SAP Monthly Newsletter
The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc
Holiday Season is Here!
This year is unlike any other, thanks to COVID-19. We are hoping that as you explore our newsletter you will find comfort and hope. We will be sharing information pertaining to mental health, resiliency, planning for the future and resources that can be shared with families and your school community.
Holidays during the Pandemic
As we head into the holidays, families everywhere are struggling to make appropriate plans for the pandemic. Here are some tips to make the best of the situation, minimize stress and help everyone in the family feel as good as possible about this unusual holiday season.
1) Don't wait to make plans
2) Discuss safety rules in advance
3) Stay the course and don't change the rules
4) Start new traditions
5) Give kids a voice
6) Let kids express disappointment
Using Gratitude to Cope with Holiday Stress
1) Take regular breathing breaks.
2) Make a list of what you are thankful for this year.
3) Start a gratitude jar
4) Perform random acts of kindness
5) Let go of unrealistic expectations.
Practice Some Mindfulness
1) Find a quiet place and refocus your attention on your breath. Listen to your breath and notice how your body feels during this time. Do this for a few minutes.
2) Spend a few minutes everyday writing down 5 things you are thankful for this year.
3) Take a walk outside and focus on one of your 5 senses.
4) Blow bubbles with your kids. Make a game out of it and watch the bubbles float around the room. Resist the urge to pop them and see where they go.
Wonderful Children's Book
Coping with The Holidays
- Keep your regular routine
- Think moderation, don't try to do everything at once. Make a plan and spread out activities
- Be realistic, and try not to expect the "ideal" holiday
- Stay connected. Facetime family and friends. Call a loved one
- Throw guilt out the window. Don't feel bad about not going to a party or cancelling because you don't feel safe
- Don't be alone if you don't want to be
- Focus on today, not yesterday
- It's ok to say no
- Ask for help
- Be good to yourself
Supporting Children and Teens During the Holidays
Start a Family Conversation: Acknowledge What Has Changed and How Family Members are Feeling
(Information retrieved from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Monthly Newsletter)
- Talk to your children/teens about this holiday season.
- Help them understand why things are different. You may want to share that you are doing things differently because you want to keep everyone safe and healthy.
- Let them talk about their feelings, what they are sad about, what makes them upset.
- Let them know that they are not alone. You hear them.
- Validate their feelings. It makes sense that they are feeling sad, disappointed, frustrated, angry . . . because the holidays are not the same, because they miss friends and family . . . You may want to let them know that you are also sad and upset that so much has changed and that things are not the way you want them to be.
- Even when you can’t “fix” things, you are giving children the gift of your support.
- If loved ones have died during this year, find a way to honor their memory this holiday season and find ways to share your feelings as a family.
- Think together about your family values and traditions related to the holidays (the way you celebrate may change, but the meaning behind the holiday does not).
For more ideas on how to celebrate your holiday with your family/friends please click here for more information from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Growing in resilience
Resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back when we encounter stress or experience difficulties. Thankfully, resiliency is a quality that can be intentionally developed over time .
In this video, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg summarizes how parents can encourage their children to overcome adversity and adapt to the challenges in life through the "The Seven C's of Resilience."
Resources for Growing in Resiliency
Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings written by K. Ginsburg
- What is SAP? In Pennsylvania, every school must have a Student Assistance Program (SAP). A SAP team, made up of school and community agency staff, is here to help you access school and community services.
- Who to contact: You can reach out to your child's guidance counselor or look at their school website for SAP information.
Here is a video that explains the Student Assistance Program that is in all K-12 schools.