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Happy and healthy at home

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by Mitch Lyons

Here are some plain-speaking social-emotional learning skills to think about and employ in your home.  I hope they speak to you.

A smiling face

Does your face light up when your kid walks in a room? Does your expression say, I’m so glad you are here?

When they come down from breakfast, either cranky, miserable or tired, do you greet them with a smile?  When you do, it creates a safe space for them, where they know they are unconditionally loved.

Mr. Rogers offered children every day when he signed off his show with, “You’ve made this day a special day, by just you’re being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.”

As psychologist, Dr. Phyllis Fagell says, “Your kids have a Ph.D. in you. They are watching everything you do.” You children are watching you when you talk to them, when you are waiting in a line, when you react to the news, when you talk on the phone or even watch TV. 

It takes self-awareness to think about modeling behaviors and a lot of practice to change or improve upon habits we’ve fallen into, but today is an opportunity to begin again.

The words above are largely taken from the articles below.

Resources: 

https://info.montroseschool.org/blog/does-your-face-light-up-five-words-that-changed-my-teaching-and-parenting

https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/54064/how-parents-can-help-middle-schoolers-build-confidence-and-character

An optimistic and hopeful outlook

Being positive is a skill.  It has to be practiced and honed like any skill.  Ask yourself several times a day, “How am I feeling?” to reset yourself if you’ve slipped into a negative mood.  It’s easy to feel down in the dumps considering the reality of the situation, but showing hopefulness will reassure your children (and yourself).

The article below employs and “Even If” strategy.

  • For elementary school kids, “Even if” I can’t have a birthday party, I can see my relatives across the country on a zoom conference. 
  • For middle school children, “Even if” I can’t go out to a restaurant, I can try a new recipe and try out my culinary skills,
  • For high school children, “Even if” my life is completely changed, if I’m a girl I can mentor younger girls at https://girlsconnecting.com/ or I can help get groceries for those too old to get out themselves at https://www.projectdriveway.org/
  • Or if you’re a parent, “Even if” I am so busy parenting, I can reach out to one more person to join www.SEL4Newton.org so these SEL skills become commonplace.

Resource:

https://apertureed.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Promoting-SEL-at-Home-OT.pdf

The strengths of your child

So often we focus on what needs improving in our children that we forget to mention to them what’s so right about them.  When we do, we give them confidence.  When we start conversations with some statement about what they’ve done well, they will be more willing to listen to constructive criticism. 

When they are passionate about something, latch on to it as if it was the best thing that ever happened to them.  Children are on their own road, and while we can help by setting guardrails on that path, when we spot their intense interest in something, find ways to support it. 

In these times when we are all together, it’s a good time to sit down and list your child’s strengths.  As the article points out below, these strengths can be personal, social, language, literacy, math, logic, music, sports or machinery. 

Commenting about these strengths regularly will help their self-confidence, their sense of hopefulness and their knowledge that they are fully appreciated in their own homes.

Resource:

Read more: Happy and healthy at home | Village 14https://village14.com/2020/05/06/happy-and-healthy-at-home/#ixzz6MK8d1O2s
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