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

Expressing gratitude can be so powerful. Research shows that spending just a few minutes on positive thinking and gratitude can help boost happiness, lower stress, improve health and help you build stronger relationships. Here are 5 gratitude exercises that can help you reflect on the season's blessings and keep stress in check.

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

As the rush of the holiday's begin, we often lose our connection with the present moment. One effective way to cope with holiday madness is to slow down and take a little time each day to practice 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

Holiday's can even be stressful for little ones. Check out this fun story to share with your children!
llama llama Holiday Drama

Coping with The Holidays

Here are some ideas on how to take care of yourself, or help your child over 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

Helpful Links

Education-Creativity for Kids

Coping Skills A-Z

See Link Below for Coloring Pages!

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Growing in resilience

The challenges of this past year have impacted everyone in different ways, ranging from minor inconveniences to disruptive and even life changing circumstances. While many of the stressors have been outside of our control, the response we have to those tough times is within our own sphere of control.

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."

  1. Confidence
  2. Competence
  3. Connection
  4. Character
  5. Contribution
  6. Coping
  7. Control

SAP Corner

  • 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.

Student Assistance Program (SAP)
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