Category Archives: anxiety

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.

Counseling GT Students through Relationships

Building rapport with gifted students starts with a basic understanding of the term ‘gifted’ without prejudice. Teachers, staff, and admins should consider professional development in the specific area of gifted education. Most gifted students will bristle at any attempt by adults to be disingenuous in their feelings towards them. Building rapport begins with building relationships.

Gifted students are always the benefactors of positive relationships between their teachers and parents; hopefully from the beginning they meet. Too often, negative first impressions are hard to get passed. Positive relationships can make for happy classroom experiences for all involved.

What strategies can teach gifted students in improving their communication and connection with others? Emphasizing that being gifted is about being “better at something, not better than someone” (Delisle) can substantially improve how GT students connect with other students. Teachers can engage gifted students in conversation about gifted characteristics and how asynchronous development affects their relationships with both age-peers and intellectual peers.

Stress management is an often overlooked, but crucial area which GT students need to be counseled in when confronting academic anxiety related to test taking, performance, and competition. GT students face real and perceived pressure from others to achieve and be successful that other students may not experience. This can create higher levels of anxiety. Gifted students can benefit from being taught relaxation techniques such as meditation and positive self-talk; engage in expressive writing; as well as, bibliotherapy and cinematherapy.

When should a gifted student or their family seek counseling outside of school? When stress and anxiety begin to affect a student’s life beyond the classroom, parents may need to seek outside counseling. When warning signs begin to cause concern such as difficulty sleeping, expressing thoughts of despair or even attempts at self-harm; an outside counselor should be considered.

How can teachers balance the need for positive student relationships with the reality and obligations of being an educator? All relationships benefit from boundaries and teacher-student relationships are no different. Most school districts delineate expectations of these relationships. Most educators must work with students who exhibit a wide range of abilities. Providing a positive educational experience for each student is the most primary concern. Relationships should always foster learning. 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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/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.

Resources:

Counseling the Gifted and Talented (book)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Students (Neihart et al., 2002)

Counseling the Gifted

No Child Left Behind: Gifted Children and School Counselors (paywall)

How to Find the Right Counselor for Your Gifted Child

Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students: What School Counselors Need to Know to Most Effectively Serve This Diverse Student Population

The Whole Gifted Child

The Whole Gifted Child Task Force Report to the Board of Directors (pdf March 2018)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Children: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents (Creativity Research) (book)

Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience

The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? (2nd ed.)

Meeting the Guidance and Counseling Needs of Gifted Students in School Settings (pdf)

American School Counselor Association: The Professional School Counselor and Gifted and Talented School Programs (pdf p.25)

Being Gifted in School: An Introduction to Development, Guidance, and Teaching (2nd ed.)

Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

Addressing Counseling Needs of Gifted Students

Counseling Gifted Students: School-Based Considerations and Strategies (pdf)

Counselling Practices in Fostering Potentials among Gifted Students

The School Counselor and the Gifted Children Education

Psychological Issues and the Need for Counseling Services among Malaysian Gifted Students

Clinical and Mental Health Issues in Counseling the Gifted Individual (pdf)

Big Fish in Big Ponds: A Multilevel Analysis of Test Anxiety and Achievement in Special Gifted Classes

A Multicultural Competence Model for Counseling Gifted and Talented Children (pdf)

Performance Anxiety in Gifted Students

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (book)

Cybraryman’s Counseling Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Building Relationships with Students and Parents Page

Cybraryman’s Body Language Page

With Hundreds of Students, School Counselors Just Try to ‘Stay Afloat’

Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature (book)

Sprite’s Site: The Dabrowski Dogs Make New Year Resolutions

Disclaimer: Resources from Prufrock Press include affiliate links.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Vaughn.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Too Much Worry – How do we help our gifted kids?

 

How do you distinguish anxiety from everyday worry? It’s extremely important to understand the difference between everyday worry and anxiety because this knowledge affects how we react to each one. Everyday worry is more generalized and prompts a problem-solving reaction. It is how we think about something rather than how we react to it. General worries, once solved, tend to go away. It doesn’t interfere with daily functioning. Anxiety equals an irrational fear. It provides a physical response that may last for long periods of time. It can affect school, work, and personal lives. Anxiety may require a diagnosis and psychological treatment.

Anxiety in gifted children may inhibit them from pursuing dreams or developing talents because it can drain their energy, cause them to be insecure, and to be absorbed by doubt and self-criticism. (Peters) When dealing with anxiety, gifted children may be faced with unreasonable high expectations from adults, bullying and social rejection due to the gifted label, and the tendency to focus on deficits. (Mendaglio) Research suggests that gifted individuals may possess traits such as coping strategies and high self-efficacy to reduce anxiety and this can help gifted children if they learn to effectively use these abilities. (Amend)

Gifted children are still children. Anxiety may manifest as ongoing worry, irritability, sleep issues, avoidance, or seemingly inexplicable changes in behavior. They may experience anxiety in the face of parental/teacher criticism or react inappropriately to being misunderstood by age-peers.

What unique sources of anxiety may be seen in gifted children? Gifted children may experience anxiety when moving from an inclusive classroom to a self-contained gifted classroom of intellectual peers. After many years of unchallenging classwork, gifted children often experience anxiety when they suddenly face challenge at the secondary level without necessary study skills. Gifted students often face criticism when they question adults, challenge authority, or display resistance to conformity; and the consequences can lead to anxiety.

Teachers can help GT students deal with anxiety at school. Helping any student at school is best done when built on a positive teacher-student relationship. Students are more receptive to teachers they trust and believe have their best interests in mind. Difficult conversations concerning the reasons for anxiety can often be made easier with bibliotherapy. Feelings may be addressed indirectly by using literature to explore the student’s needs.

How can parents help their gifted child cope with anxiety and worry? Parents should always be alert to the signs of anxiety in their children and know the difference between anxiety and worry. Introspection is a quality parents should cultivate in themselves. Overreacting to childhood behaviors, expecting too much, or failing to mind their own behavior may be the cause of anxiety in their child.

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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/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.

Resources:

How to Help Children Who are Highly Susceptible to Stress

Living With and Managing Intensity

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students with Guest, Christine Fonseca

Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children (2nd ed.) (book)

Letting Go: A Girl’s Guide to Breaking Free of Stress and Anxiety (book)

Stressed Out!: Solutions to Help Your Child Manage and Overcome Stress (book)

Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears (book)

The Warrior Workbook: A Guide for Conquering Your Worry Monster (book)

Make Your Worrier a Warrior (pdf)

The Gifted Kids Workbook: Mindfulness Skills to Help Children Reduce Stress, Balance Emotions, and Build Confidence (book)

4 Ways to Support Gifted Children with Anxiety

Management of Anxiety Begins at Home

Tips for Parents: Anxiety, Sensitivities and Social Struggles among Profoundly Gifted Kids

Why Gifted Children are Anxious, Plus 4 Ways to Help Them Cope

Anxiety in Gifted Children: 3 Simple Steps Parents and Educators Can Take

Monitoring Anxiety in Your Gifted Child

Understanding the Link between Empathy and Anxiety in Gifted Children

Managing Anxiety in Gifted Children

Do Gifted Children Struggle with Anxiety?

Taming The Worry Monster – Anxiety In Gifted Children (YouTube 1:32)

How to Help Your Gifted Child Cope With Anxiety

Tips for Parents: Worry and the Gifted: How Much is Too Much?

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Perfectionism, Anxiety, and OCD

Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help (book)

Worry Says What? (book)

Gratitude: The Short Film by Louie Schwartzberg (Vimeo 6:20)

Anxiety at School

Cybraryman’s Anxiety Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Counseling Page

Cybraryman’s Yoga and Meditation Page

Cybraryman’s SEL Page

Generation Anxious

Depression, Anxiety, and the Mismanagement of Aliveness

Sprite’s Site: Dystopia

Disclaimer: Resources from Prufrock Press include affiliate links.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Traveling with GT Kids

Travel can provide one of the most beneficial ways to respond to ‘intellectual curiosity’ about a multitude of topics and concerns of interest to gifted children. It can lead to exploration of the unexpected. While traveling, gifted children have the opportunity to be exposed to new and thought provoking experiences which may lead to important self-discovery or developing new interests. Traveling with family can provide gifted children with important experience in dealing with interpersonal relationships in varied settings; providing life skills not gained elsewhere.

How do you prepare a child for a long car trip? Any travel will greatly benefit from pre-planning; anticipation of special needs; and seeking input from everyone who will be traveling. Travel by car can mean long hours on the road in close quarters. It is important to build in breaks; snack time; time to ‘savor the moment’ when appropriate; and knowing about accommodations on the route and at the destination. Also, parents should have ‘boredom busters’ ready including games, books, tablets, videos, and movies.

How do we turn travel time into experiential time for our 2E kids? Always keep in mind that whether a child is labeled as gifted or 2E, they are still just kids who can learn a great deal from traveling; both as experiencing the actual travel and as visitors to faraway places. Experiential travel begins with consideration of where best a child can learn and where they want to go. It’s best to match travel plans with a child’s interests. This can reduce unnecessary backlash and behavioral issues.

What accommodations are available for children who are anxious or have special challenges? It’s a good idea to check with airlines and destinations to see what is available for children who are anxious about flying, waiting in line, crowds, or preferential seating at restaurants. Some airlines offer cockpit tours and meeting the pilot/attendants or special waiting areas in airports. Major attractions catering to children often provide a way to skip long lines or provide private seating at their restaurants.

Most parents consider travel a time to build memories. But, it’s a good idea to preserve those memories afterwards with a time of reflection. Keeping a journal and taking pictures are good ways of recording family travel so that everyone can reflect on the trip once they are home.

In the end, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Good planning and anticipating possible scenarios can go a long way in preventing a ruined trip. Remember to consider basic needs – food, rest, and entertainment. It’s helpful to go over the itinerary with your child before leaving so that they know what to expect and what may be expected of them. The fewer the surprises, the smoother things tend to go. A transcript of this chat is available 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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/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.

Resources:

Tips for Traveling With Challenging Children

The Family Gathering: A Survival Guide

Traveling the World with Intense Children – Just Make It Happen

Helpful Tips for Successful Trips with Your Gifted Child

Road Trip!

Traveling with the Quirky

How to Have Your Best Family Vacation Ever

Traveling with Intense Children – It Can Be Done!

The Coming of Age of an Overexcitable Globetrotter

Traveling for Gifted Students

Educational Travel Programs

Homeschooling and Traveling with Gifted and Talented Students

WKU- The Center for Gifted Studies: Travel Abroad: Explore the World with The Center’s Travel/Study Tours

Cybraryman’s Field Trips Page

Sprite’s Site: Travelling with the Dabrowski Dogs

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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