Say the words to yourself as you breathe in and out
Other examples:
1. Breathe in Love. Breathe out Fear.
2. Breathe in Peace. Breathe out Worry.

Additional Resources(Can be purchased from Amazon)

“Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More” by Mallika Chopra
*Great for all ages and adults

“Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere” by Kira Willey
*Great for under 5 and lower elementary

My End of the School Year Interview

By Rebekah Anderson, School Counselor

The end of the school year is a great time to look back and reflect.
It’s also fun to look forward and think of all the fun things that we want to do during the summer.
I invite you to take some time to interview your children about this past year and this coming summer.
Be creative and do what works and what will be unique for your family.
Make sure to document the interview and answers.
Here are some questions to get you started.
I encourage you to get your children involved by coming up with even more!

Name
Age
Grade Completed
Who was your teacher?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite song?
What is your favorite animal?
What was your favorite subject in school this year?
What new skills or talents did you develop this year?
What did you practice and get better at this year?
What was the hardest thing about this year?
What was your proudest moment this year?
What was the most challenging thing about being home during COVID?
What did you enjoy the most about being home during COVID?
What will you remember most about this school year?
What are you looking forward to most this summer?
What is your favorite food to eat in the summer?
What is one new thing that you want to try and do or learn this summer?
What is your favorite thing to do outside in the summer?
If you could go anywhere on vacation this summer, where would it be? Why?