Bringing Our Best Selves to the Moment

Dear Gateway families,

Over the last five weeks, I’ve enjoyed sending weekly messages to our community (links to these are on the Coronavirus page of our website), while also sharing a number of articles, videos, and podcasts that offer insight and strategies for dealing with the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in. I’m writing today to highlight a few of these that have stood out as especially helpful, based on feedback from our community.

Tips for Managing the Stress of Social Distancing as a Family In this short interview, psychologist and author Dr. Lisa Damour gives a few tips on helping adults manage chronic stress in themselves and in their children.

When a Child’s Emotions Spike, How Can a Parent Find Their Best Self? Drawing on the work of Dr. Mark Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and creator of the RULER program, this article investigates how to recognize and respond to children’s emotions, and how to model healthy ways of moving through emotion.

Three Ways to Protect Your Mental Health During – and after – Covid-19 As Director of the Neuroethics Program at Emory University, Karen Rommelfanger studies the relationship between stress regulation and human well being. In this piece, she examines the interconnectedness of brains and stress and offers suggestions for how to build a better, healthier “new normal” of mental health.

Now’s a Good Time to Teach Your Kids to Play on Your Own Learning to be comfortable on our own is an essential step in personal development that teaches organizational skills, physical awareness, and emotional regulation. Drawing advice from a variety of parenting coaches, this article suggests eight strategies such as prioritizing connection, creating invitations to play, and making room for mess.

Lower Your Expectations, and Other Parenting Advice Dr. Scott Cypher is the Director of the Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado. He raises awareness of the ways in which parents unintentionally contribute to children’s anxiety, such as hidden criticality and anxiety priming, and a variety of techniques and mindsets adults can use to help children relax.

Pediatricians on Balancing Screen Time, Sleep, and Family During Coronavirus The American Academy of Pediatrics has released revised guidelines for screen time during the current pandemic. While increased screen time may be necessary and appropriate during distance learning, getting offline as a family, and ensuring adequate exercise and sleep, remain essential. 

Finally, Brene Brown has a wonderful podcast called Unlocking Us. In Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Setting the Ball, she discusses falling apart, staying connected, and feeling hard things, while in Permission to Feel With Marc Brackett, she talks with Dr. Brackett about how emotional literacy affects everything from learning and performance to health and relationships.

I hope you find something helpful in these links. Though it may be hard to lean into our parenting right at this moment, our children need and deserve our best selves in the midst of this pandemic — which includes being gentle and forgiving with ourselves, if necessary.

And please, please reach out if you need help. We are here to support our community!

Warmly,

Dr. Zachary Roberts
Head of School

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