Dear Parents and Caregivers,

This school year has presented challenges unlike any other year. We are grieving the loss of many back-to-school traditions, such as school supply and clothes shopping, walks into school on the first day, or just not leaving home for school at all. We may have had to physically rearrange our homes for full or part-time at-home learning. These examples, along with countless other changes, unknowns, and challenges elevate the level of stress and anxiety in adults and children.

The GetSet community, a coalition of local resource providers for families, wants you to know our deep desire to show up for you and provide the resources you need to be the best parent or caregiver you can be. These are times of high-stress and anxiety and they affect our physical and mental health as well as relationships with those around us.

We’ve pooled our collective resources to bring together these online tools and resources for you. They focus on building resilience, overcoming the loss and grief this season may bring, and promote learning at home in both ourselves and children as we face the challenges of a very different school year.

We are all in this together and we will make it to the other side. As resource providers, we are still learning the best way to show up for families in these different times. If you have ideas or any feedback on how we can show up for your family, please email getsettoolkits@gmail.com.

In Hope for a Smarter, Stronger, and Kinder Community,

The GetSet Coalition

 

Listed here are online resources to use independently or with the GetSet Transylvania Back-to-School bags. Keep scrolling for articles, videos, and tips pertaining to the struggles, anxieties, and grief we may be feeling at the start of this very different school year.

Sesame Street in Communities – R is for Resilience

Providing consistent love and support during the challenges life inevitably throws our way is a crucial element to helping kids develop a resilient attitude and spirit. This video features furry loveable Elmo trying hard to master a new skill as Alan watches on and offers support and help.

PBS- How to Support Your Child for a Very Different School Year

“When we take time to talk about and practice the ‘little things’ — the routines and skills that support academic growth — it will make a big difference, whatever school looks like for your family.” This article focuses on the ways we as parents and/or caregivers can ensure kids have what they need to do their job of learning. From empowering children with routine(s), building healthy habits to cultivate wellness, and why it is important to share your own excitement about them learning and growing this coming year– this article also links to various other publications, articles and/or resources that are full of pertinent and valuable material. 

PBS- Helping Kids Navigate Regression from Stress due to Covid-19

“Are the kids going to be okay?” is the topic of this article as it is a theme and topic of many conversations these days. A big takeaway from this article is this, “How are you feeling? Our emotional wellbeing is the most important ingredient for our children’s emotional wellbeing.” Creating a safe-space for vulnerability and transparency around emotions and big feelings is key in addition to finding meaning in difficult situations (i.e. what can we learn from this?). Then, it all comes back to wellness, which can seem to be a buzzword these days, but there is truth and proof to eating well, sleeping enough, moving our bodies and how these habits of wellness translate to a clearer mind. 

Healthy Children- Helping Children Handle Stress

This article points out stress-induced behavior changes in children that are older, such as 5th-8th grade. Children are as varied as the rest of us and different kids respond or react to stress in various ways. As well, this article discusses “good and bad stress” and points out that “successfully managing stressful situations or events enhances a child’s ability to cope in the future”. However, toxic and prolonged stress takes both a physical and psychological toll on young minds and bodies. This article is filled with links to other topics such as overscheduled children, tantrums, depression, death of a parent and more and is rooted in research and studies from The American Board of Pediatrics.

 NaturePlay SA- Family, Nature, & Covid-19

This downloadable and printable packet is nearly a toolkit in itself! Nature Play South Australia is a non-profit with a vision of “inspiring the community to engage children in nature with outdoor learning and play.” Divided into two sections, this resource focuses on (1) “maintaining mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19” and (2)“practical ideas and inspiration to do as a family”. This resource will be especially functional for families with various ages of children and adults living together and/or for families choosing to homeschool or opt for full-time remote learning. Balancing “green and screen time”, rediscovering childhood through outdoor play, learning from home, working from home and so (so) much more is detailed in this incredible resource. At the end of each section is a list of linked resources pertaining to the aforementioned information. Transylvania County boasts  a rich, vibrant, and diverse outdoor community–this resource aligns seamlessly with our appreciation for the beautiful place we call home and how we can utilize its natural gifts to our advantage!

“Coronavirus is changing our lives, and we’re grieving because of it…”

Are you and/or your child feeling sadness and disappointment about losses, unmet expectations and unwelcome changes for this school year?  While the contents of this bag are focused on building resilience, one of the first steps in building resilience is to acknowledge how we feel. At some point during this time, we’ve probably all felt symptoms of grief – numbness, denial, anger, sadness, irritability, frustration. We are grieving many facets of the loss of life in the pre-Coronavirus world. The difficult part of this type of loss is no formal ritual or built-in extra support exists like when we are grieving the loss of a loved one.

To help with acknowledging both the loss and the gains in this pandemic world, we’ve included in your take-home bag, as well as below, a document called the COVID-19 Time Capsule. This document is helpful for documenting what your children are experiencing now, so they can look back and remember how they coped and what they’ve overcome – a key part of building resilience. The links to the two articles above are for you and the child/children in your care to explore and overcome the sadness, disappointment, and grief you may be feeling.

Click on the images below for the full versions of:

My Covid-19 Time Capsule – Places to Play in Transylvania County – Chalk & Construction Ideas

image for time capsule link