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For Parents

Parenting With the HEART in Mind

Weekly parenting tips to grow the social and emotional capacity of your children and family.

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November, 3 – Permission to feel

A growing body of research finds that a child’s ability to cope constructively with life’s ups and downs plays a key role in their academic and social success. Knowing how to deal with disappointment, asking for help, or resolving conflicts constructively are skills that can lead to better behavior on the playground and better focus in the classroom. And parents play a key role in teaching these skills to children–it requires that we label and express our emotions, and regulate them in positive ways. For more details, check out this great article

October, 27 – Self-compassion 

Would you like your children to be academically motivated and enjoy emotional wellbeing? Teach them self-compassion. Research shows that students who adopt a growth mindset thrive on challenges, show resilience in the face of obstacles and view failure as part of the learning process. Both self-compassion and growth mindset are robust responses to the inevitable ups and downs of life. “When we are self-compassionate, we remind ourselves ‘I am a human and the human condition is imperfect for all of us” said Kristin Neff, self-compassion researcher and psychology professor at the University of Texas. Read this great article to learn how to teach self-compassion to your children.

October, 20 -On multitasking

Many parents want to believe that they are being efficient (and awesome) when they tackle more than one project or task at once. Dinner, homework help and texting? Check. The truth is that multitasking increases our stress level in a number of ways–we are more distracted, miss important information and feel more anxiety. Parents are more likely to lose their temper with the kids when they are multitasking! To break the cycle, and truly become more efficient read this article from the Washington Post.

October, 13 – Discussing identity issues

A recent survey of 6,000 parents conducted by Sesame Street found that a majority of parents rarely, if ever, discuss race/ethnicity, gender, class or other categories of social identity with their kids. If families don’t discuss social identities at home, kids are left alone to make sense of the differences they see, with little more than stereotypes, television and guesswork to guide them. The key here is to have conversations with your children about these topics, so they are able to build a positive sense of identity, and be respectful of everyone else’s. Read more about the survey in this NPR article.

October, 6 – On generosity

Many parents would agree that their self-sacrifice for their kids is totally worth it. However, research shows that people who care about others and neglect themselves are more likely to become anxious and depressed. On the other hand, generosity is not about sacrificing yourself for others — it’s about helping others without harming yourself. Adam Grant suggests in this New York Time article to consider giving as something joyful you choose to do for the benefit of others. 

September, 29 – On anxiety

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. This is a big concern for parents and educators alike. If your children are dealing with anxiety, support them by teaching them how to manage their feelings, instead of protecting them from their triggers. Although it won’t take the uncomfortable feelings away, it will help them develop skills that will support them in the long term. For other tips to help your children with anxiety, check out this article by the Child Mind Institute. 

September, 22 – Mental Health

Mental health issues are still taboo in our communities⏤many people believe that having a mental health issue is a sign of weakness, so you can just “toughen up”. Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, UC Berkeley Professor, talks about humanizing mental health issues in order to move from stigma to compassion in this great article. If your family is struggling with mental health issues, ask for help. Here’s a place with resources to get you started.  

September, 15 – Homework Struggles

Many students struggle when it comes to homework. Their stress tends to be exacerbated by three primary challenges: procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed and struggling to retain information. If this sounds like your child, you probably want to know how to support them now, so they can be more successful later on. Check out this helpful article with tools for each one of those primary challenges.

September, 8 – Communication

How many times have you asked your child ‘How was school today?’ and got a ‘good’ without any more details? After 7 hours being in school, you would think they have something to share, right? If you want to get more information about your child’s day, try changing the question. For example, saying something like ‘Tell me about a conversation you had with a friend today that made you excited’. For other suggestions, check out this article from instructional coach and author, Elena Aguilar, published in Edutopia. 

September, 1 – Using emotional intelligence as a parent

Parenting requires resilience, strong negotiation skills, and a large amount of patience. Dr. Anabel Jensen, founder of the global EQ network Six Seconds, says that “parenting is like trying to stand up in a hammock and not spill your lemonade.” Can you relate? In this article, Dr. Jensen explains how to use emotional intelligence in your parenting and change the way you fight with your kids by pausing, prioritizing, and looking at your options. Handy printable handout in the article.

August, 25 – Responding to children’s behavior

Children sometimes react to daily situations in ways that parents don’t understand. What’s the big deal about…wearing white socks? Brushing hair before school? Or grabbing a jacket? You name the challenge! Parents sometimes react to children’s behaviors, without considering the underlying thoughts or emotions that drive these behaviors. So, how do you do it? There is a great tool called “parent mentalizing”, which means seeking to understand our own and our child’s behaviors from the perspective of underlying mental states, such as thoughts, feelings, and needs. Check out this article from the Greater Good Science Center to learn how to put it into practice.

August, 18 – School is in session

Ready or not, here it comes! School starts next week. With a little preparation, you can make the transition back to school a little easier for children and adults too. Check out these great tips from Aha Parenting, and make sure you pay attention to your own needs as well. It is a big transition for everybody in the family! Here’s to a great start of the school year. 

August, 11th – Back to School

“Emotional preparedness for school is just as important as the school supplies we carefully purchase, label, and organize to get our children ready for their first day.” Jennifer Miller, Family SEL Consultant. 

Summer is almost over, and the beginning of the school year is just around the corner. Going back to school can be an exciting time for your child, but as with any transition, it can also be fraught with worry, fear and a sense of loss. Ease the transition back to school with these great tips from Confident Parents, Confident Kids. 

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