Gratitude As A Life Skill

Check out this video from Go Strengths: Nik receives an assignment in school to write down all the things he is grateful for in his Gratitude Journal. He has a hard time thinking of things to be grateful for, but when his friend Sam gives him a pair of GoGoggles!, he sees the world in a different way. He realizes there are many things around him that are part of his everyday life for which he can be grateful.

Go Strengths is an online resources for parents, teachers and mental health professionals that focused on eight skills for wwell-being: goal-setting, problem-solving, resilience, optimistic thinking, character strengths, emotional intelligence, social connections, and self-confidence. Click here to learn more.

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Helping Your Child Cope with Conflict

Help Children Act Calm

  • Let them know that it takes more courage to walk away from a fight than to stay and fight.
  • Teach them that fights don’t solve problems—they make new ones.
  • Remind them that when they get mad but don’t fight, they have really won.

Sometimes, getting along with other kids is hard. Some kids:

  • Get into fights when they are angry.
  • Get teased a lot.
  • Encourage others to fight.

This can make your child feel bad or get in trouble. Teach your child how to deal with anger and stay out of trouble.

Everyone Gets Mad

Anger doesn’t usually last a long time, but it is a very strong feeling when it happens. Children get mad when:

  • Their feelings are hurt or they can’t do what they want.
  • Others don’t understand them or lie about them.
  • They feel left out or others don’t act the way they want.

When children are mad, their bodies react:

  • Their hearts beat faster and their faces feel hot and sweaty.
  • It might be hard to breathe and they can’t think clearly.
  • They have a lot of energy and want action.

When children are angry, it is:

  • Good to put their feelings into words.
  • Not good to hit someone, break things, or say things that hurt.

Teach Your Child to ACT CALM

When children get mad, they can ACT:

Acknowledge – Acknowledge angry  feelings.Notice changes in their bodies.

Calm down – Breathe deeply, count t o 10, or walk away.Punch a pillow, run, or play music.

Think and talk – Think about the problem and ways to fix it. If someone doesn’t know what children are trying to say or do, they need to explain themselves.Talk with someone about being mad and ways to fix  the problem without fighting. If there is nobody to talk to right away, stop and think, “This is why I’m mad and what I need to do is …”

If someone tries to start a fight, your child can be the one to stay CALM:

Calm down – Keep a safe distance from the other person. Take slow, deep breaths. Stay alert and stand tall.

Avoid – Avoid name-calling or returning insults. It only makes things worse. Avoid other kids who may want to fight. Try to talk in private with the kid who wants to fight.

Listen – Calmly listen to what the other kid says. Ask, “What does this person really want?”

Move on – Find ways to solve the problem without fighting. Use humor. “I wouldn’t want you to catch my cold.”Give a reason.  “We’ll both get thrown off the team if we fight.” Walk away. If nothing else works, it’s best to walk away.

Children do what they see others do. You are your child’s most important role model.

If your child is still having trouble getting along with other kids, talk with your pediatrician.


Source: Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics) The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Fun Family Rituals

Here are some fun family rituals to add to your family’s calendar:

Family video night. Rent a movie, order in a pizza, make popcorn. The only difficulty may be agreeing on something the whole family wants to watch (and is appropriate for teens and younger children). Again, alternate choices among family members.

Sharing the Sunday newspaper over a special breakfast. This is a ritual with Mom and Dad in mind. Or what about all going out to a restaurant for brunch?

Buy a special dessert to transform dinner into an occasion, and not just on birthdays, wedding anniversaries and graduations. Celebrate family members’ achievements. An unexpected high grade on a test at school or a promotion at work deserves a cake—with candles and an inscription. Be creative!

Spiritual pursuits bring many families together, whether it’s attending services or saying grace together at the dinner table.

Sit around together flipping through old photo albums or watching vintage family videos and home movies. You’ll relive fond memories and give one another hiccups laughing at the sight of certain members’ now-outdated hairstyles and assorted fashion faux pas. “Wow, Dad: Really nice leisure suit.”

Take a car ride. Where? Anywhere. Take the slow, scenic route and stop off at whatever looks interesting.

Go bowling together. Golf and miniature golf are two other examples of individual sports that you can do together.

Build a fire in the fireplace, or at a camping ground, or on the beach, and share stories.

Cook dinner together, with each member of the family taking part.

Play board games, cards, dominoes and so on.

Communal chores or collaborating on a household project can be a lot of fun.


Source: Caring for Your Teenager (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Feed Families, Not Landfills

Each year, Americans across the country are making difficult choices. Many people are forced to choose between buying food or buying medicine; parents are forced to go hungry so their children don’t, and working families are forced to choose between paying their utilities or putting food on the table.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, around 14 percent of American households do not get enough food to live active, healthy lifestyles. What makes this sad fact even harder to digest is this- a significant portion of the food tossed into our nations’ landfills is wholesome, edible food. By redirecting that unspoiled food from the landfill to our neighbors in need, an organization can support its local community; reduce its environmental impact, and save money.

What Kind of Food Can Be Donated?

Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters. Typical food bank donors include large manufacturers, supermarket chains, wholesalers, farmers, food brokers, and organized community food drives. Perishable and prepared foods are typically collected from restaurants, caterers, corporate dining rooms, hotels, and other food establishments for prompt distribution to hungry people in their communities. Donated food includes leftovers from events and surplus food inventory.

Check with your local food bank or food rescue operation (soup kitchen, shelter, etc.) to find out what items they will accept. Your local food bank will often pick up the donations free of charge, reducing warehouse storage and disposal costs.

Where Can I Donate Food?

Food pantries, food banks, and food rescue programs are available across the country to collect food and redistribute it to those in need. Local and national programs frequently offer free pick-up and/or reusable containers to donors

Food banks are community-based, professional organizations that collect food from a variety of sources and save the food in warehouses. The food bank then distributes the food to hungry families and individuals through a variety of emergency food assistance agencies, such as soup kitchens, youth or senior centers, shelters and pantries. Most food banks tend to collect less perishable foods such as canned goods because they can be stored for a longer time.

Food rescue programs take excess perishable and prepared food and distribute it to agencies and charities that serve hungry people such as soup kitchens, youth or senior centers, shelters and pantries. Many of these agencies visit the food bank each week to select fresh produce and packaged products for their meal programs or food pantries. Many also take direct donations from stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and individuals with surplus food to share.


Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/foodrecovery/fd-donate.htm). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Family: Building Competence, Confidence, Connection and Character

Contribution is interwoven with competence, confidence, connection, and character as an integral thread in the web of resilience.

Competence
When children actively participate in volunteer activities, they develop new competencies by giving and doing. They discover new interests and talents they may not know they have. If a project involves raising money for a good cause, for example, kids learn that they are capable of knocking on doors, talking to adults in a polite and convincing way, counting up their collection, and sending it in. They learn individual skills such as organization and responsibility, as well as the bigger lesson—they have accomplished something meaningful. By contributing to someone else or efforts greater than themselves, children increase their life experiences and thus become more competent—“I can do this!” They gain a solid sense of their own abilities and worth.

Confidence
When children carry out these efforts, they become more confident about themselves because they have demonstrated their abilities. They can see actual results—a collection of dollars or canned goods, smiles and applause from grateful nursing home residents, 20 stacks of sandwiches made for a homeless shelter, or 10 bags of garbage cleaned up from a polluted creek or park. When young people contribute and make a difference in the world or others’ lives, they usually get positive feedback for their efforts, which further adds to their confidence and resilience. Children who volunteer and contribute to worthy causes not only gain confidence, but they also avoid problems.

Connection
Contribution also helps young people forge connections with their neighborhoods, schools, and world. From participating in local community service projects or drives that provide food, medicine, pencils, and paper to schools across the world, children gain a sense of purpose. They can see beyond their near horizons and recognize their place in the human family and on our common planet. The more strongly they feel connected, the more resilient they become. They learn that someone else is always poorer, hungrier, or less cared for than they are. They come to appreciate their blessings and with gratitude, learn to give something back. They will also learn that giving and receiving, sharing during times of plenty, and asking for help during difficult times are normal, healthy things for humans to do. We want our children to know that just as they give, they will receive if misfortune hits. If they are to be resilient in the face of an unforeseen tragedy, this is a vital lesson.

Volunteer Opportunities
When looking for volunteer opportunities, talk with children about their interests and try to match them with appropriate community resources. Don’t do all this for them, but guide them along. Encourage them to ask at school or a local library where they can find volunteer openings. If children are interested in animals, for example, they might look for local animal or bird sanctuaries. When children become involved in volunteer activities, they will likely work with adults who are good role models. As they work alongside adults who contribute to worthwhile causes, children not only learn specific skills but also connect with adults who are working to make a difference, and that will have a positive influence on your children.

Character
Contribution strengthens character because it develops desirable traits such as responsibility, generosity, and caring. Children learn responsibility when they volunteer for a community project, for example. They know they have to follow through because others are depending on them; they have to show up on time and do their part.

The positive feedback they receive for their efforts and their own sense of accomplishment also enhance character. The more their generosity and caring are acknowledged, the more generous and caring they are likely to become.

Contribution is a 2-way street. When kids raise funds for cancer research or collect toys and books for disadvantaged children, they not only give some- thing, but they also get something. They realize that they have purpose and value, and the world is better because they are in it. We need to remember, too, that we adults need young people to contribute. They are our greatest resource for the future, so we need their contributions.


Author Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP. Last Updated 11/21/2015. Source Building Resilience in Children and Teens, 2nd Edition (Copyright (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.