Counselor's Corner

Liz Parker, School Counselor, Hominy Valley Elementary

Dear HVE Families,

Happy New Year! I hope that 2021 brings you and your family health and hope, and, with any luck, a bit more normalcy, calm, and routine. As we start the second semester remotely, please know that I am still available to support you and your student. Feel free to contact me using the information below, and I can reach out via email, phone, or a Zoom link for you or for your child. This has been a school year full of challenges, but also one that demonstrates the many ways we support each other in this community. Below are some resources I thought you might find helpful. Let me know what else I can do to support your child!

- Ms. P

Talking with Children about Events in the News

Many kinds of crises happen in our world, and when they do, it can be hard as a parent or caregiver to know what to say to your child. Some families choose not to discuss events in the news with their children, which is certainly an understandable choice, especially if their children are young and the events in the news contain violence. However, if you do typically talk to your children when big national or world events happen, here are some tips to remember.

  • First and foremost, reassure your child that they are safe, but also that it is ok to feel sad, scared, or angry when they hear about big events in the world. Adults feel that way too!

  • If you are sharing facts about an event with your child, keep those facts developmentally appropriate in their content and quantity. Your child might be ready for information that something scary happened and someone was hurt, for example, but not ready for specific or gory details about how that person was hurt. This can be tricky if you have children of different developmental levels in your home, or if your children have access to news programs that may be sharing information beyond what they can understand.

  • When you are sharing information about a problem, also share information about how it was resolved. What kind of helpers responded to that situation, and what did they do to help things be safe again?

  • Think about your particular child and what they need when things feel scary. Be available to listen to your child's concerns, and to answer the questions they may have, because we want all children to view their grownups as people who they can go to with concerns. For some children, though, having a long talk about things is not as reassuring as sticking to routines that help a scary day to feel more normal.

  • Remember that stress is cumulative. Something that might not normally bother your child can feel like a very big deal if your child is already dealing with other significant stressful events, like recent family changes or losses, or even a disrupted school schedule. Children also sense when the people around them are anxious. You may have chosen not to talk about an event with your child, but your child may still sense that something is wrong based on their grownups' behavior and feel worried as a result.

  • Remind your child that they know ways to take care of themselves when they feel scared or worried, and practice those strategies with them. It might do you some good to take some deep breaths, snuggle a stuffed animal, or color a picture too, and showing your child that you take the time to take care of your emotional needs is an important way to model healthy habits.

If a big event happens and you think your child would benefit from talking to someone outside your family, know that I am available and do not hesitate to reach out. If you would like specific resources for addressing an event with your child, send me an email and I can pass along some helpful articles.

Homework from Ms. Parker

  • I hear it might snow this weekend. Fingers crossed! Make sure to take time to go outside and play. Going for a walk in the snow by the creek near my house is one of my favorite sensory activities!
  • Download the Go Noodle app on your phone or visit the website on your computer. As you may know, this is a favorite resource of our teachers when the students need to move their bodies and have a brain break, and it can also be great to use at home. On cold days when outside play may be brief, the exercise and movement videos are great for getting out some energy. There are also lots of fun songs and dances, and doesn't our world need more fun singing and dancing?
  • Check out my current favorite Go Noodle video, which is great for expanding feelings vocabulary, and also noticing how your body feels with different emotions:
  • Take some time to identify the people and activities that help you feel better about the world when things are tough. It takes a lot of energy to take care of the kids in your life, but you need to save some of that energy for taking care of yourself.
  • Let me know how I can support you and your student!