As it turns out, there is, and I’m going to share it with you in this post.
We all check the weather, right?
Unless you live in San Diego (where you know the weather is a perfect 74 degrees and it’s probably sunny), it’s likely you check the weather often.
Look at your weather app to see what to expect, maybe scan through the next few days (let’s face it, anything longer and it’s totally unpredictable), and decide what to do with good weather, or how to handle bad.
Chances are, you expect some bad weather days, and have an idea of how to handle those. On good weather days, you probably try to get a few things done, or enjoy some outdoor time, or even weather-proof some part of your home for when the winds do start to really beat at the windows.
In my previous post, I promised to help you check on your kids, handle the hard times and know how to strengthen them when all seems ok.
Years ago, I was working at an overnight camp. We of course got calls from parents who had questions or concerns about their kids, or wanted to talk about a letter that came home, any number of things.
One call we got reliably was about the weather. If there was any threat of rain in our region of the country, one parent or another would call from hundreds of miles away to make sure we knew.
You might not know that camp leaders are pretty obsessive about checking the weather. They’re right up there with NASA launch planners for current and precipitation mapping, so this was really never actually news to us. But it made total sense.
We all wish it could be as easy to tell what was coming with our kids’ moods and needs as checking a weather app.
So here’s the first bit of good news: It can be.
Just like the weather, the most reliable way to tell is to look. See what the weather is right now, and check on how the skies look for what might be coming up. Much easier than reading meteorological maps, though – we can ask our kids.
Last month I offered you the suggestion that you text your child. I said this:
Ask your child “On a scale of 1 to 10, how are your thoughts and feelings today? “1” meaning everything is awful, out of control, painful, and “10” meaning your thoughts and feelings are excellent.”
You can adapt your language for your child’s level of understanding and whatever feels comfortable to you to say but definitely ask for a number.
Thank them for answering. Instead of giving your opinion “Oh, that’s great” or “That doesn’t sound too bad…” just say “Thank you for telling me.”
If your child is not yet texting (awesome) just ask. Neurotypical kids as young as 5 years old can answer this question pretty reliably.
We all have good weather days and bad weather days. Checking is the most important part because it lets you know how to manage your expectations and helps you keep everyone safe.
What if they’re in distress?
If your child gives you an answer of “1” or “2” then stop what you’re doing. This is the kid-equivalent of a thunderstorm warning.
Ask “What do you need right now to feel safe?”
Show them that their safety is your priority and that you’ll be with them and figure it out together. Help them get to a “3” or higher before you go back to anything else. Then (and we’ll talk more about this), you can figure out a longer-term solution.
What if they’re breezing through?
This is my favorite challenge. If you get an “8” or higher, then this is a great weather day.
What projects have you been waiting to do with your child when things were great? What lesson would you like to teach (in a fun way, let’s not punish them for feeling good), or something would you like to invite them to do since they’re feeling great?
What if they’re struggling?
If your child responds with an answer of “3” to “7” then it’s time to make an action plan.
To help you do this, I’ve created a new online seminar series called Ready for Anything: How to Build Confidence, Resilience, and Mental Health in Your Kids.
During this three-part live online seminar series, you’ll discover:
- Red and yellow flags to watch for to know when your kids are struggling or need help.
- How to check in with your kids in a way that gets them to share what they are thinking and feeling so that you don’t have to wonder.
- How to help them in a way that strengthens them and teaches them how to help themselves in the future.
- And much more…
“As a TV host and Mom, I have interviewed many parenting experts. I appreciate straightforward information that I can apply the same day, and that’s what I get from Dr. G. She is the on-call expert who gives bite-sized advice with big results.”
Val Warner, co-host of ABC Windy City Live
I’ve worked with parents who were going from day to day just hoping everything would be alright, with no idea how to help their child. After just the first of these three seminars, parents tell me that they can finally sleep again because they finally know how to help their kids navigate the stressors of life so they can thrive.
Right Now You Have a Unique Opportunity
The skills you’ll learn from this online seminar series will apply to any time of your child’s life. You and your kids will benefit from them for years to come.
But right now, there is an especially crucial need (and opportunity) to check in with our kids and strengthen them for the future.
Why? Three reasons.
- This year rocked our kids’ worlds. Many of them are hurting right now.
- This August is the window. It’s been a summer of recovery, but next school year is going to hit hard and fast with “catch up” and “get back to normal,” and “improve your scores.” All this will hurt them more if we don’t learn to protect and strengthen them right now.
- We have a once in their lifetime chance to use this challenging pandemic experience for good. Our kids will go through other periods of upheaval and disruption in their lives. We can give them the skills we learned in this time to get through those if we teach them right now.
All my best,
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