Resilience—the ability to bounce back from a difficult situation—this isn’t just something people are born with. Dr. Wendy Moss, author of Magination Press book, Bounce Back: How to Be a Resilient Kid, provides kids with exercises and strategies to build resilience. During this especially challenging time, the chapters about handling decisions, disappointments, and new challenges and about coping with unchangeable situations can be useful. In this blog post, Dr. Moss offers insights and tips to help your child cope with the stress and life changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months ago, most of us could not have anticipated the changes in lifestyle and the way COVID-19 could infiltrate our communities and cause fear, illness, and even death. So, how can we support children as they try to cope with staying home, not being in school or in extracurricular activities, not being able to follow their favorite sports teams, not seeing friends, and possibly knowing that all these changes are due to the presence of a dangerous virus? This blog provides strategies to help children deal with the general stresses created by the pandemic, not specific situations such as someone they know being ill with or having died from the virus. Focus On Yourself Children often judge whether a situation is scary, out-of-control, or manageable by watching and listening to trusted adults. As you read some of the tips to help your children, try them on yourself first so you can convey that you are able to cope with this situation that is out of your control. Support Your Child Casually talk with your children about their understanding of, and feelings about, what is happening in their world. Talk to each child individually since the conversation may end up being different depending upon their age and personality. They may have inaccurate information that makes it even more scary. Let your children know what you and your family can do and are in control of (e.g., staying home; proper hygiene) and that grown-ups have a plan to deal with the virus, even though it will take time. Just make sure that you believe what you say before reassuring your child! Ask how your children feel about the changes in their daily activities. Some children may not be anxious because they like the extra time at home. However, some children are overwhelmed by the change in their regular routine and their fears of illness. Just being able to share these feelings can be a relief for many children. This time at home can be an opportunity. Ask your kids to share their ‘wish list’ of family activities. You can also add some. Having everyone at home can be a great time to play games, teach each other about interests, tell stories about ancestors, or make up silly stories. Since we must physically distance ourselves from each other, this is a great time to look for creative ways to connect or reconnect with friends or family. Encourage your child toRead More
About Wendy L. Moss, Ph.D.Wendy L. Moss, PhD, ABPP, FAASP, has her doctorate in clinical psychology, is a licensed psychologist, and has a certification in school psychology. Dr. Moss has practiced in the field of psychology for more than 30 years and has worked in hospital, residential, private practice, clinic, and school settings. She has the distinction of being recognized as a diplomate in school psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology for her advanced level of competence in the field of school psychology. Dr. Moss has been appointed as a fellow in the American Academy of School Psychology. In addition, some of her published books include Bounce Back: How to Be a Resilient Kid, Being Me: A Kid's Guide to Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem, and Children Don't Come With an Instruction Manual: A Teacher's Guide to Problems That Affect Learners; coauthor, with Donald A. Moses, MD, of The Tween Book: A Growing-Up Guide for the Changing You; coauthor, with Robin A. DeLuca-Acconi, LCSW, of School Made Easier: A Kid's Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools; coauthor, with Susan A. Taddonio, DPT, of The Survival Guide for Kids With Physical Disabilities & Challenges. Dr. Moss has also written several articles.
When a situation arises where someone is being treated unfairly, excluded, ridiculed, or even bullied, what can a person who is watching do? What can a person do if he or she perceives an injustice in the home, school, community, or world? As a bystander (a person witnessing a situation), a person can become a negative bystander, a neutral bystander, or a positive bystander (also referred to as an Upstander). Parents try to teach their children to stand up for themselves, and others, in challenging situations. Magination Press’s book, Stand Up! Be an Upstander and Make a Difference, by Wendy L. Moss, Ph.D, explores what it means to be an Upstander. Dr. Moss offers suggestions for how children can make positive changes in the world, while encouraging them to brainstorm ideas of their own. This adapted excerpt from Chapter 8 identifies some ways kids can be Upstanders. At home Use relaxation skills and respectful communication tools during disagreements with siblings or adults. Use positive self-talk to remain confident before working to help others. Spend time with others, including older or younger siblings, showing them you value their company and ideas. At school Try to include instead of exclude. Sometimes it would be helpful and even fun to include a student who seems to be alone or lonely. Talk with other students about what they think needs to be done to make your school more peaceful. Work with others toward this goal using skills learned in Stand Up! Use the power of a smile! Smile and even say hello to lots of different people who might be receptive to this attempt to engage and acknowledge them. In your neighborhood (after getting parent permission) Offer to help out neighbors who find physical tasks challenging by walking their dog, shoveling snow, or taking out their garbage. Fight loneliness. Where appropriate, visit family friends or relatives who may be lonely, or organize a group to visit a local retirement home. Identify ways to help your neighborhood, like picking up litter, creating a safe space for kids to hang out, or helping out at the library, and work with others to solve a problem. In the world (after getting parent permission) Find creative ways to support charities that work on areas important to you. For example, donate one of your birthday gifts, organize a lemonade stand and donate the money earned, or participate in a charity’s walk-a-thon and collect donations for each mile you walk. Help find a cure for a disease that has impacted someone you know. Research the disease and organizations searching for a cure. Raise awareness about the disease and collect donations to fund research. Work toward a big goal, like promoting world peace, by looking for organizations near home that share your goal. Be sure to check with an adult to make sure they feel comfortable with you communicating with the organization, local or otherwise, directly. Being an Upstander means speaking out when you see injustice or bullying. It also meansRead More