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    Dear Middle School Students and Parents,

    First, on behalf of the the Counselors, let me express our best wishes to you and your family. We hope that this difficulty passes and we are all back at school together again. While you are at home, you are no doubt receiving assignments from your teachers. I know that is sometimes confusing and anxiety producing. How do I know this? Because I have a son in 7th grade! Most of the time, he understands what the teacher is expecting,but not always. What do you do, and how do you handle that?

    We have some tips that may be useful.

    1. Email your teacher or use Google classroom to seek clarification.

    2. Routine is important for many students, especially for those who can become overwhelmed easily or have special needs.  Creating a visual schedule where children can see what the day will include can be extremely helpful.  Again, the schedule at home does not need to be identical to the school schedule, but including time for movement breaks, art, music, along with academic time can be useful for everyone.  If you need assistance with creating a schedule, please reach out.  Routines can decrease incidents of anxiety and depression.

    3. Set some goals each day. Finish a book, plan a project, bake some cookies, master a song on your musical instrument, you name it. But get busy. Feeling a sense of accomplishment, even with little things, can also be the antidote for anxiety and depression.

    4. Stay connected. A little XBox with friends can be a nice way to stay connected, but not too much! Call or text a friend, or use Zoom to video chat. Check the MS Instagram feed and read our Morning Announcements each day. Staying connected can also decrease feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety.

    5. The Guidance Office is always so busy with students asking questions and talking with their counselors.! For now, email your counselor with questions and concerns, or just to say hi. Our emails are on the opening page of the Guidance Webpage.

    6. In keeping with Social Distancing directives, try to get some exercise. Movement is a great way to control depression and anxiety. Did you know that years ago, I coached the Boys 7th Grade Soccer Team? That is true. I remember my "boys" not being able to sit still at times. Students your age need to move! What kind of exercise can you do at home? Go outside!  When there are opportunities to get outside, take advantage.  There are so many learning opportunities that can occur outdoors whether it involves going on a hike, camping out in the backyard, etc.  In addition to getting excercise, studies show that being outside promotes a natural energy brain boost, helps provide a sense of calm and relaxation, enhances creativity, and increases focus.

    7. Read every day!  This includes reading to your kids and listening to them read.  Audio books count too.  Find books/genres they enjoy or share your favorites from growing up.  There are many free resources that are available to parents.  Please let us know if you need recommendations.

    8. Recreating your child's typical school setting in your house is not necessary.  Sitting outside, on the couch, or on the floor can be preferred spots for your child and where they may work best.  That's okay!  Again, this is unchartered territory and your child being comfortable is most important. 

    9. Embrace your child being bored.  Today, many of us are used to jam-packed schedules and having most days planned.  Now that your child is home from school, it is understandable to feel pressure to have every minute planned at home.  You are likely to hear your child say,"I'm bored" more times than you can imagine, but that's okay.  Down time can often lead to the most creativity for children/adolescents.  

    10. Play!  This is for all ages.  Board games, puzzles, card games, basketball, tag, etc. THis is a great opportunity to connect with your kids.

    11. Doing the laundry, preparing a favorite meal, etc. are all teachable moments.

    12. Encourage writing letters or keeping a journal.  One day, your child may enjoy looking back at his/her day at home and family/friends will really appreciate it and maybe even become a pen pal 🙂.

    13. Give yourself a break. Expect frustration, acknowledge feelings and lend encouragement. We will all get through this.

     

    In addition to the above items, I will be posting some activities in the coming days that you can do at home. They will center around themes of Career Exploration and Social/Emotional Learning. 

    So visit our site often. 

    Yours very truly,

     Mr. Muzio, Director of Guidance

    Mr. Ward, School Counselor

    Mrs. Gilley, School Counselor

    Mr. Bloom, School Counselor