Dear Sprague Community,
As part of a diverse community at Sprague, I am sure that we have a wide range of responses to the election results and what they signify to us personally. Older children are certainly aware of the extreme negativity during the campaign. Whatever our opinion of the outcome, our children are looking to us to be strong and steady so they can maintain their sense of safety and well-being. Here are some excerpts from an article referenced below that you may find helpful at home: (Skip to the bottom for school news :))
Guidelines for Responding to Stressful Events with our Children
Model healthy coping skills
Your kids will look to you not only for reassurance, but how to deal with their own complicated emotions. Allow yourself enough private time to process what you’re going through so you have the resources to be there for them. But don’t feel like you need to hide signs of distress all the time — should you children see you get upset, you can be an example by telling them that you may be feeling sad right now, but you have ways to help yourself feel better soon.
Inspire a positive response
Kids need to rediscover a sense of personal empowerment and resilience after an event very much out of their control. Help them direct their feelings constructively and consider what they can do to help others. Having them write a card or volunteering as a family not only gives them something positive to focus on, but also sets the tone for giving back through anything life brings.
Limit exposure to news
Don’t rely on the news to give your child the information they’re looking for. Sounds and images from news reports are often too vivid for children. It’s important to clarify their confusion and give honest answers, but stick to the basic facts and follow up with the reassurance that their safety is the most important thing to you.
Guide the conversation
Think about what you want to say. It’s OK to practice in your head, to a mirror or with another adult. Some advanced planning may make the discussion easier. You won’t have to think about it off the top of your head.
Find a quiet moment. Perhaps this is after dinner or while making the next day’s lunch. This is time and place where your children can be the center of your attention.
Find out what they know. Ask them “What have you heard about this?” And then listen. Listen. Listen. And listen more.
Share your feelings with your child. It is OK to acknowledge your feelings with your children. They see you are human. They also get a chance to see that even though upset, you can pull yourself together and continue on. Parents hear it often: Be a role model. This applies to emotions, too.
Tell the truth. Lay out the facts at a level they can understand. Sometimes the answer to the question is “I don’t know.”
Above all, reassure. At the end of the conversation, reassure your children that you will do everything you know how to do to keep them safe and to watch out for them. Reassure them that you will be available to answer any questions or talk about this topic again in the future. Reassure them that they are loved.
Take care of yourself
Talking about and experiencing difficult news can be exhausting. Don’t forget to take care of yourself: Turn off the news. Take a break. Engage in physical activity. Do something that will lift your spirits and those of your family.
Candy Drive News
Thanks to all who helped kids write letters to soldiers last week. Jen Stabnick had kids make cards in Art as well, so we had some great cards and letters that will be enjoyed! We collected 426.8 pounds of candy! It turned out that was the most proportionally of any participating school. I never really publicized it, but there was a prize for the school that collected the most candy and we won it this year! Since we really didn’t want kids to bring in candy for a prize, but rather to do something nice for troops, we consider this to be ‘found money’ and will be engaging kids in some brainstorming about how we could give this money away to do some good. So…..we have $1000 to give away. We will convene a school “congress” to decide how to give the money away. This will involve sending one delegate from each class to decide how to donate the money. I think there a couple of really good lessons for children in this: giving, thinking of others, making a difference, and democratic decision-making.
In other news, the 5th grade classes have made a connection with a scientist in Antarctica. He came to Sprague a few weeks ago and shared some information about his environmental studies there. The 5th grades will be skyping with him in Antarctica a week from Monday. Exciting!!!
Toys for Tots
We will be collecting new toys for the Toys For Tots drive beginning next week and ending Dec. 9.
Dates to remember:
Nov. 21: School Council meeting at 3:15 PM
Nov. 24, 25: Thanksgiving Break
Nov. 28: PD day for teachers—no school for kids
Dec. 8: Cookie Walk
Dec. 21: Day of Play