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The new school year is here!

Now that school is officially underway- how are you managing that back to school anxiety? This is always tricky and effects more kids than we think.

In our house, we try to make back to school exciting for each child. We plan a “special day” to take them shopping for their new school items. We also have special visitors show up on the first day of school to distract them from any first day fears that may be present.

Here are some ideas to help your child deal with the stress of a new school year:

  1. Planning play dates or fun after school activities are a great way to encourage positive feelings around the new school year and exciting new opportunities.
  2. As parent’s, we want to make sure we are putting a positive spin on every new experience, especially back to school. However, make sure you remember to listen to your child and if they are consistently struggling with a classmate, teacher, or class and help them figure out possible solutions. It is important to ask questions that highlight when the right time would be for you to step in. Here are 60 Questions to ask your children after schoolthat will make sure you are aware of any red flags that your child may need help with.
  3. What is your goodbye ritual? Do your children have a favorite song they like to listen to in the car? Integrate some special time on the way to school, or while you are waiting for the bus to create a positive vibe before they head out for the day.
  4. Homework how-to’s! As easy as it is for a parent to get the kids home and immediately have them sit at the table to do their homework,it is not always the most beneficial for each child. Some children love to get home and get their homework done immediately! Other children need that time away to reset and come back after clearing their mind or releasing some energy from the day. This can also vary day to day depending on other factors. Make sure to assess what works best for them and yourself, as they may need help.
  5. Make sure you are helping them plan their workloads so they are not overwhelmed. Help your children break up each item and take a break between one subject to the next.
  6. Encourage your child to get up and come back to an assignment if they are struggling.
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Back to School Tips and Tricks for Parents

As we enter into August, we try our hardest to hold on to every last bit of summer and push that lingering anxiety about the new school year aside.

For many children and parents, a new year often opens doors to new fears, worries and anxiety.

Too often parents and children do not think of the little things that can help make the first few weeks of school run as smooth as possible. Below are a few tricks to help make this transition a little bit easier:

  1. Establish an earlier bed time at least 3 days prior to the first day of school.  Be consistent with their new bed time routine and communicate with them the importance of getting enough sleep. If you are struggling with their new routine- a sticker chart or some sort of reward system is always a good idea. Many teachers will use this in the classroom as well! In our house we pretend that the fire alarm is the window to the North Pole, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and any other exciting visitor that the kids want to make sure sees good behavior!

 

  1. Make sure, as the parent, you are establishing healthy morning behaviors yourself. Try to put the electronics away yourself and spend that time in the morning “Committed to your kids.” We all know that after school, time is filled with activities, homework and bedtime routine prep-so that additional hour in the morning if crucial time spent with your little ones.

 

  1. For your little one that may struggle with routines, a few options are: creating a chart of things to do in the morning. The visual can make it easier for kids to be prepared for the “what’s next” of a busy morning. Setting a timer can also help set expectations for how long it should take to perform a specific task in the morning.

 

  1. Spend a Morning Minute: Taking even 5 minutes to connect with your child and give them one on one attention can directly impact how they start their day. Brainstorming fun ways to spend the weekend or even the evening together can also help jump start any Monday morning blues.

 

  1. Make a Plan! As a parent myself-I spend LOTS of time planning out their activities and making color coordinated calendars. But one thing I bypass is how their new schedule make impact my current schedule.  I have found myself many mornings overly stressed because I tried to cram my routine into their new routine and it simply does not work. Make sure that you are building in your time to get ready in the morning so when your children wake up you are ready to help prepare them for their day.

 

I have sent my child to school in the wrong uniform, forgot to dress them up for 100 days of school celebration and forgot to give them lunch. It happens to us all!

Create a calendar for yourself that is visible to everyone in the family. Make sure everyone’s events and transportation needs are listed. By checking it daily you will be able to maintain some control over the details of the school year!

But hey-we are not perfect; that is why there is picture retake day.

We hope these helpful tips will allow you and your little ones, the ability to ease into the school year with confidence! Stay tuned to part two of this blog; that tackles more techniques around bullying and handling anxieties of a new year.

 

How to Make Bad News Feel Better

Bad news can come in a variety of forms, from job loss, a relationship breakup, a surprising diagnosis, or even to the death of a loved one. Receiving bad news can affect your body and life in a multitude of ways, even triggering your fight or flight response. According to Medical News Today, “everyone responds to tension and trauma differently, but know that steps can be taken to tackle the mountain ahead, deal with the bad news, adopt coping mechanisms, and make the situation less traumatic.”1

Medical News Today put together 5 tips on how to cope with bad news:

  1. Accept your negative emotion

Research conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that attempting to avoid negative emotions can actually cause more stress than confronting your emotions head-on. The natural inclination to push negative emotions aside may actually be doing more harm than good for you in the long run.

  1. Repeat exposure to the news

Similar to point number one, accepting or repeatedly exposing yourself to the bad news has been found to be more helpful than trying to avoid confronting the bad event or news. Tel Aviv University in Israel found that exposing yourself to the negative event may help decrease the physical side effects of bad news, including tension in the shoulders and chest, distracted thinking, chronic stress, and digestive issues.

  1. Reframe your thoughts

Now that you have accepted your emotions and exposed yourself to the negative event, it is time to get to thinking. Florin Dolcos, a member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group at the University of IL, explained that “dwelling on how hurt, sad, or embarrassed you felt during an adverse event can result in you feeling worse.”1Focusing on other memories surrounding the negative event can help you move on from it and gain perspective.

  1. Learn to overcome adversity

Almost everyone deals with setbacks at some point in their life. It is important to continue moving forward. Acquiring resilience and dealing with adversity can be learned behaviors; classes are available to those looking to go down a new path and numerous resources are available to assist in these difficulties mentally. Finding a local therapist near you is easy when visiting Psychology Todayand selecting your City/County and any insurance coverage you may have.

  1. Be kind to yourself

When faced with bad news, one of the most important things to focus on is your own physical and mental health. Consider trying mindfulness meditation or booking a soothing spa or massage appointment for yourself.

 

Do not be afraid to reach out to friends and family as well when these events arise. If you are in a crisis and in danger of hurting yourself, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

 

Sources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321230.php

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/minnesota?gclid=Cj0KCQjwqM3VBRCwARIsAKcekb24EyihRUo_WQBPA7vJvkEt_rz8F4kt9tAbmgMSgbD68pxP7UzTgLoaAur3EALw_wcB

Child Safety Tips

June is a fun and busy time of year for children. School is out and summer activities are starting up. Neighborhoods are full of children’s laughter, scooters and bikes zooming down sidewalks, and chalk art on display for all to see. With children spending this much time outside, it is important to remind them of the very real dangers out in the world. June is Safety Awareness Month, and the Crisis Nursery has some tips for you to share with your children about being safe, at every age.

Toddler Safety Tips

  • Does your toddler know your name?
  • Teach them to stay within site when playing
  • Proper names for body parts and how private parts are different than the rest of the body
  • When it comes to his/her body, no means no
  • Uh-oh feeling: always tell a caregiver when you are feeling scared or confused

Preschool Safety Tips

  • How to use 911: your child should know their address and phone number
  • Say “No!” to uncomfortable of confusing touch
  • Yell “Call 911! I need a grown up!” when in trouble
  • Remember, adults don’t ask kids for help, always stay where other people can see you

Elementary Safety Tips

  • Have a family password when someone other than Mom or Dad will be sent to pick up the child
  • Create a list of trusted adults and phone numbers to call in case of an emergency
  • Buddy system when playing
  • Online safety
  • It’s not okay to keep secrets from parents
  • Age-appropriate information about sex

Middle School Safety Tips

  • How well do you know your child’s friends?
  • Don’t put personal information online
  • Difference between mentor vs relationship
  • Cell phone and texting guidelines: think before you send
  • Rules and responsibilities when at home alone
  • Respect is a basic right in all relationships

As parents, it is always a scary thing to think of that heart stopping moment when you don’t see your child in a public place or you see an individual looming near your home. These types of situations can happen anywhere and at any time of the year. It is important to speak to children about their safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

Healthy Kids, Happy Parents!

By Alivia Boddie, WCCA Community Engagement Specialist & Food Security Programs Coordinator

As a mom of a 2 year old, I understand the challenges of maintaining a healthy eating habit all the time, but I know the importance of it as well! Even though family schedules can be hectic, and it is MUCH easier to pick something up from a fast food drive thru- maintaining a healthy eating style will be beneficial to both you and your kids.

Here are 3 helpful tips for eating healthy with a child:

  • Have regular family meals: This one can be difficult to maintain, but it’s crucial to your family’s well-being. When parents and children create a ritual of eating meals together, relationships improve, likelihood of eating healthy foods increases, unexpected/troublesome behaviors are less likely and everyone is happier once they get a chance to catch up on each other’s day to day lives. If you are short on time, make an easy meal, but try to maintain consuming food at the dinner table.

 

  • Stock Up on Healthy Foods: Having a variety of healthy foods on hand will give your child the option to choose what they want to snack on, but limit their options. Things like low-fat yogurt, grab and go fruits (apples, oranges, and pears), peanut butter and celery, whole grain crackers and cheese are all good go-to options for a snack. By working healthy foods into daily routines, children are less likely to have an adverse reaction to eating fruits and veggies, you may even find that they are choosing these types of foods over others once they get accustomed to eating them regularly!

 

  • Eliminate the Battles over Food and Eating: If you haven’t noticed, I am all about creating a routine or maintaining specific habits in order to help integrate healthy foods. When children have a predictable expectation of when they are going to eat, they will be less likely to overeat, eat unhealthy or beg for sugary foods throughout the day.
  1. Eliminate the clean the plate rule. Forcing overeating can create negative stigmas associated with certain foods and also will lead to obesity.
  2. Food shouldn’t be used as a reward or punishment. I am guilty of this, but avoiding using dessert as a prize for eating their plate of food is a no-no.
  3. Don’t use food as a form of affection. That means that if you want to show love, praise, gratitude or any other positive affection, make sure that you are doing so with hugs and kisses instead of cookies and candy.

Creating healthy habits for your kids will ultimately create healthy adults, and that leads to healthy and happy parents. Now as a parent, sometimes it is not always feasible to find healthy food when you are on a strict budget. Here are some great cost-effective resources to save Money and still be able to provide healthy foods for your children

  1. Fare For All: Fare For All is a great way to save money on quality, nutritious food. The program buys fresh fruits, vegetables, and frozen meat in bulk to save you up to 40% off grocery store prices. They select the best food from their shipments, pre-packaging it to give you the greatest deals. Fare For All is community supported and open to everyone. The more people who participate, the better. For more information please check out this link:

https://fareforall.org/directory/listing/buffalo-zion-lutheran-church

  1. FYCC runs a power of produce program where kids will receive a special POP club tote bag and each week they attend the Farmers market, they will receive a $2 token that they can spend at select vendors throughout the market. Kids are encouraged to make their own food choices from the wide array of fresh, vendor-grown produce including fruits, vegetables, or food-bearing plants.

The POP program runs every Thursday from July 6 through August 31, and there is no cost to participate. Parent/guardian signature is required at registration.

  1. For the local food shelves:

https://www.co.wright.mn.us/documentcenter/view/7126 or check out the WCCA website at http://www.wccaweb.com/Program/Food_Shelf

 

Responding to Your Child’s Anger

April is Child Abuse Prevention month, all humans experience anger, and your child is no different. How we deal with these overstimulated moments and how we react can make all the difference. A child’s brain often cannot process their emotions, especially during a stressful time. That can result in an emotional or behavioral outburst. Parents typically resort to one of two reactions when their child is acting out. A parent might “bring down the hammer” as Kim Abraham, LMSW and Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, puts it, trying to stop the anger/outburst through intimidation and punishment. Or, a parent may do everything in their power to change the situation and get rid of the child’s adverse behavior.

Neither method is wrong, but they often don’t diffuse the situation, nor do they create a positive learning experience for your child.

Changing how you speak to your child during these situations can help them develop the tools to properly deal with anger and other emotions.

Remember these tips the next time your child has an emotional outburst: (From empoweringparents.com)

  1. Don’t try to control your child’s emotions. You can’t expect someone to control their emotions. You can only ask that they control their behavior. It’s okay for a child to be angry, as long as that anger is expressed appropriately.
  2. Control your own emotions. If you start to feel your emotions getting away from you, take a breath and a mental step back. It may help to picture your child as a neighbor’s kid to provide some emotional distance.
  3. Make sure your responses don’t escalate the situation. Just because you choose not to argue with your child doesn’t mean that you’re giving in. If your child needs space to cool down, give it to them. The time to discipline your child is not in the middle of an emotional or behavioral tornado. Address these things later, when things have settled down.
  4. Help your child recognize when anger is building. Physical signs of anger, such as stomach clenching, tension, feeling flushed, or jaw clenching, are all things your child can recognize. If they begin to notice these things happening, they can dial down and hopefully begin to control their anger.
  5. Brainstorm with your child. Many kids experience or express true remorse after having an emotional meltdown. If your child is open to talking and willing to learn some anger management skills, you can help them work backwards to understand the incident. Ask questions like, “What happened right before you got angry?” “What was said?” “What other things were you feeling, i.e. embarrassed, frustrated, anxiety?” Learning to recognize underlying emotions is a powerful tood your child can use throughout life. Many kids may not be willing to go over the issue. If they resist, drop it, and see if you can make progress another time.
  6. Remember that emotion is different from behavior. The problem isn’t the anger; it’s the behavior that follows. You can validate your child’s emotions while addressing the behavior that is a concern: “I understand you were angry when I said you couldn’t go to your friend’s house. Sometimes there will be rules or limits that may frustrate you, but breaking things won’t change that rule and will only end in a consequence for that behavior.” Then help your child identify more positive ways to express their emotions.

Source Articles

 

Responding to Anger in Children
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201402/reponding-anger-in-children

How to Respond to your Child or Teen’s Anger
http://www.empoweringparents.com/child-rage-how-to-respond-to-your-child-or-teens-anger.php

10 Rules of Dealing with an Angry Child
http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-10-rules-of-dealing-with-an-angry-child.php

Helping your Child Learn to Manage Anger
http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/raise-great-kids/emotionally-intelligent-child/angry-child

 

Tips on Positive Parenting

The Crisis Nursery serving Wright County works to prevent abuse and neglect through offering families support services to help nurture health and safety for their children. In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’d like to offer 10 tips for positive parenting that can help you and your family build strong and healthy relationships. Continue reading “Tips on Positive Parenting”

Nurturing Family, Community, and Growth

With the warm weather finally rolling in, you and your family are probably itching to get outside and get into the community. Channel your fresh enthusiasm into Volunteer Appreciation Month this April! Gather your family and jump into volunteering to build your child’s appreciation of other’s efforts and make some great family memories while giving back. Continue reading “Nurturing Family, Community, and Growth”

Great Ways to Donate your Time in 2016

It’s that time to start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions, and one surefire way to feel better about yourself is through giving back! As a volunteer-driven organization, the Crisis Nursery serving Wright County has tons of opportunities for individuals and groups looking to help the community. Continue reading “Great Ways to Donate your Time in 2016”

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