Thank you for visiting my page! I am a school psychologist and a member of the Child Study Team. Please review the below resources and information to help you and your family during these uncertain times:
Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents
The current climate of divisiveness, anger and fear in this country is having a significant impact on many children and adults. Feelings of uncertainty are particularly heightened for communities and families struggling to understand and cope with hate-based violence, discriminatory or threatening actions or speech, and shifting policies that are causing new uncertainties for specific populations. This marks an important time for families and schools to work together to foster supportive relationships, to help children understand their emotional reactions, and to teach effective coping and conflict resolution strategies. The tips and related resources in this document are intended to help you support your children.
- It is important for parents to understand the effect of stressors and trauma on life functioning. Experiencing stress and adversity can contribute to both internal symptoms (such as anxiety, depression, grief, fear, anger, and isolation) and external behaviors (such as reactivity, aggression, and behavior problems). Children may be concerned about actions or statements that they hear or see in the news. Recent events in their communities or reported in the media may cause children to fear that they or their family and friends may be targeted because of their gender, race, cultural or religious background, sexual orientation, or immigration status.
- The following represent concerning reactions that you should monitor in your children.
- Isolation or refusal to attend school.
- Withdrawal from peers or social activities.
- Withdrawal from extracurricular activities at school or in the community.
- Reports of bullying, harassment, or intimidation in school, the community, or on social media.
- You can promote a sense of safety for children by doing the following.
- Set limits around television and social media viewing, because too much exposure can increase fears.
- Provide a consistent structure and routine for children, as this helps to generate a sense of psychological safety.
- Provide a safe place for your children to talk about their fears.
- Encourage healthy and safe coping strategies.
- Emphasize that there are many adults in this country who care deeply about them and who will do all they can to ensure that children and their families are safe and remain together.
- Maintain contact with your children’s teachers, as they can connect children with supports inside the school where they can talk through their feelings and reactions.
- Seek help immediately from your school’s psychologist, counselor, social worker, and/or nurse if your child is experiencing strong emotional reactions and/or you have noticed significant changes to his/her behavior.
- Immediately report any instances of bullying, harassment, or discrimination that your child observes or experiences to school administrators.
- Report hate crimes to local law enforcement.
- Adult reactions can influence children’s’ reactions. Children may look to adults to determine how to respond and cope with stress. You can model appropriate coping strategies in the following ways.
- Communicate with loved ones about feelings and healthy coping strategies.
- Take care of your own physical health.
- Make time to do things you enjoy with family and friends in your community.
- Access school and community resources. Many schools have parent and/or cultural liaisons who can help connect families to supports in their communities.
- Help others in your community by referring them to helpful resources.
- Reinforce and focus on your child’s strengths, and promote their sense of belonging. All children and families bring unique skills, strengths, and knowledge to our society. Build and emphasize those strengths in the following ways.
- Help your children find others who allow them to share their knowledge about their origins, customs, and culture.
- Identify positive activities that can help your children feel they are heard. For example, students can write a letter to the president-elect expressing their hopes and desires for the new administration.
- Identify activities your children can engage in to show support and solidarity for each other and for their local and school communities.
- Remember that at any time, should you or your children struggle with feelings of stress, please reach out to your school and community organizations for support. While many families may fear drawing attention to their diverse backgrounds, there are individuals and organizations who want to help. Talk to representatives of your school or local cultural or faith organizations.
National Association of School Psychologists. (2019). Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author.
Social justice is both a process and a goal that requires action. School psychologists work to ensure the protection of the educational rights, opportunities, and well-being of all children, especially those whose voices have been muted, identities obscured, or needs ignored. Social justice requires promoting non-discriminatory practices and the empowerment of families and communities. School psychologists enact social justice through culturally-responsive professional practice and advocacy to create schools, communities, and systems that ensure equity and fairness for all children and youth. - (Adopted by the NASP Board of Directors, April 2017).
As we navigate the concerns arising regarding COVID – 19, it is important to consider the emotional, as well as, the physical impact this can have on our children and families. Thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and continued support as we work through the new and unusual circumstances we are facing.
Although the school building will be closed beginning March 16, please know that I will be available to respond to emails during the day from 9:00am-1:00pm.
Please email me with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Association of School Psychologists has issued the following guidance for families regarding COVID-19: (This resources is available in multiple languages)
The CDC shares excellent information about managing stress and anxiety (see below).
Coping with COVID-19 Stress
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Things you can do to support yourself:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, walk, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and substances.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with and contribute to others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
You can also visit the following sites for more information: