Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Thrive Parenting Podcast  Episode #1

In our first episode of the Thrive Parenting Podcast, Jennie and Lynn interview parents from around the world, gleaning great ideas about staying sane while dealing with the challenges of life during the COVID-19 stay at home orders. Below is a summary of that conversation which can also be seen on youtube, or wheverever you get your podcasts.

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

I keep hearing celebrities and others talk about what people should be doing during all their “extra time”during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but think of those parenting children with extra needs, knowing that for them this time in quarantine could provide many challenges rather than extra time.

We asked our panel of parents what they were doing with their “extra time,” and, after they stopped laughing, they shared with us their tips on how they’re staying sane during this time while parenting a child (or children) with extra needs.

Get everyone active

  • A family from Moldova who lives in an apartment shared that keeping the kids active had helped tremendously. They drive to a different place every day and spend around two hours hiking. 
  • Another family kept their children active by purchasing a piece of exercise equipment
  • One mom shared that she goes for a run during her 15 minute break from work instead of sitting around.
  • One mom, whose boys enjoy skateboarding, decided to purchase a long board so she could join in with them.
  • A great resource one family shared was gonoodle.com. It provides a variety of ways to get kids (and parents) active, as well as some breathing exercises.

Use the resources you have

  • One family had a relative who’d been furloughed from his job. They started using their daycare money to pay that relative to watch their kids while they worked. Others have been paying older children home from college to watch their younger children.
  • The mom from that same family shared that she started using the candles and other treats she’d purchased for “special occasions.” She encouraged other to consider the quarantine a special occasion and to use those items you’ve held back using.
  • A single mom recommended that people recruit relatives or others to read to kids via Skype or zoom to give themselves a short break. She also shared a resource for “virtual babysitting” called Virtual Babysitters Club (www.virtualbabysittersclub.com).

Re-frame Self-Care

  • With six kids at home, many of whom have special needs, one mom shared that she’s had to re-frame what she views as self care. “Getting a shower is now a huge deal….”
  • Another mom reminded us that “This isn’t working from home. This is trying to work during a pandemic….” She has been trying to go easy on herself, reminding her that this is no easy task.
  • Still other parents encouraged other families to maintain consistent bedtimes 

Revisit an Old Hobby (or Take Up a New One) and Consider Including the Kids

  • Since her children need a lot of help with homework, one mom has learned to crochet so she have something to do while they work.
  • Another mom has started doing scrapbooking again.
  • One dad took up a new online game to play with his friends.
  • Another family was surprised when they paid for everyone to take an online art class together  and all their kids, even the ones who don’t consider themselves artistic, loved it. (https://www.yaymaker.com/)

Take Creative Breaks

  • The family from Moldova builds a break into their day that has helped their sanity. After they return from their hike, the kids have an hour or two of quiet time in their rooms.
  • Others encourage consistent, early bedtimes for the night-owl parents to have some alone time or enforcing an early morning quiet time for early riser parents to have some time to themselves.
  • Another family has come up with a creative way to have a date night. They provide each child with some form of electronics and dinner and send them into their rooms to play. While the kids are enjoying their screen time, the parents enjoy a movie and take out in the living room.

I hope that these ideas can help you find creative ways to spend all of your “extra time” while in quarantine.

 

Tip Jar

Everyone involved in Thrive Parenting is a volunteer. If you appreciate the time of our special guests and small group leaders, consider leaving a tip. We will use the money to give them a token of our appreciation for spending time with our group.

Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

our Special Guests

This Week we are joined by:

Sasha and Sara Pascal

Amanda Daniels

Ashley Miller

Dayna Sabbath

Chaney Mobley

 

 

You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.

When your Kids Won’t Listen: 2 Courageous Steps One Mom Took to Save Herself and Her Family

When your Kids Won’t Listen: 2 Courageous Steps One Mom Took to Save Herself and Her Family

Thrive Parenting Week 5

You have tried everything you know to get your child to listen. You know the choices they are making are sure to hurt them – or someone else.  Now you are all at home together….all the time. When you are at the end of your rope what is left?

This week at the Thrive Parenting Support Group, Ellen May, Canyon Lakes Counseling’s own therapeutic massage therapist, shares her experience of personal growth and the radical steps she took to save herself and her family.

 

When your Kids Won’t Listen: 2 Courageous Steps One Mom Took to Save Herself and Her Family

This week we interviewed Ellen May, a massage therapist with Canyon Lakes Counseling, who told an amazing story of hope from her own experience of parenting children with extra needs. Ellen tells about how she used massage to transform her relationship with a child who for years had been pushing her away and displaying challenging behaviors.

After noticing that her teenage son was struggling with severe anxiety, Ellen started doing massage for him every morning before school. She started with massaging his feet with a special scented lotion that her son had picked out every morning for about ten minutes. The results she saw came slowly but were remarkable.

Ellen clarified, “These are just things that worked for us. It may or may not work for you, but I would encourage you to at least try the massage part.”

Her son had come to her with high anxiety. Even as a toddler, he would chew on his shirt to the point where his collar and sleeve, all the way up until his elbow, was wet. When he got to middle school, he’d been terribly teased and, as a result, he hated school. The family also went through a highly traumatic event at this time, so that had increased his anxiety. The entire family was just trying to survive.

I knew that touch was something that he really enjoyed but he wasn’t real fond of me. I was just trying to find a way to connect with him

“I knew that touch was something that he really enjoyed but he wasn’t real fond of me. I was just trying to find a way to connect with him,” Ellen said. Another goal in giving him a short massage every day before school was to help bring his cortisol levels down.

After a year and a half of doing massage with him, as well as other ways of changing their interactions, Ellen’s relationship with her son significantly changed for the better. “He may still get triggered once a month or once every other month now, but he will always comes back to me now. He’ll come back and say, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t know why I did that.’ And I leave him alone. Once I know he’s ramped up, I’m gone. I’m out of the room. I’ll go outside. I don’t interact with him.” She lets him come to her when he’s ready.

Like many parents, however, there was a time when it would have been hard to meet her son’s needs in this way. For years prior, Ellen’s son had been treating her poorly and was frequently unkind to her. He would poke her or throw water bottles to physically hurt her. He would try to intimidate her and seemed to find joy in hurting her emotionally, as well.

Ellen had worked hard to try to get him to change. She’d tried everything, from telling him he couldn’t talk to her disrespectfully to trying to set healthy boundaries. But nothing was working. In fact, she found herself ramping up when he did, which wasn’t helpful. She realized something needed to change.

I was caring more about him than he was, and that wasn’t going to work

“I was caring more about him than he was, and that wasn’t going to work” Ellen said.

“I figured I wasn’t getting the mom of the year award already, so I may as well figure something else out,” Ellen said. One day, during her son’s sophomore year in high school, she was just done. “I didn’t want to interact with him. I didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to see him. I didn’t want to pass him in the hall,” she said.

I didn’t want to interact with him. I didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to see him. I didn’t want to pass him in the hall

Tired of being treated so rudely, she handed him his medication, made sure he had a bus pass, and told him not to ask her for anything. Other than providing the basics, like food, she backed away from doing any extras she’d been doing for him.

She also took away all requirements except the expectation to graduate on time. She didn’t try to force him to do chores or school work.  Knowing that he wasn’t likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, she allowed him to experience the consequences of his actions.

I had to do a lot of self-reflection if I was going to stay more emotionally down throttled so that when he ramped up I could stay more calm

During this time, Ellen backed off and just worked on herself. She practiced good self care activities, like exercise and massages, and worked on herself. “I had to do a lot of self-reflection if I was going to stay more emotionally down throttled so that when he ramped up I could stay more calm.” She did a lot of reading during this time, got a lot of massages, went for walks with friends, and stopped watching tv and the news.

“I only looked for things that could really help my own brain calm down and stay calm.

“Having other things outside of my kids’ trauma was really, really big because before everything went kaplooey, I had really lost myself. I had been so wrapped up in their trauma, what they needed, and what all their stuff was that I had really lost a lot of me.”

Ellen started doing real estate to have something to get out of the house and be around others. Getting out and having something to do outside of her kids’ issues was part of that healing process for her.

“I let go of almost all expectations,” Ellen said. That included allowing him to say no, which at times was very hard to do.

I just spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to connect with him

After an extended time of letting go and just working on herself, Ellen started getting to the place where she could reach out more. That’s when she started doing massages for him before school, as well as engaging in other positive interactions. “I just spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to connect with him. One of the ways was through his sense of humor, which was not mine at all. I started to try to be more playful with him. That, along with little things we would do started to thaw him out. We just kept connecting,” she said.

Ellen started to discover that some of the behaviors she used to get irritated with were actually his way of letting her know he wanted to connect. “He would stand in my way, and I would tickle him. And he would always know that I was going to tickle him. That was how he wanted to interact and be playful. Understanding how he wanted to be playful was a big thing because it wasn’t how I was.”

Between the massage and having more playful interactions, Ellen gradually saw the relationship with her son get much closer to what she’d always wanted. It came in baby steps, but it continues to move in positive direction.

“We all have an idea of what it is we want to get and we have an idea of how it should go to get there. I think with our kids it doesn’t look anything like what we think it should. And we get a lot of pressure. I had one parent say, ‘My kid used an alarm clock when he was ten years old and got himself up.’ So we have all this pressure to do all the things that other parents are doing and it works for them. That’s why I say if this doesn’t work for you, try something else. Do something different.”

Tip Jar

Everyone involved in Thrive Parenting is a volunteer. If you appreciate the time of our special guests and small group leaders, consider leaving a tip. We will use the money to give them a token of our appreciation for spending time with our group.

our Special Guest

Ellen May

Ellen May

Massage Therapist

Ellen is a licensed massage therapist for the state of Washington. She is a graduate of Tri-Cities School of Massage in the style of Swedish massage. She is also certified in pediatric massage with an emphasis on trauma through Liddle Kidz with Pediatric Master Teacher Tina Allen. Her love for learning means she will be adding parent training for infant massage as well as other modalities to accommodate patient needs.

Ellen loves meeting new clients and believes massage is an excellent tool for good self-care for both children and adults. Her style combines relaxation techniques of light to medium pressure with slow, rhythmic strokes and deeper work for specific areas of tension. Her goal for each person she works with is for them to feel safe, heard and nurtured through her gentle yet very therapeutic approach. This way of engaging with each client means they receive massage work that is tailored to them. She looks forward to serving all age groups with massage.

Ellen and her husband became foster parents early in their marriage eventually adopting four children.  She enjoys camping and riding dirt bikes and 4 wheelers in the summer with her family, reading and volunteering in the community and her church.

Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

3 Massage Techniques you can learn to Help your Kids

Ellen trains parents in infant and pediatric massage so that they can potentially have the same benefit with their children that she had with hers. Here are three of the first techniques that she teaches in her classes. 

You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.

#1 Best Resource to Help your Kids During the Pandemic

#1 Best Resource to Help your Kids During the Pandemic

Thrive Parenting Week 4

At week four of the Thrive Parenting support group, Licensed Mental Health counselor, adoptive mom, super grandma, and one of our amazing small group leaders, Dena Johnson, lead our large group in thinking about the best resource to help our kids during this turbulent time – attending to our own emotional state. She gave us some scripts to use in challenging situations and some additional idea to not just survive, but Thrive during the covid-19 pandemic.

 

Start Here: Deal with your “stuff” first

As an amazing parent,  your desire to help your child during challenging times runs deep. The first and most important step in helping our kids deal with challenging situations is to attend to our own emotional state first. In her time with the Thrive Parenting small group, Dena Johnson challenged us to start by considering the following questions.

  1. How aware are you of your own anxiety and depression during this time?
  2. How do you communicate that to your children (unintentionally)?
  3. How do they pick up on your emotions?
  4. How can you communicate safety?
  5. What can you do to make this time worthwhile and a surprising gift?

A good starting place for any type of trauma/loss is to identify it and name it.  It’s very hard to process emotions that have not been named.

Put these scripts in your back pocket

Once you are able to identify your own emotional state, baggage or triggers, you can begin to help your kids do the same.

It is hard to know exactly what to say in the moments when our kids suddenly need us. It is a great idea to have some standard scripts ready to go. When you do, you’ll find yourself using variations of them over and over. Believe it or not, when you use them enough, your kids really start to believe those what you are saying. Here are some starter scripts that you can modify for your situation:

“I’m feeling pretty uncertain right now.  It makes me grumpy. I wonder if it’s the same for you?”

“I think if I were in your shoes I’d be awful scared about whether you will be safe or not.  Before you came home to us you had some confusing times when people who should have provided for you didn’t. “

“Wow kiddo.  This time is really confusing.  I bet it’s hard to trust me to take good care of you in the middle of all this uncertainty.”

“You know, I was thinking.  Your mom died from illness a few years back and now we are all facing some scary virus.  I wonder if that makes you more anxious about your safety? Or about whether or not I’ll be around to keep you safe.”

Cardinal Rule #1 when trying to help your kids feel better: Don’t ask what’s wrong

Most of the time our kids don’t know why they are having big feelings. They don’t need to answer a ton of questions right now.  But conversation starters where you “wonder aloud” can help allow kids to process their own feelings.

How can you communicate safety?

Our kids are super-de-dooper tuned into our emotions and moods.  It is a by-product of trauma that they are able to read moods and protect themselves. We must constantly remind them of the truth that we are the adults put in place to keep them safe and that we will handle our own feelings appropriately. Try some of these scripts:

“I know this is scary and confusing.  I just want you to know I am sooooooo old that I’ve had lots of experience with this kind of thing.”  (even if you haven’t)

“You know, I take a lot of classes and talk with a lot of people about how to handle hard things like this.  I’m sort of an expert. You don’t need to worry because I’ve done a lot to prepare for this very moment.”

“Did you know that foster (adoptive) parents have to take a lot of classes and spend a lot of time getting ready to bring you home and keep you safe? Yep.  That’s my job and I’m really good at it.”

“You may have noticed I was really short-tempered yesterday.  I am sorry about that and I’m working really hard to take the best care of you in this crazy time.  Sometimes that makes me tired or worn down. I talked to a friend (partner, therapist) and learned some better ways to handle my stress. “

Essentially, we bear the responsibility of continuing to grow in health and strength as parents in order to meet the needs of our kiddos with trauma/loss/neurological struggles/exposure, etc.

 

Perfection not required or expected

You may not feel like you are there yet. You may doubt your own ability to handle this time. But that’s for you to work out in a safe place and not to pass on to your kids.  They get the gift of believing that you are “bigger, stronger, kinder and wise.” (this is a core principle of Circle of Security – an excellent training for professionals and parents working with kids who need “extra supports.”)

It’s okay to not answer some questions or to let your kids know “That’s a great question and I’ll think about that and let you know.”

It’s okay to tell your kids that there are boundaries and that you cannot be “on” all the time or respond to every concern or anxiety.   We can set aside time for concerns but NOT be held hostage to their anxieties all day long. It’s not good for them or for us. 

AND:  This is unprecedented.  You are NOT alone.  

The tendency is likely to either “check out” or “over-compensate.” Neither are wise.

You are doing OK. You’re not expected to know all the answers or have it all together.

What can you do to make this time worthwhile and a surprising gift?

We can do more than just survive difficult times. We can thrive. Have you considered taking advantage of this unexpected opportunity to:

 

  1. Slow down. 
  2. Assess kids’ needs.
  3. Assess your needs.
  4. Weed out the unnecessary and unprofitable.
  5. Weed out the stressors.
  6. Focus on relationship, connection, and predictability.
  7. Set goals for family identity and work towards it.  “Kindness. Helpfulness. Encouraging.”
  8. Let your kids help.  
  9. Teach them new things: how to vacuum, how to clean, how to cook, how to weed.”
  10. Have fun.  Find ways to say “yes” and stick to your “no’s.”

Tip Jar

Everyone involved in Thrive Parenting is a volunteer. If you appreciate the time of our special guests and small group leaders, consider leaving a tip. We will use the money to give them a token of our appreciation for spending time with our group.

our Special Guest

Dena Johnson

Dena Johnson

Mental Health Counselor

In addition to being one of the amazing small group leaders of Thrive Parenting, Dena is an adoptive mom of 7 kids ranging in age from 10-23, and a grandma to a child she describes as  “a perfect 3 year old.”

If her life were not full enough raising her amazing kids and grandchild, she practices as a Mental Health Counselor near her home in Des Moines, Washington. There she works with clients who have experienced sexual abuse and other forms of trauma, adoptive and foster  families, and specializes in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, sensory issues, and attachment dificulties.

Post Graduate Training and Certification

Trust-Based Relationship Intervention Professional

Post-Graduate credentialing with Deborah Gray in Trauma and Attachment based care for children and families.

Education

Seattle School of Theology and Psychology – Master of Arts in Counseling

Pepperdine University – Master of Science in Ministry

Abilene Christian University – BA in Biblical Studies

Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

Previous Groups

We record a portion of the large group time so that ideas shared there can be available to everyone even if they couldn’t make it to the meeting.

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

During the training time of week 2 of the Thrive Parenting Support group, Melissa Porcaro, an occupational therapist from Richland, Washington, led us in a discussion about meeting the sensory, proprioceptive and vestibular needs of kids while stuck inside during the coronavirus stay at home orders.

You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.

What is my child required to do during school closure

What is my child required to do during school closure

Thrive Parenting Week 3

At week three of the Thrive Parenting support group, Jennie and Lynn were joined by educators from around the country to help parents make sense of the chaos around doing school at home and to answer the question, “what is my child required to do during the school closure.”

 

Q:What is my child required to do during school closure?

If you are asking yourself this question, you are not alone. 

As schools close due to COVID-19, many parents find themselves overwhelmed by all of the information they are receiving from the schools. Parents of children who need extra support can especially struggle when sometimes they are just trying to make it through each day. What’s the best way to approach your child’s education during this crisis?

We interviewed a panel of educators from across the country to help give guidance to parents, especially those who feel overwhelmed. Here’s what they had to say.

 

Tip Jar

Everyone involved in Thrive Parenting is a volunteer. If you appreciate the time of our special guests and small group leaders, consider leaving a tip. We will use the money to give them a token of our appreciation for spending time with our group.

Our Panelists

Kris Hanson

Kris Hanson

Principal, KI-BE Elementary

Kris has been involved in education since 1987, teaching a variety of grade levels from 1st to 8th. She spent the majority of her years teaching 5th grade and then transitioned to Dean of Students. After earning her Masters in Educational Leadership, she became an Assistant Principal and is currently the principal of the Primary Elementary School for Kiona Benton School District in Washington state. She has worked closely with students impacted by childhood trauma and behavior issues, plus students impacted by Autism. In addition to her formal educational experience, she raised 4 children of her own.

Judy Victory

Judy Victory

Principal, Edgewood Children's Ranch

Judy has a Masters in education and is currently the Director of Education for a residential program in Florida. Judy was a foster parent for many years and is still active in the foster care community in other ways. She has also been a cottage parent for several different residential programs and is an adoptive mom. She loves encourage and equip parents in that daily pursuit of loving their child well.

Leah Blose

Leah Blose

High School Teacher

Leah has been teaching High school Family and Consumer Sciences for 12 years in Pennsylvania. She is also a foster parent who has been fostering for 5 years. She and her husband Chris are currently in the process of adopting their 2 foster children ages 8 and 11. During the almost 4 years of parenting their foster children, they have navigated many different school situations. Like many of you, they are first timers at educating virtually from home, but Leah is excited to share her thoughts based on prior experiences.

Q: We are confused. What exactly are parents and schools supposed to be doing right now?

Kris Hansen, a principal in Washington, talked about how the mandates coming in from the state are changing every day. “They’re calling it continuous learning now where we are because we’re not supposed to be doing new curriculum. We are teaching review,” she said. She emphasized that the main goal is to make sure that the families are safe and have their needs met, while providing “interactive and fun learning activities” to motivate kids to keep learning.

 

 

“It’s really tricky to make sure we’re providing enough so parents don’t feel alone but then always trying to keep in mind that the anxiety levels on people are so high. My goal is not to contribute to that. It’s like riding that fine balance,” she said.

The panel discussed the fact that for any school, there is no way to truly provide an equal opportunity for each child. Some parents work. Families don’t have the same access to electronics or other resources, including food. The needs of each child is also different, so they encouraged parents to give themselves grace if they aren’t able to do everything that’s being expected of them.

Leah Blose, a high school teacher from Pennsylvania, stated, “What I’m hearing from my principal and superintendent is as teachers go easy on yourself. And that’s what I would say to parents. This is uncharted territory. I would give yourselves a lot of grace.”

 

Q: Can I do something different than what the school is sending?

Judy answered, “I would say, no matter what, you’re the parent. You know your kid better than anyone else in the whole world. And the number one job that you have as a parent is to make sure your child grows up into a well-balanced, emotionally healthy individual, so what do they need to make that happen?”

 

No matter what, you are the parent!

The panel agreed that communication is key. Let your child’s teacher know if something isn’t working. Kris said, “You have to advocate for your child. And I think most educators really want to help you and would listen to that.”

According to Judy, this includes modes of communication. She encourages parents to let teachers know if you are being inundated with emails or overwhelmed by the way work is being communicated. With one of her families, they set up a weekly time to talk about school because that worked better for them than having so many emails sent out.

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the communication from your child’s school? Perhaps you can ask them to highlight the most important assignments or send bullet points of the basics of what you need to know. This can especially be important if you have several children and receive multiple emails each week from each child’s teacher.

Communication is Key: Whatever you need, let them know

  • Let your child’s teacher know that you are intending to deviate from their standard plan
  • Ask for different resources
  • Ask for less communication if you are overwhelmed
  • Ask for a one-on-one meeting to figure out what to do for your child

Q: Will my child get behind?

Lynn Owens, a licensed mental health counselor, said, “Now I’m not an educator, but some studies that I’ve been looking into indicate that, especially for younger kids, it almost doesn’t matter that much when they start school or how they start. By third or fourth grade they pretty much catch up anyway.” He talked about how kids who have experienced a lot of trauma tend to have a developmental echo their entire life, where they tend to stay behind their entire life, so stressing over getting them caught up may be counterproductive.

 

Leah emphasized that with her own children she’s using this time as an opportunity to “focus on areas where they have difficulty that they might not have the chance to [work on] at school.” One of her sons struggles with math due to gaps in early math. Like many parent’s, she isn’t always able to help with higher math concepts, so she talked about how helping him work on the more basic concepts where there are gaps is “something that I, as a parent, can help him with.”

 

It could be such a take-a-breath moment for these kids that are no longer trying to fit what we’re telling them school looks like

Kris talked about how we tend to try to fit kids who’ve experienced trauma into a box at school. “It could be such a take-a-breath moment for these kids that are no longer trying to fit what we’re telling them it looks like,” she said, “The parents can take a moment to do nothing or do something totally different. Find virtual field trips and learn through different means. Find the thing they love and work through things that way. I think it gives so much more room if parents just know they have permission to do that. I can’t give every parent permission, because I don’t know what their state will say, but this could be a gift in having the pressure off a little bit.”

Kris also mentioned an encouraging quote she’d read from a teacher who’d gone through Hurricane Katrina, (seen below).  She talked about how it can be a huge help to just do something to “keep kids’ brains thinking, even if they just read every day.” 

A year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, our kids aren’t going to remember what they learned from this time, but they will remember how they felt during this time.

Judy agreed. “My favorite quote from this time came from Jennie [Owens] and I’ve heard it repeated over and over again –‘A year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, our kids aren’t going to remember what they learned from this time, but they will remember how they felt during this time.’ And that needs to be a priority….How can we create an environment where I’m taking care of myself, which for some of our families is tricky. How can I get a support team so I can take care of myself and then create emotional safety for my kid?” she said.

The Bottom Line

While we as parents might be stressing about how to help our children learn, these educators would encourage you to take a deep breath and consider what’s best for your child. Communicate your needs with your child’s school and advocate for what is best for your family. Use this time to work on areas that you feel are important. And, most importantly, offer yourself and your child grace. These are challenging times, but together we will get through them.

Here is a list of resources discussed this week:

From the Department of Education: 

Supplemental Fact SheetAddressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PROVIDING SERVICES TO CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 OUTBREAK

AFT’s Share My Lesson site offers an abundance of free lesson plans for all grade and subject areas and excellent resources for grades Pre K- 12 . There are also special distance learning resources,  lessons for students with disabilities and lessons centered around Covid-19 at this link.

NEA’s excellent resources are abundant and are at this link.

Storyline Online features actors reading children’s books at this link.

PBS distance learning resources are at this link.

Smithsonian distance learning resources are at this link.

Teaching Tolerance Resources include everything you need for distance learning –how to succeed at distance learning, lessons, films, “Do Something Projects” and links for emotional support during this crisis at this link.

We Are Teachers offers 190 online learning resources at this link.

Hands On Lab offer science lab projects for distance learning at this link.

Education.com has 30,000 K-5 activities at this link.

Schoology provides a distance learning readiness kit at this link.

Google for Education provides resources for distance learning at this link.

UNESCO provides a huge list of educational applications, platforms and resources at this link.

Orange County Library story time at this link.

Microsoft distance learning support is at this link.

 

Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

Register for Future groups

Want to attend a future group live? Just Register Here. Space is limited so registration is required

What else have you missed?

We record a portion of the large group time so that ideas shared there can be available to everyone even if they couldn’t make it to the meeting.

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Jennie & Lynn Owens interview parents from around the world who share their top tips for making the most of staying at home with their kids during the COVID-19 pandemic

#1 Best Resource to Help your Kids During the Pandemic

#1 Best Resource to Help your Kids During the Pandemic

Thrive Parenting Week 4 At week four of the Thrive Parenting support group, Licensed Mental Health counselor, adoptive mom, super grandma, and one of our amazing small group leaders, Dena Johnson, lead our large group in thinking about the best resource to help our...

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

During the training time of week 2 of the Thrive Parenting Support group, Melissa Porcaro, an occupational therapist from Richland, Washington, led us in a discussion about meeting the sensory, proprioceptive and vestibular needs of kids while stuck inside during the coronavirus stay at home orders.

You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

Thrive Parenting

Online Support Group For parents of kids who need some "extra supports"

Tip Jar

Everyone involved in Thrive Parenting is a volunteer. If you appreciate the time of our special guests and small group leaders, consider leaving a tip. We will use the money to give them a token of our appreciation for spending time with our group.

Thrive Parenting Week 2

During the training time of week 2 of the Thrive Parenting Support group, Melissa Porcaro, an occupational therapist from Richland, Washington, led us in a discussion about meeting the sensory, proprioceptive and vestibular needs of kids while stuck inside during the coronavirus stay at home orders.

Melissa is the owner of Can Do Kids in Richland, Washington where they believe that Play is a child’s work and therapists use appropriate sensory integration techniques to engage patients in fun and motivating activities which address each child’s treatment goals.

She is an expert in, among other things, sensory issues and laying the foundational work for kids who may not be considered “neurotypical.”

If you could use some ideas for keeping kids emotionally regulated or just from bounding off the walls then you’ll want to watch or listen to the conversation.

Additionally there was a round table discussion about how screen time effects children and some alternatives to using screen time to babysit kids during the coronavirus crisis.

our Special Guest

Melissa Porcaro

Melissa Porcaro

Occupational Therapist

Dena will be challenging us during our large group time to use our most valuable resource in helping our kids during the coronoavirus pandemic and give us some practical tips to make the most of this time.

Melissa is an Occupational Therapist with over 25 years of experience working with children and adults. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in the Houston Medical Center in 1990 with four years of experience in my field. She studied for several months to receive a Sensory Integration and Praxis Certification (SIPT). Together with a partner, she began a private practice in Houston, Texas in 1992.

After 8 years in business and two (of the three) children, Melissa pursued a career in the “domestic engineering” field. This included many moves and world travel. During that time she was afforded the opportunity to teach and learn alongside her children as they traveled within the U.S. and abroad.

After living in the Tri-Cities for over 9 years — observing the struggle families were having trying to find answers to their children’s difficulties, and with the encouragement from friends and other professionals — she began sharing her experiences within the community. CAN Do Kids, LLC was born. It is a pediatric clinic employing Occupational Therapy techniques with a sensory integrative approach.

Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

Here is a list of resources discussed this week:

Disconnected: How To Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids

Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time

Ultimate Brain Breaks: Cards with great ideas for keeping kids moving in a way that helps with neurological growth and organization

Thanks to Michelle H. with a lot of great resources from Relationship Development Intervention with Young Children: Social and Emotional Development Activities for Asperger Syndrome, Autism, PDD and NLD 

Parents are invited to continue the conversation at our private online facebook group

 

Some products/tools mentioned that can be used with your kids

Sensory Sox

Hiker’s Hammock

Therapy Ball

Mini Trampoline

Swing

Pod Swing

Swing Tent

Bean Bags

Register for Future groups

Want to attend a future group live? Just Register Here. Space is limited so registration is required

What else have you missed?

We record a portion of the large group time so that ideas shared there can be available to everyone even if they couldn’t make it to the meeting.

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Jennie & Lynn Owens interview parents from around the world who share their top tips for making the most of staying at home with their kids during the COVID-19 pandemic

#1 Best Resource to Help your Kids During the Pandemic

#1 Best Resource to Help your Kids During the Pandemic

Thrive Parenting Week 4 At week four of the Thrive Parenting support group, Licensed Mental Health counselor, adoptive mom, super grandma, and one of our amazing small group leaders, Dena Johnson, lead our large group in thinking about the best resource to help our...

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

During the training time of week 2 of the Thrive Parenting Support group, Melissa Porcaro, an occupational therapist from Richland, Washington, led us in a discussion about meeting the sensory, proprioceptive and vestibular needs of kids while stuck inside during the coronavirus stay at home orders.

You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.

7 tips for Thriving with Kids at Home During the  COVID-19 Pandemic

7 tips for Thriving with Kids at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thrive Parenting Week 1

At the first  Thrive Parenting support group, Jennie Owens, author of the book, Dancing with a Porcupine, lead our large group with some tips to thrive during our “new normal”

 

7 tips for Thriving with Kids at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With school being cancelled all over the US, parents are struggling to figure out how to best help their children. As you navigate this unprecedented situation, here are 7 tips that will help you thrive in your new normal.

1. Don’t Panic

In the long run, our kids won’t remember necessarily the facts we taught them but they will remember how they felt during this time. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. This isn’t normal. It would be better for us to accomplish less and make this a positive experience.

2. Let Go of the Guilt

We aren’t experiencing life as normal. In fact, this isn’t normal homeschooling. We are in a national crisis and it’s not going to look perfect. It’s ok if your child is watching more tv than you’d hoped or you lose your cool sometimes. Go easy on yourself. Let’s get through this!

3. There’s no wrong way to do this

Some parents will choose to do a full day of school at home, while others will choose to treat it more like a summer break. For some, keeping up with the school work being sent home will be easy, but for others, especially those who are still working or who’s children require extra supports, it won’t. Do what works for your family and what you feel is best for your child. Don’t try to force something that isn’t working.

Do What Works for Your Family

4. Don’t do Regular School (or regular homeschool)

If you do choose to try to homeschool your child, remember that you don’t have to do a school all day. You can typically get done in a few hours what it takes all day to do in a regular classroom. This is an unprecedented time, and with all the change and possible anxiety, its ok to lighten the load a bit.

5. Get up and Move!

Try to get kids up and moving throughout the day. Especially for kids who’ve experienced trauma or who have sensory issues, the best thing you could do for them is to get them active. Throw on some music and have a dance party in the middle of the day.

6. Don’t be afraid of play

Consider places like Finland, where children don’t attend school until they’re seven years old and the schools incorporate lots of play into their day. Play actually does help kids learn.

According to the late Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child, “Scientist have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create new synapse in the brain – unless it is done with play, in which case, it takes between 10 and 20 repetitions.”

Maybe you can teach your child numbers by playing Go Fish or fractions by baking cookies. Put together puzzles. Make some memories.

7. Most Children Need Structure

My older children would fall apart without a lot of structure when they were younger. I hated schedules but, for them, they did better in the summer when I would plan out their time in thirty-minute increments and post a schedule. A schedule may help those children who can’t self-entertain or struggle with time management. Here is a schedule idea from BIAS Behavioral:

 

You can also work with your child to come up with a schedule. This can create buy-in for the schedule. If you are parenting a child who struggles to do anything without you, this may be a good time to help them understand that a family makes sure that everyone’s needs are met, not just one person’s. Talk with your child about things that you need to accomplish throughout the day and work on your schedule together. You can even use a timer to indicate when you will be working on something that doesn’t include them and then a timer for how long you will play a game with them. Giving them a time-frame for when you will be working versus helping them can communicate that their needs are important and help them develop patience.

If you have a child who really struggles doing anything without you but you need to get something done, consider getting them started on a game near where you are working. Have your children take turns moving your game piece for you. That way, they feel like you’re still involved even though you are getting other things accomplished.

If you keep these key points in mind, you will be able not just to survive this challenging time but thrive. Also, consider joining us for our weekly, online support group for a supportive community and more tips.  

Tip Jar

Everyone involved in Thrive Parenting is a volunteer. If you appreciate the time of our special guests and small group leaders, consider leaving a tip. We will use the money to give them a token of our appreciation for spending time with our group.

Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

Previous Groups

We record a portion of the large group time so that ideas shared there can be available to everyone even if they couldn’t make it to the meeting.

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

During the training time of week 2 of the Thrive Parenting Support group, Melissa Porcaro, an occupational therapist from Richland, Washington, led us in a discussion about meeting the sensory, proprioceptive and vestibular needs of kids while stuck inside during the coronavirus stay at home orders.

You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.