COVID-19: 8 Articles

Increase Optimistic Thinking at Home: Part II

As we enter a new year full of new challenges, it is more important than ever to think optimistically. With the ongoing pandemic, social-emotional learning is more important now than ever. In creating our book, Dream It!: A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness, with my co-author Sara E. Williams, PhD, we did ground-breaking research that measured the effectiveness of strategies we identified to increase optimistic thinking in children. In our last post, we shared a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Child & Youth Care Forum, that validates Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness as scientifically proven to increase optimistic thinking. In this post, we’ll share strategies to help you teach your child to think optimistically and ways to bring books to life, both in general and specifically for our book, Dream It!. To help, we will provide some free games and activities, including a new augmented reality game. How to bring a book to life. As a parent or teacher, you may feel challenged to bring books to life for your children. One of the best ways to do this is to connect what you read in the book to your child’s life by providing hands-on experiences that allow them to explore the concepts personally. For example, if you were reading The Three Bears to a young child, you might make oatmeal or porridge for them to eat, or get them to compare the size of their bed to the size of your bed. In Dream It!, we use this approach to teach children how to dream and how to turn dreams into reality. We define dreaming as following your passion, thinking optimistically and setting goals. We teach these concepts by playing games and doing activities, each one having been tested in a real-world classroom. Games are fun and interactive ways to help your child explore concepts they read about. To try some, you can download a free sample of chapter 4. These are what we call bucket list games that help kids brainstorm their dreams. For example, the Dream Board activity is a way to help children collect new ideas in one place. Encourage them to add photos, ticket stubs, drawings, sticky notes — anything that sparks their passion. Then every day they can visualize their dreams coming true. After identifying their dreams, Dream It! shows kids how to sort their dreams according to values and skills and then deconstruct and recombine them to make up new and unique dreams. For example, a child might have the dream of being a cheetah. Adults might dismiss this dream because it’s impossible! However, we encourage children to use their imagination so they can discover their passions and reframe them into more feasible goals. We could ask a child who dreams of being a cheetah why they want to do that. They might say because they love running and being fast and feeling free. We would then help them explore other ways they achieve those same goals

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Increase Optimistic Thinking at Home: Part II 2020-12-30T22:02:43-05:00

Strategies for a Mindful Holiday During the Pandemic

The holidays can be hectic and stressful, even under the best of circumstances. But this year, due to the pandemic, many of our favorite holiday experiences may be different or put on hold. Concerts, performances, and big celebrations will likely be cancelled. Large family gatherings may be impossible. Shopping for gifts may have to happen online. You can still make the holidays special by slowing down and savoring the beauty and meaning of the season. This revised post from 2018 about creating a mindful holiday with your family provides pandemic-appropriate strategies to encourage your child to use their senses to notice what makes the season special, plus some Magination Press titles that may be helpful. You can give your family the gift of calm this holiday season by practicing mindfulness together. A silver lining of the pandemic’s change of plans is that it allows you more time to notice the beauty of the season. You don’t need to sit silently and meditate; you just need to slow down and be in the moment. You can model holiday mindfulness for your child by putting down your phone and other electronics and being present for each experience. Encourage your children to focus on their five senses and their hearts throughout the season. Here are some ideas to bring mindfulness to many common holiday activities and tasks: Concerts, plays, and other performances: These events will happen differently this year. Seek out favorite or new musical, theatrical, or dance performances online or happening outdoors in a socially distanced way. However they happen, these events are a feast for the eyes and ears. Encourage your child to watch and listen carefully. Ask them to think about how watching and listening to the performers makes them feel. At intermissions and afterward, talk about what each of you found the most beautiful, surprising, funny, or sad during the performance. Even if you don’t see a holiday performance, your family can create one of your own, singing favorite holiday songs or acting out favorite stories. Magination Press books Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart and My Singing Nana by Pat Mora explore how families enjoying music together can bring a family together. Decorations: Even if you don’t decorate your home for the holidays, you’ll be surrounded by decorations in your community. The sights, sounds, and smells can be captivating. Lights are a big part of many winter holidays, whether they are candles, twinkling lights on trees, or big displays. Talk with your child about lights as you see them or as you light candles. Why do they think lights are such an important part of many winter holiday celebrations? How do the lights make them feel? What are their favorite kinds of lights?   Share your tradition’s stories about the role of lights. Many of our holiday decorations have a distinctive scent: pine, melted wax, spices (think Gingerbread houses or clove and orange pomanders). Even fire in the fireplace–not necessarily a holiday thing, but

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Strategies for a Mindful Holiday During the Pandemic 2020-12-03T11:08:17-05:00

Increase Optimistic Thinking at Home or in School with Evidence-based Curriculum

Magination Press authors created a new social-emotional curriculum to help kids dream and set goals during these challenging times. As the new school year gets started in these different and unusual times, parents, caregivers, and teachers are faced with the challenge of supporting children’s social-emotional health and development, a facet of education that is more important now than ever. With many schools conducting classes virtually, teachers are looking for creative educational tools and parents are preparing to facilitate learning at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for children, including disruptions to their schooling, activities, and routines, and isolation from friends, teachers, and extended family members, resulting in the creation of many new stressors. Resources to support social-emotional learning (SEL)—activities to help children understand emotions, achieve goals, and work through challenges—are in high demand.  About the book and research study Magination Press’s book, Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness, by Sara E. Williams, PhD and Scott Stoll, is an evidence-based workbook that can be used as a curriculum to teach kids how to dream, set goals, and turn their passion into action.  A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Child & Youth Care Forum, validates that Dream It! is scientifically proven to increase optimistic thinking, hope, grit, and a growth mindset.1 Most importantly, teachers and kids find the games, lessons, and activities in the workbook to be fun, easy, and effective. It’s useful for anyone who wants to learn how to dream and set goals, including adults and, especially kids ages 8-12. Dr. Sara E Williams is a co-author of this research study and a co-author of Dream It!, the focus of this research. About the SEL curriculum Dream It! is perfect for kids working in a classroom, virtually, or in home-learning environments as a supplemental SEL activity, and the message is particularly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a very challenging time for everyone and it may not seem like our lives will go back to normal any time soon. It may be difficult for children, in particular, to understand what is happening. Using the foundation of Dream It! we can teach children that the dream is to stay healthy and protect the ones we love. So, the goal that was set by our society—and the whole world—is to temporarily ask everyone to stay at home to achieve this dream. From this starting point, we can inspire children to dream about what the world can look like after COVID-19, too! The full-color, 80-page workbook has games, quizzes, and activities that teach students how to dream (set goals) and start making their dream a reality one step at a time. A free facilitator’s guide and SEL curriculum supports in-school or at-home implementation, and the Dream It! website provides additional supplemental resources. Helping Kids See the Future At a time when the future is wildly uncertain and present-day routines have been upended, helping kids learn to think optimistically and envision better days is a priority. Dream

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Increase Optimistic Thinking at Home or in School with Evidence-based Curriculum 2020-09-02T12:16:44-04:00