Week 1

Your Attitude Affects Outcome

Your attitude as a parent affects the anxiety level in your home.

Our children pick up on our moods and concerns. We need to be careful about what we choose to focus on and how we express ourselves during this uncertain, rapidly changing time.

Consider Your News Sources

  • What are you reading?
  • How often are you checking the news?
  • What are you talking about and how are you talking to friends and family?

Increase Interactions

Your children need reassurance right now. The following ideas are a few ways you can accomplish this.
 

Let Gratitude Boost Your Immune System

Stress hormones can make us sick, but gratitude helps us reduce them. So grab some paper or an extra notebook and close out every single day with at least 3 things you’re grateful for. When you’re feeling anxious, address the things that are stressing you out. Don’t deny the tough stuff, but determine to focus more time on the good things in your life.

Prompts for Meaningful Discussion

The following three prompts can be spread out over the week. Plan for at least 15 minutes to have these conversations.

Consider the following model:

  • Have one person read the prompt.
  • Let each person respond to the prompt, speaking uninterrupted as long as needed. (Younger children may need encouragement and questions to keep sharing.)
  • Remind each person to respond to the question, not what anyone else has said.
  • After everyone has spoken, talk about what you learned from each other and about each other. What did you have in common?
  • Make a plan as a family to keep practicing the things you’ve each learned through your family discussion.
Prompt #1: Practicing Gratitude

“What are some of the things for which you each are grateful?”

Let each person share their thoughts. Consider having one person jot down each thing so you can post it somewhere in the house where you can all see it.

Concluding Your Conversation: When we’re grateful, we’re able to cope with difficulties much more effectively. We’re also better able to take care of ourselves when we’re grateful than when we are sad or fearful.

End your conversation by reviewing the ways gratitude actually boosts our immune system. Encourage one another to practice more gratitude daily.

Prompt #2: Taking a Break

“What are some things we can do when we need to take a break or calm down?”

Affirm your children’s ideas! Post everyone’s ideas on the refrigerator and keep adding to them as you think of new ones.

Concluding Your Conversation: End your conversation with acknowledgement that while social media might feel like a break, it can actually raise our anxiety levels. Encourage one another to try some of these new ways to take a break instead of turning to electronics.

Prompt 3: The Difference Between Avoiding and Coping

“What are examples of and the differences in avoiding something and coping with it?”

For Youngers: Encourage them to talk about a time they may have been afraid of the dark, but eventually were able to go to bed alone. (If your child hasn’t mastered this yet, choose another area of growth you’ve seen in him or her.)

For Olders: Encourage them to talk about what happens when they have a disagreement with a friend. What’s the difference between choosing to ignore them or mustering courage to talk things through with that friend?

Concluding Your Conversation: “When we cope with something, it is no longer stressful, but when we avoid something, it takes our effort to be sure we stay removed from it.”

Rehearse Affirmations

Affirmations can help us focus most of our thoughts on positive things. Try these and then make some with your children!

  • “I am learning to be grateful for what I have while being excited about what is to come.”
  • “Each devastation is an opportunity for transformation, and my gratitude evolves as I do.”
  • “I have so many people who touch and enrich my life.  I am thankful for them.”
  • “I welcome all the ways the universe wants to bless me.”
  • “My thanksgiving is perpetual; it survives every obstacle because I am willing to keep it alive.”

 

Practice Mindfulness

Use the following mindfulness recordings to help you and your child relax throughout the week. Use them as many times throughout the week as needed and remind each other of the concepts you’re learning.

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