Monthly Archives: April 2020

Parenting GT Kids in Extraordinary Times

Parents of GT children know it’s important to be honest and this is true when discussing COVID19. However, using age-appropriate language is still important. Many, not all, experience strong emotional reactions due to their depth of knowledge. The old KWL approach is a good starting point – “what do you know?”; “what do you want to know?”; and “what have you learned?”. Don’t fudge the facts. If you don’t know the answer, take time to see out trusted sources of information. Encourage older children to seek information and then discuss it with them. Help them distinguish fact from fiction.

How do parents maintain stability in our own lives in such unpredictable times? As adults, there’s a good chance we have already had uncertain/unpredictable circumstances in life. You can draw on personal experience with some modifications. Strive to stay positive, monitor your own anxiety, and practice self-compassion. One should maintain structure in your daily life, but be flexible when needed. Be thoughtful when talking to children. Look for opportunities to laugh and engage in fun activities.

There are strategies parents of GT kids can use to cope with life during a pandemic. Practically every expert recommends maintaining routines; getting up in the morning, preparing for the day ahead, regular meal times, exercise and play, completing school assignments, keeping in touch with friends and family. Be positive and reassure your kids that this will not last forever. Monitor your child’s mental health and seek help if necessary. Take time to educate your child on the importance of physical distancing, hand-washing, and being mindful of their physical health.

For many families, tackling education at home is a new experience. A good first strategy is to assess where your child is at educationally; their strengths and weaknesses. This may be an opportunity to accelerate their learning. So often parents of GT children seek individualized educational opportunities. Now can be the time to put ideas into action. Develop an education plan ‘with’ your child. Seek expert advice and see teachers as partners in the process.

How can parents rethink the pandemic as an unexpected opportunity? It’s easy to be stressed and overwhelmed by expectations of being the perfect parent – breadwinner, teacher, activities director. It’s also possible to see this as a time to be present in our children’s lives. In ordinary times, we all have time constraints that leave less time for kids. Spend time with them; no excuses. Make time to make good memories. Model the importance of giving back and paying it forward. Parents can teach their children mindfulness meditation, the power of taking deep breaths, and the importance of responding rather than reacting to situations. (Mahoney; 2020)

What can parents do to prepare their children for a Brave New World? Creating an atmosphere of love by connecting with family and friends can protect children from PTSD that will inevitably follow. Engage in frank discussions about how our world has changed & how to be problem solvers. Parents should use this time to prepare their children for life after an extended isolation period. Adopt new parenting strategies – teach kids the importance of working through uncomfortable feelings; cultivating compassion and connections; managing thoughts. (Mahoney; 2020)

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Suddenly Homeschooling: Resources for Parents of Gifted Children

Parenting in a Pandemic: Duke Experts on Helping Your Kids – And Yourselves

NAGC: Supporting Your Gifted Child during COVID-19 (pdf)

Parenting in a Pandemic

‘We’re all stressed out’: Parenting in a Pandemic Puts Additional Stress on Families, Children

Parenting Pandemic Style

Resources for Families during the Coronavirus Pandemic

How Parenting in a Pandemic is an Unexpected Opportunity

Cut Yourself Some Slack, Parenting in a Pandemic is a Rough Gig

How to Answer 7 Big Questions Kids have about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Modifications of Parenting Time during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stuck at Home: Parent Hacks for Homeschooling, Social Connection and More

Parenting Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips for Parents

Parenting in a Pandemic: 4 Tips for Survival

Parenting Right Now Is Really Hard

Give Yourself ‘Grace’ — and 7 Other Tips from Teachers to Homeschooling Families

Parental Bandwidth in the Time of Coronavirus (How to cope when your emotional resources are in short supply)

More Reading, More Cuddles, And Less Stress

Discipline Looks Different in a Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 56: Surviving and Thriving in Quarantine

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 57: The Stresses of Sheltering in Place

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 58: Preparing for Post-Pandemic Recovery

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 33: Note to Self – Be Nice to Me

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Staying Socially Connected while Physically Distancing with Guest, Heather Vaughn, EdS

The terms social and physical distancing as well as social connecting have become a part of daily conversation as we all are learning to cope with the consequences of our current situation. It is not too soon, however, to consider the long-term consequences physical distancing. It will affect personal (one-to-one) relationships, families, and businesses. It will fundamentally change the meaning of ‘society’. Physical distancing will realign interpersonal priorities and how we engage with each other. It’s vital to frame these changes in a positive light. It should be viewed as an opportunity to improve our lives. An inability to cope with physical distancing can lead to profound loneliness, neglecting daily self-care, increased substance abuse, and attention issues.

What are the risks to our mental health from social isolation? Social isolation can pose a major risk to our mental health leading to increased anxiety and depression. The very thought of not knowing when it will end, increases these risks. It can affect different age groups differently. Parents need to watch for warning signs in their children as well as themselves (and their own parents). Social isolation can increase the rate of cognitive decline in the elderly; including those in the gifted community. No one is immune.

Staying connected is necessary for the continuance of society. Few have lived experiences to understand the scope of this crisis. Empathetic leadership is crucial. Connecting by personally checking on friends and family, leveraging technology to connect, and making time for informal connections are all important. Practical steps to staying in touch can include a simple phone call to a friend or family member, video chatting, engaging in activities together yet remotely.

What strategies can teachers use to help students stay socially connected? Teachers can encourage and facilitate virtual performances by their GT students as well as provide authentic audiences when it is time to perform and assess. They can serve as virtual mentors and share time with students to practice their skills. Teachers who are working from home can offer resources to students and their families that ensure a continuity of learning such as virtual experiences (field trips/explorations), book clubs, tutorials, or online study groups.

How can parents facilitate social connections for their kids? Parents are among the greatest facilitators in this time of crisis. Children are more vulnerable now to the effects of misinformation, neglect, and isolation from their friends and family. They can seek to connect their children through technology being mindful that interpersonal relationships within the family are paramount. Finding a balance between tech and time together is the goal.

It may be hard to realize at the moment, but benefits can be realized from our current situation. Most people are coming to the realization just how important the work of teachers, medical professionals, and service workers are to the continuity of society. It’s an important lesson learned that can’t be forgotten. Everyone can seek to use this time to do those activities that they seemed to never have time to do in the past. View webinars for personal and professional development, take online classes, and of course – join in Twitter chats!

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Social Revisioning at a Distance

It’s Possible to Find Happiness in Times of Social Isolation

How to Talk to Teens & Young Adults about Social Distancing

Sprite’s Site: Social Distancing

We’re All In This Together How to Engage in Social Connection While Socially Distancing

MIT: In a Time of Physical Distancing, Connecting Socially across Generations is More Important than Ever

How to Stay Socially Connected while Social Distancing

How to Stay Socially Connected while Physically Apart

Why You Need to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

CAN: Staying Connected while Practicing Social and Physical Distancing

CAN: Immersive technologies to address social isolation: Is a technological solution feasible and desirable?

AUS: Staying Connected while Being Physically Apart: Wellbeing in the Time of Social Distancing

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Connection During Times of Social Distancing

Forget ‘Social Distancing.’ The WHO Prefers We call it ‘Physical Distancing’ because Social Connections are More Important than Ever

Univ. of Chicago: How to Connect with Others in the Age of Social Distancing

Physical vs. Social Distancing: Ways to Make Social Contact

Stay Connected in Your Communities

Allen, TX HS Students Create Group to Help People’s Physical and Mental Health During Coronavirus Pandemic

Duke: How to be Productive under Quarantine

How Duke Students are Staying Connected during Quarantine

How to Maintain Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Pandemic without Feeling Depressed

Social Distancing while Staying Connected for Better Mental Health

APA: Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe

Psych Central: The Importance of Staying Connected While Practicing Social Distancing

Harvard Medical: Apps to Keep Us Connected in a Time of Social Distancing

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Pages

Cybraryman’s Zoom Pages

Cybraryman’s Google Meet Pages

Cybraryman’s Skype Pages

Civic Action Opportunities: Community Resource Guide (Google Doc)

Connectivity for Gifted Students in the Age of Social Distancing

Image courtesy of Heather Vaughn and Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Self-Care in the Era of Covid19

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Jen Merrill and Kate Arms to discuss the need to remember the importance of self-care during the current coronavirus Pandemic. It was a much need topic for all those who participated.

Our first question dealt with how we can handle isolation well. First and foremost, we need to remember that we are all in this together; albeit, not necessarily in the same boat, but in the same ocean. Even the introverts among us have rarely experienced this level of isolation. Isolating oneself in an attempt to be alone is quite different from self-preservation and survival. In the past, isolation was an individual coping mechanism. Today, its significance is much more communal. It is important to remember that our current situation is indeed temporary and necessary. We must depend on others’ behavior and good judgement. In lieu of that, we must take our isolation seriously.

What should you say to kids about #COVID19/pandemics/social isolation? Parents and teachers of gifted children should be cognizant of a few things that may not apply to all children. As in any situation, each child may display a ‘unique’ response to our new reality. Special consideration should be given to asynchronous development. Chronological age may or may not be a factor in understanding daily events. Do not suppose that intellectual maturity is in sync with their emotional state. Adults should temper their language when discussing #COVID19 with children, but not condescend to them. These kids may well know more than you about the virus, but still need your emotional support.

First step in teaching the importance of self-care to children is to model the behavior you wish to see in your children. Look forward, not backward; you can’t change the past. Self-care is a journey. Take time to learn about self-care and understand what it means for your child’s future. When you realize its importance, it can become a part of your life-style and children become the beneficiaries. As parents and teachers, we know that you must first ‘learn the lesson’ before you can teach it. Be diligent in the learning process.

What can parents/teachers do to begin self-care? Reach for the proverbial ‘oxygen mask’ first before attending to those around you. You are the starting point. You will inevitably be called to be a care-giver at some point. Self-care begins with self-assessment. What do you already do to take care of yourself, what needs to change, and how do you get to the point where you need to be? Honesty and objectivity are key.

We are living in unprecedented times. Few of us ever conceived of needing to plan our lives to respond to a pandemic of this magnitude. In designing a plan to balance work, home and school, we’ll need to be creative. Life plans do not need to be perfect all at once. It is a balancing act. Effective plans evolve over time. Be kind to yourself. The old adage, ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ comes to mind.

Are there special considerations for GT/2E kids that parents should know? Parents can realize the need to be especially attentive to their child’s emotional state at any given time and consider how to respond to their needs in advance. Kindness, compassion, empathy, self-control … are all important. We are living in a new reality. Physical distancing doesn’t need to be social distancing. Be prepared for the ‘highs and lows’ of emotions. And as Jen Merrill often reminds us, ‘Don’t forget to laugh’! It may be difficult at times, but we are all in this together. Stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11AM AEDT/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

R10 Counselor Conversations: Self Care

How Do You Laugh at This Magnitude of Chaos?

It’s Not Just in Your Head: Self-Care for Moms of Gifted Children

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth (book)

Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope (book)

Gifted Adult Self-Care Strategies

Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm

Chicago Gifted Community Center: Parental Self-Care

Hoagies’ Blog Hop November 2014: Gifted Self-Care

Finding Structure in Times of Chaos

Stress Management Toolbox: Nine Tips for Parents of Gifted Children

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Stressed Out?

Mindful Self-Care

Self-care and YOU

The Life Organizer and Self-Care

Kate’s Nuggets: How to Feel a Sense of Control when the World Feels Chaotic (Audio 16:33)

2e Tuesday: Six Steps to Parental Self-Care

Social Revisioning at a Distance

It’s Possible to Find Happiness in Times of Social Isolation

Reassuring Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Breathe for Change: Resources (free – sign up required)

Cybraryman’s Nutrition Pages

Cybraryman’s Exercise/Fitness Pages

Cybraryman’s Yoga Pages

Cybraryman’s The Brain and Brain Games Pages

Cultivez Votre Bouffe (Farm Your Food)

Kate’s Nuggets: Self-Care: It’s Not What You Think it Is (Audio 18:00)

Sprite’s Site: Social Distancing

NAGC TIP Sheet: Supporting Your Gifted Child During COVID-19 (pdf)

Photos courtesy of Jen Merrill and Kate Arms.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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