Each month, families from the Maryland and Pennsylvania advisory councils provide tips and strategies on questions submitted by families across the two states. Their responses to this month’s questions are below.
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What are good ways (other than just telling them) to get children to center kindness and be an “upstander” in their peer group?
We must be the example our children are looking for–even when we do not realize they are looking. Show others around you kindness during the chaos. Do not gossip about others. Say hello and thank you to all those you encounter. Our kids see how we respond and often imitate our responses with their friends. Dedicate time for your children by reading a book for the 100th time or listening to the crazy stories of their day at school. Give your children random hugs. Make opportunities for your children to see how useful they are to those around them.
We often focus on getting our children through crises and miss [addressing] the emotional waves that follow traumatic events. We must help our children separate the thoughts of who they are from the situation. That includes helping children understand that frustration can help us work harder to accomplish something challenging. Focus your children’s attention on the fact that they made it through — divert them from focusing on the frustration. Allow them time to overcome the frustration and help them separate that frustration from their core inner self.
The current pandemic has impacted our children far beyond our understanding — but kids are resilient and will overcome this. Be an example for your children and give them grace through times of struggle.They will see how you treat them and those around you and become the upstander in their peer group, giving grace to their fellow students and adults around them.
Tammy Fraley is a parent in Allegany County, MD, of four boys (two graduated from public schools, and two are currently in public schools). She serves as a local elected school board member and family engagement member at her son’s schools.
I would first look to school health care professionals, like a school nurse or school psychologist, to offer any available resources for your child. Reach out to the counselor or social worker for any Social Emotional Learning (SEL) activities and resources. I would also seek out local community organizations that may do home visits or other activities for students. Things you can do at home:
*Put together a solid schedule filled with activities so that your child knows what is happening next throughout the day.
*Schedule family time. Make sure you do activities with your child, even if it is time for a conversation, gardening, taking a walk, or having a snack together.
*Connect with online learning or home school groups to provide activities for your child. The best thing you can do is to be creative and be positive.
*Ask for help and resources from the school.
Licia Lentz, EdD., is an Education Administrator and parent of a 3rd-grade student in Allegheny County, PA.
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