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Helping GT Children Cope with Anxiety

What signs of anxiety should adults be looking for in children? Signs of anxiety may manifest differently in children than in adults. However, adults need to take in consideration the maturity and normal behaviors of each individual child to ascertain signs, which may appear incongruous, of anxiety. It characteristically can present as regressive behaviors, fixation on events, withdrawal from social activities, attention-seeking behaviors, sleeping or eating issues, unexplainable aggression, or simply vastly divergent behaviors. A child’s response to lingering effects of the Pandemic, a daily barrage of scenes from war torn areas (albeit distant), and concerns about the planet’s climate can all weigh heavily on children with a heightened ability to comprehend the seriousness of the situation.

What are the consequences of not dealing with anxiety in children? Anxiety and the often associated grief can be a part of normal emotions, but when they lead to long-term, maladaptive behaviors; adults need to be concerned and ready to act to deal with the causes to the greatest extent possible. Ignoring the signs of anxiety in children can increase the likelihood of extended issues necessitating professional help and making transitions back to a more normal life more difficult including return to in-person classes and day-to-day social activities. Commonality does not mean exclusivity, i.e., that only GT kids experience anxiety. However, children who have a greater understanding of world events may become overwhelmed by feelings of empathy or grief leading to existential depression.

Recently, everyone has experienced some degree of anxiety due to Covid for various reasons. Adults need to be cognizant of their own feelings and deal with those first. Children are better cared for by adults who practice self-care. Adults – parents, teachers, caregivers – need to cultivate personal relationships with children in their care. The sudden loss of a loved one, fear of contracting the virus, loss of contact with friends can profoundly affect children. Adults can acknowledge the child’s feelings, be willing to have open conversations about those concerns, and honestly answer questions that arise. If this does not help, adults should be willing to seek out professional help.

Teachers can have a profound effect on their students ability to cope with anxiety. They can work to provide a safe classroom environment both physically and emotionally. Whenever possible, teacher shouldn’t hesitate to call on the services of school counselors to assist both in and out of the classroom. Guidance counselors can be effective working in small groups or whole class sessions. Teachers may be the first to see signs of anxiety in their students and need to keep open lines of communication with parents and caregivers. They can often be a conduit between a student’s needs and access to services.

Schools today, post initial stages of the Pandemic, are well suited to provide services to their students through improved physical improvements to classrooms such as better ventilation, provision of masks when needed, and well-stocked cleaning supplies. They should prioritize the availability of school nurses on every campus and maintain constant communications with families and the community concerning issues related to Covid exposures at the school. Schools should strive to provide safe environments for students to re-engage in social activities, extracurricular activities, and programs to promote emotional well-being.

What can parents do to help anxious gifted children at home? Parents should identify and validate their child’s feelings and discuss them openly and honestly. There are specific coping skills – such as writing in a journal, exercise, play – when done together which can help children experiencing anxiety. Setting routines can help children lessen stress and give them a sense of normalcy. Also, reducing the amount of screen time including limiting exposure to news can bring relief to heightened anxiety.

A transcript of this chat can be found on our Wakelet page.

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/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 Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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:

Grief, Loss and Gifted | IEA

The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief Is Shared (book)

How to Help Gifted Children Cope With Death, Loss & Grief

Gifted and Grieving: Why It is Critical to Offer Differential Support to Gifted Kids during Times of Loss (pdf) | Gifted Child Today

Signs of Grief in Children and How to Help Them Cope

Existential Depression: What to Do When Your Search for Meaning Overwhelms You

The Interface of Overthinking, Anxiety, and Shame Among Gifted Children | SENG

Helping a Gifted Child Deal with Anxiety

Understanding The Link Between Empathy And Anxiety In Gifted Children

Stress, Anxiety & Mental Health Problems in Gifted Adolescents | Psychological Disorders and Research

Anxiety Solutions for Smart Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Managing Stress and Anxiety in Gifted Children (book)

Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help (A Parenting Book for Children with Anxiety) (book)

Parenting the Exceptional Social-Emotional Needs of Gifted and Talented Children: What Do We Know?

Gifted Children: Life After the Pandemic | Psychology Today

What Can We Teach Students about Academic Stress? | Grayson School

Helping Children with Traumatic Separation or Traumatic Grief Related to COVID-19 (pdf) | National Child Traumatic Stress Network

COVID-19 and Anxiety in Gifted Children | NAGC

Do Gifted Children Struggle with Anxiety? | Dr. Gail Post

Cybraryman’s Anxiety Page

Management of Anxiety Begins at Home | NAGC

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Supporting Exhausted Parents during the Pandemic

We’ve covered similar topics over the past 10 months, but the seemingly unending crisis of #COVID19 has taken a toll on parents. Parents are struggling with isolation, uncertainty, and sadness on a daily basis. Exhaustion is a constant reminder that things have only gotten worse and any ‘end in sight’ scenario is an elusive goal. They are constantly confronting child care and school closures, juggling work schedules, coping with  family illness.

Parents of GT children face the same societal issues they’ve always faced: that raising a gifted and/or talented child is a breeze. They’ll do fine on their own. They’re smart; they’ll figure things out. The problem with that when in the midst of a global pandemic is that indeed they do figure things out; they know the stakes are high even at a very young age. With understanding can come a rash of mental health issues – anxiety, depression, increased contemplation of suicide, drug use.

What unique issues result from exhaustion for parents of twice-exceptional kids? Even in the best of times, parents of these kids are keenly aware of a need for adequate sleep to have extended patience and understanding with their child. Some parents have reported their child’s opposition of inability to comply with mask mandates and social distancing requests. Sensitivity issues are high on the list of  needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

How can schools help exhausted parents? Outreach to parents is essential. Informing parents well in advance to changes in school closures is particularly helpful. Extending mental health professional information and counseling via school counselors and support staff when necessary can be welcome relief for many parents. Parents should have a seat at the table when discussing safety concerns and mitigation efforts during in-school learning.

There is an endless supply of online advice for exhausted  parents … some of it excellent and some of it simply insulting. Traditional self-care actions may not be practical for many parents. This pandemic has called into question many traditional parenting strategies, but parents are learning to expect imperfection, expect to be interrupted, and don’t worry about complaining (you have a right to do so). Parenting in a pandemic has taught parents to appreciate their children, realize that schedules are not the end-all, and that spending time together can be a godsend. Building relationships has never been more important.

What positive aspects to parenting in a pandemic have you experienced that might inspire others? Many, many parents of gifted children have reported that their kids are thriving both academically and personally without worries about bullying and boredom in school. Families are seeing positive changes in children who are learning important life skills while at home, enjoying family time, and learning lessons taught by parents they wouldn’t have learned at school.

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/Midnight 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.

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:

The Parental Burnout Crisis has Reached a Tipping Point

The Burnout is Real: Coping with Pandemic Parenting and Redefining Self-care

5 Bright Spots from Our Crappy Year of Pandemic Parenting

Your Year in Pandemic Parenting (Audio 52:00) | KQED

Some Autistic People can’t Tolerate Face Masks Here’s How We’re Managing with our Son (may require subscription) | Washington Post

How to Reclaim a Positive Mental Attitude while Parenting in a Pandemic

Support for Kids with ADHD during the Pandemic  

Pandemic Parenting

Parenting in a Pandemic

The Brave New World of Parenting in the Pandemic | Psychology Today

Parenting in a time of #COVID-19 | The Lancet

Parenting During the Pandemic

Parenting During a Pandemic: How Parents Can Cope With Added Strains Due to the Covid Crisis (Audio 49:51)

Certain Parenting Behaviors Associated with Positive Changes in Well-being during COVID-19 Pandemic

Marina Gomberg says Parenting Fatigue is Real, so much so that She can’t even Finish this Headl …

7 Beliefs about Parenting That No Longer Serve Parents after the Pandemic

TX: New Parenting Website Aimed at Helping during Pandemic and Beyond

A Guide to Riding out the Rest of the Pandemic: Parenting in a Pinch

Study Examines Day-to-day Parenting Behavior during COVID-19 Restrictions

Parenting in a Pandemic takes Patience, Creativity

Helping Parents and Caregivers Cope with the Mental Health Challenges of Parenting during a Pandemic

Stress and Parenting during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Psychosocial Impact on Children | NIH

A Trauma Psychologist on the Stress of ‘Relentless Parenting’ During COVID-19 (Video 8:09)

The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce it: Rapid Review of the Evidence

Overwhelmed? You Are Not Alone | Psychology Today

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

2020 Retrospective: The Lost Year

This week’s #gtchat was a look back at 2020! A transcript can be found at Wakelet. Resources from the chat can be found below. This was the final chat of the year. We wish you all a very happy holiday season from all of us at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT!

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/Midnight 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.

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:

The Impact of #COVID-19 on Education: Insights from Education at a Glance 2020 (pdf)

#COVID-19 and Student Performance, Equity, and U.S. Education Policy | Economic Policy Institute

Policy Brief: Education during COVID-19 and Beyond (pdf) | United Nations

A Roundup of COVID-19’s Impact on Higher Education

3 #COVID-19 Education Trends Set to Persist Post-Pandemic

#COVID-19 and Human Development: Assessing the Crisis, Envisioning the Recovery | United Nations Development Programme

The #COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses | The World Bank

Putting the ‘Learning’ Back in Remote Learning: Policies to Uphold Effective Continuity of Learning through #COVID-19 (pdf) | UNICEF

Education in a Post-COVID World: Nine Ideas for Public Action (pdf) | United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

Time to Fix American Education with Race-for-Space Resolve | The Harvard Gazette

The Impact of #COVID-19 on Student Achievement and What It May Mean for Educators

How will #COVID-19 Change Our Schools in the Long Run?

The 10 Most Significant Education Studies of 2020

 
What Educators Are Learning during the Pandemic

3 Keys to a Better 2020–21

The Top 6 Trends in Education for 2020 

Education in 2020 – The end of the classroom? | Education World 

Schooling disrupted, Schooling Rethought How the Covid-19 Pandemic is Changing Education (pdf) | OECD 

Education: From Disruption to Recovery | UNESCO 

COVID-19’s Long-Term Impacts on Education in 2020 and Beyond

Will 2020 be remembered as the year in which education was changed? 

‘Panic-gogy’: Teaching Online Classes during the Coronavirus Pandemic | NPR 

20 Teachers Share How Education Will Change in 2021

Here’s Why 2021 Could Be another Big Year for Smart Education and Learning Market with Top Industry Leaders

Cybraryman’s 4 Cs+ Page

Images courtesy of Pixabay & Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Coping with Isolation and Social Distancing

What unique social-emotional challenges are GT students facing during the pandemic? Many GT students are extremely cognizant of and understand the consequences of the pandemic; even at a very young age. Adults need to recognize that they may respond with high levels of anxiety. GT students often have parents and family members who are frontline workers … doctors, teachers, medical professionals … and will be very aware of how COVID19 can affect their health and family finances. Their concerns will include worries about availability of AP/IB classes online, getting into college, attending classes remotely away from friends and intellectual peers, and catching the virus themselves.  

There are strategies which can lessen the effects of remote learning for 2E (twice exceptional) students. Parents of twice-exceptional kids may feel their children are especially affected by the inherent challenges associated with remote learning and need to work closely with teachers to ensure their academic needs are being met. When working with twice-exceptional students remotely, provide them with a visual schedule and be aware of those activities they may already find challenging. Teachers should be sure to follow applicable IEP modifications. Teachers and parents can work together to facilitate learning; such as, using two separate browsers for school and for personal use. Teachers can also provide visual cues while engaging in verbal online instruction.

Maintaining a relationship with colleagues is essential in providing quality education to their students. Planning sessions that were ongoing prior to the pandemic should continue online.  It’s important to maintain a sense of community through daily check-ins, informal sharing sessions, validating concerns, and making a plan on dealing with those concerns.  Teachers can connect in-person with proper social distancing, wearing masks, health checks, and health screenings if necessary. They can also make phone calls, email, and hold virtual meetings via online platforms like Zoom.

During remote learning, schools can partner with families to raise awareness about good mental health. Taking care of physical needs such as food, housing, internet and personal device availability, and access to counseling; serve as a starting point. It is important to recognize when a child expresses feelings of fear of catching the virus, being anxious about the health of a loved one, or sadness from missing friends and family members. Schools can offer online counseling via school personnel, promote social connectedness, encourage parents to seek help if needed and where to find it, and support students in identifying and managing emotions.  

Parents can help their children cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic by being honest about coronavirus, validating fears and offering ways to cope with them, and providing opportunities for children to connect with friends and family online.  They can engage in creative play and activities to address concerns about day to day life; such as, drawing pictures about ways to be safe via masking, hand washing and social distancing. Parents can focus on the positive. Celebrate the time they have been given to spend with their children that might not have occurred before the pandemic.

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/11 AM AEDT/Midnight 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.

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:

Using Video to Maintain the Human Connection during the COVID-19 School Closures

Staying Away: The Psychological Impact of Social Distancing

Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home | American Academy of Pediatrics

Beyond Reopening Schools: How Education can Emerge Stronger than before COVID-19

Take this Pandemic Moment to Improve Education | EdSource

The Impact of COVID-19 on Education: Insights from Education at a Glance 2020 (pdf) | OECD  

A Paradox of Social Distancing for SARS-CoV-2: Loneliness and Heightened Immunological Risk | Molecular Psychiatry

The Coronavirus Pandemic is Creating 2 Major Problems in Education, but There aren’t as Many Downsides as Upsides | Business Insider

TX: Northwest ISD – Health and Safety Protocols

TX: Gifted/Talented Education Guidance for 2020 – 2021 School Year (pdf) | TEA

Arts and Crafts as an Educational Strategy and Coping Mechanism for Republic of Korea and United States Parents during the COVID-19 Pandemic | International Review of Education

Pandemics Can be Stressful | CDC (US)

Parenting in the Age of COVID-19: Coping with Six Common Challenges | Boston’s Children’s Hospital

The Pandemic Is a Family Emergency | The New Republic

COVID-19 & Parenting Challenges | Psychology Today

Children’s Socio-emotional Skills and the Home Environment during the COVID-19 Crisis

Bored, Scared and Confused: A New Poll Shows How COVID-19 Is Affecting Children’s Mental Health, but the News Isn’t All Bad

Coping in Isolation: Predictors of Individual and Household Risks and Resilience Against the COVID-19 Pandemic (Download) | Social Sciences and Humanities Open

A Smile Can Lift the Veil of Social Isolation

The Anxiety Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Mental and Emotional Health Page

Cybraryman’s SEL Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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