Wellness and Learning

MSD System of Care March 2023 Newsletter

Introducing: What Matters? Family Feedback and Fun Facts Anonymous Monthly Check Ins. Take 1 minute to answer 1 question each month! Please click here to add your voice!


Coming UP in May! Mental Health and Wellness in the Digital Age. Join a community book read of Screenwise by Dr. Devorah Heitnerl Sign up here for your free book that will be delivered in April!

Learning to Self-Regulate

A first grader withdraws to the back of the class because she feels jealous of a peer. Agitated, a middle school student leaves the classroom. A high school student can’t stop worrying about her performance in school. What do these students, ages 6-16, have in common? They are dysregulated and it is interfering with their learning, as well as their overall wellbeing.

Learning requires the regulation of our minds (thoughts), our mood (emotions), and our body (physiological systems) in response to perceived stressors (Mann, 2021.) Dysregulation impacts all aspects of learning including motivation, memory, attention, organization/planning, communication, and interpersonal relationship skills. It impacts how we feel about ourselves (ex. self-confidence, self-efficacy) and how we feel about others (ex. distrust, disconnection).

Learning to self-regulate is a part of growing up, and even as adults we continue to develop these skills. However, according to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 1 in 6 children between the ages of 6 and 17 and 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health disorder each year. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey taken by Merrimack High School students in 2021, 30.4% of boys and 58.8% of girls had experienced the symptoms of depression in the past year. Of course, these disorders (ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc.) directly impact the development of regulation abilities.

What do we do as an educational community to incorporate regulating experiences into the teaching and learning process? What do we do as families to support the development of regulation skills in our children?

Experts suggest responding to dysregulated behaviors in a way that seeks to build coping skills and that creates connection. To this end, we can:

  1. Intentionally model self-regulation skills, and reflect on the strategies we use to manage our own negative thinking and difficult emotions.

  2. Explicitly teach how stress impacts our minds, mood, and body, and how to relieve stress in healthy ways.

  3. Purposefully connect with children and youth about their experiences. When we feel connected, respected, seen, and heard, we feel safe. That is what our bodies and minds need to learn and grow.

  4. Provide what Brooklyn Raney calls the ABCs of relationships: Accessible, boundried, and caring, in all spaces and all places. Learn more here.

If you are interested in learning more about supporting the development of coping skills as parents, educators or community members, please feel free to attend our upcoming two part series on developing effective coping skills for "big feelings."

As always, please reach out at any time! Fern.Seiden@sau26.org


Fern Seiden, MSW

Director of Student Wellness

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This summer the NH Department of Education offered One Trusted Adult resources to schools, and we were able to take full advantage of this opportunity. This is a self-paced four hour "course" that can really change the way you think about how to "show up" for our kids! Brooklyn Raney, a NH native, is becoming nationally recognized for her inspiring work!

How to Access: Use the codes below after clicking on the links in the "Getting Started Guide" posted below!

Elementary and Middle School Families - Sign up to get the course for free using the code:


High School Families - sign up to get the course for free using the code:


How to Access Directions


ONE TRUSTED ADULT FREE PD FOR EDUCATORS! SIGN UP - 4 hours of self-paced modules!

Click here for instructions for registering for the One Trusted Adult Educators Workshop - free for Merrimack School District Educators!


Codes to Access Program:

- Middle/ Elementary - SAU26MS-VPD

- High School - SAU26HS-VPD

Branch Out is a High School Program filled with great activities to foster connection and community. You can find it here!


The Merrimack Public Library - A Vital Resource!

Use your Merrimack Public Library card to check out books, video games, and much more! Follow this link to the Merrimack Public Library’s website to learn how to sign up.

And Click Here for a folder with holdings at the library to support your child's social-emotional wellness!