RVES School Counselor Corner

December 2019

Supporting Your Child's Mental Health During the Holidays

The holidays are a special time of year for children and adults alike. However, the school break, holiday gatherings, and presents can also bring stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Here are seven tips to support your child’s mental health during this holiday season.

1. Prevent stress: The best way to prevent stress in your children is to manage your own stress. If you are stress free (or at least managing stress well) you will set a base of calm. You are setting the example for your children! For youth, a lot of the stress that comes this time of year is from uncertainty. Be sure to be open about what their holiday break schedule will look like, including what they are expected to do and what activities are planned.

2. Give your child the tools to work through stress/anxiety: No matter how much you plan and attempt to reduce stress, there are still times where it can overcome your child. Some tools to use when your child is feeling stress include focusing on calming breath or meditation, journaling, getting fresh air outdoors, taking a warm shower or bath. Talk with your child about why they are feeling stress and help them to find ways to work through it successfully.

3. Keep routine: Predictability is key! Try to keep sleep and eat schedules close to the schedules your children keep while in school. While an exception is expected for special occasions (like New Year’s Eve), it is best to keep bed and wake-up times within an hour of the usual during school time. Eat three healthy meals a day and be sure to keep active!

4. Prepare for family and friend time: For children, a room full of adults with prodding questions can be overwhelming and anxiety inducing. Prepare your child for the event to come by giving them an idea of who will be at the gathering and what the event will look like. Remember that they are kids! Some traditions depend on kids being on their best behavior and with lengthy services, parties with strangers, and elaborate meals the demand can be high. Be sure to allow plenty of time for rest and recovery.

5. Rest: Be sure your children get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Also plan for relaxing activities that allow for recharging such as a movie night or family yoga class.

6. Have fun! It is so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and miss out on fun activities that can be had together. Take time to do something that you all want to do and don’t feel like you have to do. Laugh and be silly!

7. Make a New Year’s resolution: Talk with your children about their wishes and goals for the coming year. Encourage a resolution that supports mental health. Some examples include; start a daily gratitude journal, weekly meditation or yoga, get 8-10 hours of sleep each night, make time for yourself!

Screen Time

We are a little more than a week away from when your children start their holiday break from school. For many, this two-week vacation means a greater amount of time your kids will sit in front of a screen, whether that’s a TV, a tablet, or the computer. Support the mental and physical health of your child by making steps to decrease the amount of screen time they participate in each day. Here are some tips to get started!

  • Be a good role model! Limit screen time when your children are present. Be aware of using your phone/computer/tablet when your child is speaking to you. Put your phone away and make eye contact. This reaffirms that they are more important than anything that is going on the screen. Show your child that there is life outside the screens!
  • Have clear limits and rules! Having an established screen free time is important. Set the rule that dinner is screen free. No television, no phones at the table, no responding to texts or calls. Stick to these rules! Consistency is important!
  • Bedrooms are screen-free zones. Sleep is essential for the mental and physical health of your child. Screen use in the bedroom has been proven to cause issues going to sleep and staying asleep. Require all family members plug in their phone and tablet in a common area away from their bedroom. This will decrease temptation to use!
  • Use media with your child. Show your child how to use technology responsibly. Read a story online together and then discuss it. Show your children how to use affirming applications and learn how to spot the apps that are not so positive.

Volunteers are Still Needed for our Fourth Grade Kindness Retreat

As of right now, we have approximately 10 volunteers, which means we still have a ways to go!

This high-energy, interactive retreat is scheduled on Friday, January 24th, 2020 for all Riverview Fourth Grade students and will be held at the Lord of Life Lutheran Church. Please know, the Kindness Retreat is in no way affiliated with the church. The location just has a large enough venue to host the off-site retreat.

In order for this event to be successful, we are asking for your help!!

There are approximately 130 students that will be attending this event, and we will need 1 volunteer for every 6 students (22 volunteers total). As a volunteer, you will be a small group leader. Small group leaders establish the energy and tone of the retreat and have a major influence on its success. Students will meet in pre-assigned small groups for discussion three times during the retreat. Each discussion is facilitated by a small-group leader and allows students to talk about the messages of the day.

If you are available and interested in this new opportunity, the following will be asked of you:

  • Be onsite at the Church at 8:15 AM. The Retreat starts at 9:00 AM is to finish at 2:00 PM.
  • Lead small groups. This is likely the biggest responsibility for the day. Communicate, keep conversations going and try to help students listen and share respectfully.
  • Help control the "crowd". During the large-group activities and talks, we ask the volunteers to spread out and sit with the students
  • Provide your own bag lunch
  • Participate, have fun and encourage students to do the same
  • Comfortable clothing is recommended.

For more information on Youth Frontiers and to watch a video about the Kindness Retreat visit www.youthfrontiers.org/kindness-retreat

Game Time With The School Counselors

Congratulations to our winners from last month! Because their parents read our newsletter and correctly answered our trivia question, these kiddos were randomly picked for game time with the school counselors! Students joined Mrs. Alladin and Mrs. Felipe for games, popcorn, and music! Answer this month’s question and your student will have a chance to win game time next month!

Click Here to Access the Google Form

By filling out this quick form, your child(ren) can have a chance to win game time with Mrs. Alladin and Mrs. Felipe!!

Please Welcome Our Intern

Hello! My name is Tracee Bishop and I will be interning at Riverview beginning in January 2020 under Mrs. Alladin, Mrs. Felipe, and Miss McCarthy. I am so excited to begin my work here and look forward to working with the children. After 20 years in the IT field, I decided to pursue my true passion of helping and returned to college. I will be graduating in May of 2020. When I don’t have my nose in a textbook, I enjoy reading, traveling to Colorado Springs to visit my adult son, watching movies, and cuddling with my mini schnauzer Danny. I live in Osceola, WI with my husband and our fur baby. I also tried gardening last summer and learned I really do not have any green in my thumbs. I did get some cucumbers and one little beet. I would welcome any tips for those of you who are avid gardeners. If you see me around the school, please stop and say hi, I would love to meet as many of you as possible. Looking forward to a wonderful 2020!

Your School Counselors

Big picture

Happy Holidays From Your Riverview School Counselors!!