This month, in recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness, we’d like to provide tips for parents to help keep their kids mentally and emotionally well.
It is easy for parents to identify their child’s physical needs: nutritious food, warm clothes when it’s cold, bedtime at a reasonable hour. However, your child’s mental and emotional needs may not be as obvious. Good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially and learn new skills. Additionally, good friends and encouraging words from adults are all important for helping children develop self-confidence, high self-esteem, and a healthy emotional outlook on life.
Did you know more than half of teens with untreated mental conditions drop out of school.
- Listen to your teenager – let him talk out his problems with you before jumping in with a solution. Teens need adults to believe in them unconditionally and expect them to succeed.
- Encourage your teenager to get involved in activities that engage her with the community in a positive way. For some this may be sports or drama, for others it may involve tutoring younger kids or volunteering in the community.
- Set clear expectations that you want to know where your teen is and when he’ll be back. Discuss with him the consequences of the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- If you suspect that your child might be using drugs, like benzodiazepines, amphetamines, or hallucinogens, then you might want to carry out a drug test to confirm your suspicions. Drug tests can also be used as a way of monitoring a child with substance abuse issues to ensure that they do not relapse. You can learn more about some popular home drug testing options on the Countrywide Testing website.
- Let your teen know that it’s okay to seek help from a peer helper, counselor, health care professional, or trusted adult, if needed.
- Encourage your teen to explore solutions. In many cases, she will know about the solutions – for example, extra help after school – but may need your encouragement to try them.
For even the healthiest kids, experiencing challenges is unavoidable, and can put young people at risk for substance use, worsening mental health, or other conditions. However, coming through these challenges with the aid of adult support, whether a young person struggles with mental health concerns or not, can be an excellent way of building resiliency and mental toughness for the future.
Did you know 1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness, that’s 20 percent of our population.
Even though May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage parents to check in on a regular basis with their kids. Having a month dedicated to raising awareness for mental health is wonderful, but it’s a conversation that shouldn’t end June 1st.
With the help of our amazing volunteers, program coordinators and peer helpers, over 1,500 poinsettias were delivered to schools and businesses in Baldwin County this week! A special thank you to Field in Bloom Nursery, Inc. for the beautiful plants!
Congratulations to 16 of the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation’s Peer Helpers Program Coordinators who received the RAVE Award at the Alabama School Counselor Association luncheon that was held during the Alabama Counseling Association Conference in Birmingham, Alabama November 14-16, 2018. RAVE, which stands for Recognition of Accountability, Verification, and Excellence is a state-award given to those school counseling programs who have successfully implemented the four components of the American School Counselor Association’s national counseling model at their schools.
The schools who will be received this RAVE Award include the following:
- J Larry Newton Elementary School: Ms. Rebecca Winberg, Counselor (now at Daphne Elementary School)
- Silverhill Elementary School: Mrs. Shamika Bramble, Counselor
- Summerdale School: Ms. Jan Gay, Counselor
- Magnolia Elementary School: Mrs. Tomica Bradley-Wiggins, Counselor
- Fairhope High School: Ms. Llyndze Holderfield, Mrs. Jessica Morris, & Mrs. Cammie Adams, Counselors
- Fairhope Elementary School: Mrs. Dianna Wolchina & Mrs. Kate Wellborn, Counselors
- Elberta High School: Mrs. Laura Alms, Counselor
- Daphne Middle School: Mrs. Amanda Blake and Mrs. Alicia Ray, Counselors
- Foley Intermediate School: Mrs. Amy Wheaton and Mrs. Sherry Rainbolt, Counselors
- Foley Middle School: Mrs. Coryn Bergenty and Mrs. Jennifer Kukes, Counselors
- Gulf Shores Elementary School: Mrs. Jennifer Knight and Mr. Lyle Cooper, Counselors
- Gulf Shores Middle School: Mrs. Wendy Holmes, Counselor
The holidays mean a well-deserved break from homework and daily tasks but before we know it, the holidays will be over and it will be back to the bus stop. To prepare for a smooth re-entry and a successful second semester, don’t let school skills like reading, writing, and math slide completely during winter vacation. We’ve come up with a few family-friendly activities to keep those skills sharp.
Read for Fun
Whether your child is in the mood for holiday stories or the newest book from their favorite series, winter break provides the perfect opportunity to stash schoolbooks and read for fun. Visit the local library or encourage relatives to give books as Christmas gifts.
Cook up an Easy Lesson
Invite your child into the kitchen to help you whip up a special dish – whether it’s Christmas cookies or the family dinner. Measuring, halving or doubling recipes, and distributing the resulting product among family members can help students who are learning fractions and ratios better understand the concepts while satisfying their sweet tooth.
Make the Most of Car Rides
Turn your drive into an opportunity to practice letters and numbers. You can look for license plates from different states or count the number of colored cars you see.
Maintain Reasonable Bedtimes
With no school to get up for in the morning, it can be tempting to let kids become night owls. A few days before school starts up again, ease back into the regular bedtime schedule so your child can start the year bright-eyed.
Let Kids Help with Online Shopping
Need a last-minute gift for Grandma? Log onto your favorite shopping sites and let your child help you select presents. This helps children work on their computer skills.
Family Game Night
Chances are many of your family’s favorite board games reinforce skills such as counting, reading, and drawing. Gather the family to play games you usually don’t have time for on school nights.
As with most things in life, it’s all about finding a healthy balance between keeping your child learning and letting him or her recharge. Take rest, relaxation and academic engagement in equal parts to make the most out of your vacation this holiday season.
Foley Middle School Peer Helpers recently held an assembly to talk about the dangers of bullying. The committee consisting of Kayleigh Sherman, Jackson Zabala, Kiana Nielson, Bryce Ridenour, and Catherine Gutherie worked with the Student Government Vice President and Officer Lebron Williams to encourage students to be up standers and not bystanders. The Peer Helpers reviewed the Anti-Bullying Contract with the student body.
Pictured: Daphne Middle School Peer Helpers, Frances Holk-Jones, Allison Faircloth, JCMF Executive Director; Fairhope High School Peer Helper, Lauren Deane; Marina Simpson, Executive Director of United Way of Baldwin County; Carl Jones, JCMF Executive Board Member JCMF; Patrice Davis, Intervention Supervisor
Heading back to school is an exciting time for children and families, but changes in schools, teachers, friends and routines can also make it a stressful one. Did you know that children spend more than 1,000 hours at school? Mental health conditions can affect any person regardless of age, gender or income. Below are some helpful tips to stay on top of your child’s mental wellness.
1. Stay involved in your kids’ lives, and know who their friends are. Kids can sometimes cover up the fact that they are being bullied, so knowing their friends, their friends’ parents, and the school environment, will allow you to see if your child has a healthy relationship with their peers.
3. Make sure your kids eat a healthful breakfast and a nutritious lunch, and that they are getting plenty of exercise. This will help their mental and physical health, plus it will improve their confidence and give them the energy they need to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field.
4. For parents who just dropped your child off for their first day of school, I know some of you may be a bit emotional today. It’s OK to call and check on your kid at school by calling the office. This will definitely ease any anxiety you may be feeling.
5. When your kids get home from school, ask how their day was, if they made any new friends, and if they like their teacher. Give them a hug and know that tomorrow’s school day will be even better than today.