The Counselor's Corner: Talking to Your Child During School Closure (Feb 2020)

The Counselor's Corner: Talking to Your Child During School Closure (Feb 2020)

How To Talk With Your Child About Coronavirus Outbreak

5 minute read | February 5, 2020

Dear Parents,


The counsellors at ICS know that it must be such a hard time for your family at the moment in many ways. Routines have changed, many out of necessity, and emotions are running high, due to the many unknowns of the novel coronavirus (designated 2019-nCoV, variously known as Wuhan flu, Wuhan pneumonia, etc.). Below are some resources that you may find helpful in discussing this topic with your child. Please feel free to reach out to Ms. Fletcher, Mrs. Chan, Mrs. Fong, or Mrs. Manchester-Morgenheim with any questions, concerns, or thoughts about how we may further support your child during this time. We’re praying for all of our ICS families.


Scripture verses for consideration:

  • Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7
  • Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, Deuteronomy 7:8
  • Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… Isaiah 40:31


Elementary School

Discussion questions for younger children (ES):

  • What is online learning? How is it different than being in school? 
  • What are some things that might help you stay focused as you continue your learning online?
  • Can you name 3 feeling words to describe how you are feeling towards school being suspended for such a long time? 
  • What are some calming down strategies that you can use to help you manage some of your strong feelings during this time? 
  • What is the best schedule that works best for you and our family? What do you need in order to make each day productive?
  • What questions or concerns do you have about this outbreak? 
  • Where do you need to work so you can be most productive?
  • Do you know who to talk to if you need someone to talk to?
  • How can we work together to make our days more joyful, comfortable, and cooperative?
  • What can we pray for, together?


Please click here for visual aids for discussions with your children.

In Elementary School, students have learnt about the 3 steps to calming down when they have strong emotions. 

  1. Stop
  2. Name Your Feeling
  3. Calm Down

The poster below is used at school as a guide for students to practice the 3 steps. Parents can use the same language to help your child to cope with strong emotions during this difficult time as well. Please click here to see an example of how to use 3-2-5 breathing

Naming your feelings can be complicated from time to time. Students have learnt that all feelings are okay. There are no bad or good feelings, but rather comfortable and uncomfortable ones. Helping your child to name their uncomfortable feelings can increase their ability to feel more in control. Parents can use this kimochi feeling list to help your children to express their feelings.  If you are interested in purchasing these plushies, can you do so here.


Secondary School

Discussion questions:

  • What are some things you need as you continue your learning online?
  • With school being suspended for so long, what are your top concerns?
  • How can we set a good schedule that works best for you and our family? What do you need in order to make each day productive?
  • What questions or concerns do you have about this outbreak? 
  • Where do you need to work so you can be most productive?
  • Do you know how to contact your teachers if you have any questions? 
  • Do you know who to talk to if you need someone to talk to?
  • What are some ways you can clear your mind during this time away from school, when you’re feeling stressed or anxious about what’s happening?
  • How can we work together to make our days more joyful, comfortable, and cooperative?
  • What are the opportunities you can think of during this time of challenges? 
  • What ideas do you have for improving our home, community, school, and routines during this time?
  • What can we pray for, together?

Please click here for more resources and tips for secondary students. 

Secondary School parents are welcome to watch this video series on anxiety with their children at home and use the discussion guide to help facilitate further conversations with their child about the anxiety and fear that may be felt during this time. Each video is only 12-15 minutes long.

Links:

Video 1 - Fear and Anxiety 

Video 2 - Breaking the Cycle

Video 3 - Disaster and Community

Video 4 - A Better Life

Resources: Conversation Guides and Worksheets (ICS account log-in required)


Anxiety Conversation Kit:

In High School, tribes have watched the above video conversation kit on anxiety by AXIS. This series provides information on what anxiety is, and ways to cope from the psychological and biblical perspectives. 


High School parents: you can gain an understanding of anxiety and clarity about what your child is learning by watching the videos or by reading the conversation guide, which has a short summary of the points covered in the videos.  


More resources:

AXIS Parents Guide to Anxiety and Depression (PDF - ICS account log-in required)

MS Counseling resources on PowerSchool Learning

HS Counseling resources on PowerSchool Learning



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