Feed on

Hello all, and welcome to a new week.  It has been wonderful to see everyone on our daily check in’s via Google Hangouts.  If you have not been able to join us yet, you are still welcome! They happen every morning at 9:00 AM.  You can find the link to the hangout in your students MMAlions.org account Google calendar.  I will also attempt to link it into the Google classroom under my name for ease of access there.

We are Here to Help!

Ms. Sarah and I continue to be available 5 days a week between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM (as well as outside of those hours if requested).  We are here for any questions, comments, or concerns you might have as well as to offer help and assistance to your child.  We recognize that being an educator is NOT the career path you chose and that you are juggling a million things on top of the added duty of teaching your child.  Please know that you are not expected to be a parent and educator as well as a working professional during this time.  Ms. Sarah and I are here to help you.  Please use us! Rely on us! and above all: if it seems to be too much, let. it. go.  Taking care of yourself and your family is of the utmost importance in this time and your physical and mental health, as well as the physical and mental health of your family, take precedence at this time.

“Distance Learning in Times of Disaster” – Letty Rising and Elizabeth Slade

We received an interesting article that  I wanted to share an excerpt from it.  If you would like to give the entire article a read, you can find it here: Elementary-Distance-Learning-in-Times-of-Disaster (1)

“In the stillness that is beginning while we are held in our homes for an extended time be prepared for the feelings you put on hold during the crisis to emerge.Those feelings we are holding are best felt as they arise, rather than coming out towards another person or much further down the road as a delayed response. 

What do the next steps look like for my elementary-aged child? 

Whereas the first part of Distance Learning was about occupying their time to keep them busy as everyone was orienting themselves, this next phase is about creating a predictable schedule based upon current limitations and possibilities. While the first phase was about experimenting with varying rhythm and routines, the second phase can be a celebratory time as you and your child together figure out what works. This adds to a sense of stability and predictability that children will find valuable with so much uncertainty in our world right now. 

What will you want to watch out for? 

There is a lot of conversation lately about caregivers feeling frustrated with child behavior, and looking at the big picture, these children have been experiencing the same kind of collective trauma that the adults are experiencing. However, they don’t always have the tools, experience, or self-awareness to express what they are truly feeling inside, and these uncomfortable feelings can manifest as negative or undesirable behaviors. 

Here are some common behaviors that might be heightened right now due to the huge transition many children have recently experienced: 

  • Withdrawal: Your elementary child might easily retreat into books or electronics to pull away from the challenges of the outside world. While we all have our idealized practices, during a time of survival is not a time to enter into power struggles or force them to talk. Keep the communication lines open on your end, reach out and make a bid for connection, talk about how you are feeling, tell a story about your day. Elementary children love stories and this can be an opening for them to share how they’re feeling. 
  • Fatigue: Children might be much more tired than usual. Between being at home all day, learning how to do school from a distance, and learning new life routines, that is a lot for children to process. Make sure children are getting enough rest. While it’s important to keep the same schedule for consistency, older elementary children may want to sleep in late. Again, we are not living in the same world we were living in even a month ago. Children are taking a lot in, and they may need the extra rest right now. 
  • Anger: It’s natural that your child might get overly upset about small things. A lot of time the anger is misplaced onto something trivial or something/someone that feels safer to be angry with. And with such an abstract enemy such as an invisible virus, it’s hard to know where to channel the anger from the disruption. As the days and weeks, march on and children are not able to see their friends, this anger is bound to build. Offering empathy and compassion while setting limits is key right now, as well keeping it in perspective. The circumstances we are now living in are not ideal for anyone. 
  • Anxiety: Even children who don’t typically display anxious behavior will be prone to it right now. We have just turned the corner into April, and with that, there are bills to pay and rent is due, and elementary children are very much attuned to the hardships and struggles that their parents face. Minimizing a child’s anxious feelings in an attempt to make them feel better often has the opposite effect. Instead, you will want to acknowledge and affirm their feelings, even their feelings that might activate your discomfort. 
  • Resistance: Children who are normally cooperative can become resistant during this time. Even the most innocuous suggestion from you can result in a wall of resistance from your child. Rather than getting into a mental game of tug-o-war, drop the rope. Say something like “I see that you don’t want to attend to the work that we agreed upon. Let’s talk about that.” Another important point to note about resistance is that sometimes children resist because they want you to respond in a way that will activate their pent up feelings. Behind resistance is usually deeper-rooted feelings, and often these feelings have nothing to do with whatever is being resisted. Helping children develop a language of feelings, as well as supporting them in feeling angry or crying when necessary, will allow children to identify the source of their pain and talk about it. 

If some of these feelings or scenarios resonate it may be because on some level we are all feeling withdrawn, tired, angry, anxious and resistant. We are all cycling through a natural response to something dramatic that has happened to us collectively. We are all holding loved ones near and far who are also cycling through these feelings. The difficult part is finding the reserves to offer love in response. Yet the amazing part is to be so connected as we go through this crisis together. 

Through it all we are now holding the shared task of educating our children. We have found a way to continue in the face of disaster. This might be a time for us to ask ourselves the following questions: What will we want to remember about this time? How can we find purpose and meaning in these changes? May we remember to lean in, to share what is true and to continue knowing that this time is shaping our children and that our children are the future.”

I hope in any small way that was helpful.  We are all in this together.

Resources for Additional Learning

I am sent links all the time about cool things to do and learn and amazing programs being offered by people all of the world.  I wanted to let you know that I am adding a tab up top where I am going to put all of these resources.  A kind of one stop shop for anything fun and extra.  Don’t feel overwhelmed by this! Its just a place for me to share some of the incredible wealth of resources I am being gifted with.

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