Grow and Thrive

Resources and Ideas From Your School Counselor

April 23, 2020

Dear Parents,

It's hard to believe another week is behind us! I hope you take a minute to recognize your accomplishments of the past week - helping your students, perhaps going to work or working at home, and in general just keeping things together for your family.


I hope the suggestions and links in this weeks newsletter are helpful to you. Just a reminder that the last link in this newsletter will take you to our resource page. This is where you can find information about food resources, county medical and dental clinics, and utility information, including how to access free internet. If you don't find what you need on that page, please email me, or leave a voicemail at my school phone number. I'm more than happy to help!


Sending warm thoughts to you all,


Christine Fitch, M.Ed.

Licensed Professional School Counselor

Kelly Creek - 503-663-7483

Hollydale - 503-661-6226

fitch@gresham.k12.or.us

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Helping Kids Get Motivated

A lot has changed in the world over the last month. There's a completely new reality and routine to get used to. As we settle into online and home-based learning, here are some tips that may help to make that process go more smoothly.


1. Establish a regular routine and schedule at home. Structure and predictability are reassuring, and will help your child know what is expected of them. Work with your child to put together a daily schedule. It should include a reasonable wake-up time, meal and snack times, and what time they will go to bed in the evening. Break school-work into chunks during the day, with breaks in between. Let your kids have some say in the schedule, but once established, try to stick to it.

2. Establish a designated school-work area and make sure all needed supplies are in that location. Establish rules that siblings are not to bother each other when they are completing schoolwork. Make sure the area is as quiet and free of distractions if possible. While parents may need to help children get started with online learning each day at first, the hope is that over time most students, except for very young ones, will be able to independently do most of their work each day.

3. Offer incentives for a while. Your child might not feel motivated to do school work. They aren't used to doing this in their home environment, so it's an adjustment. Until they get into a new habit, you could offer a fun incentive when your child follows their routine and completes their school work. For example, the incentive could be a fun movie, game time, allowing them to choose what's for dinner, or a special project - whatever works for you and your child. Once new habits are established, then you can fade the incentive if you'd like.

4. Offer encouragement, and praise your child's efforts, but also be patient if there are days your child doesn't get much done. If they are feeling worried or stressed, acknowledge and talk about those feelings. Then, try to get them back on track with work.

5. Remind kids that they are strong and can adapt to our new normal. Encourage them to see the positives in the situation -- maybe they have time to do or learn something they didn't have time for before. Make future plans. This helps kids feel hopeful and understand that this situation will end at some point.

Hoping To Find A Counselor? Teletherapy Could Be The Answer

A few parents have asked me recently about getting counseling or therapy support for their child. The good news is that many therapists in our area are still practicing, and quite a few are even accepting new clients. However, counseling sessions may look a little different, because nearly all therapists are now working with clients through secure virtual or online programs. When therapy happens this way, it is called teletherapy.


Teletherapists use the same techniques and activities that they would use in face to face sessions happening in their office. Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, teletherapy was becoming more and more common. Clients appreciate having access to therapists who are not always local, as well as the flexibility and convenience it offers, such as evening or weekend appointments from the privacy of your own home. Therapists appreciate that they can reach far more people, and their operating expenses are often lower. Research to date has shown that teletherapy can be just as effective and helpful in most cases. One of the advantages for kids is that they may feel more comfortable interacting online with a therapist at home, rather than in a therapists office. One drawback to teletherapy is that non-verbal cues, which are important when communicating, are difficult to observe during online meetings. This could impact the ability of the therapist and client to develop a strong personal connection. Even so, teletherapy is a great option for many people.


Many Insurance companies cover teletherapy just as they would cover in-person sessions. However, be sure to check with your insurance provider first, just to be sure. At a time when many adults and children are feeling stressed and anxious, teletherapy could be a very helpful solution!

Mind Yeti

Mind Yeti offers mindfulness activities that are colorful and full of fun characters. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and stress, and can help kids feel calm and more focused. Many of their activities are now available for free.
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Resources

Click here to access a detailed list of resources, including food pantries, information about free medical clinics, help with utilities and housing, and more.