Welcome to MS Guidance!
MS Guidance News
Guidance Counselor Abbie Lawalin
Hello Parents and Students!
Below are some information I feel is valuable to you. I will update the site throughout the year with different information. Feel free to contact me if you have any school concerns that I can assist you with!
21st Century Scholar Program
Indiana started the Twenty-first Century Scholars in 1990 to ensure that every student can afford a college education. Income-eligible 7th and 8th graders who enroll in the program and fulfill a pledge of good citizenship are guaranteed the cost of four years of college tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana.
But first you have to apply. Students and their parents must complete and return the application by June 30 of the 8th grade year. Click here to review this important program.
Monitoring Your Child on Facebook
Over 5,000 parents have discovered a great way to protect their kids on Facebook. MinorMonitor gives you free web-based tools that allow you to quickly and easily view your child’s Facebook activities. Using knowledge-based analytics, MinorMonitor provides an intuitive dashboard view of exactly what your child is doing online.
Parents can get full or specific details about any or all their activities. They are alerted any time their child receives a dangerous threat. Parents are notified of any references to drug use, bullying, profanity or comments of a sexual nature involving your child. MinorMonitor gives parents peace of mind knowing that they are doing all they can to protect their children. Parents can sign up for a FREE account to begin screening their child’s Facebook activities right away at http://www.MinorMonitor.com.
MinorMonitor has been featured on The CBS Early Show, CNN, and Parenting Magazine.
How to Relieve School Anxiety
- Acknowledge the problem. Does hearing, "Don't worry!" help when you're anxious about something? It probably doesn't comfort your child much, either. The most important thing you can do for a child experiencing school anxiety is to acknowledge that her fears are real to her. If nothing else, you'll ensure that she won't be afraid to talk to you about them.
- Ask, "What three things are you most worried about?" Making your request specific can help your child start to sort through a bewildering array of fears and feelings. If he's unable to name the things that are most worrisome, have him tell you any three things, or the most recent three things.
- Ask, "What three things are you most excited about?" Most kids can think of something good, even if it's just going home at the end of the day. But chances are your child does have things she really enjoys about school that just get drowned out by all the scary stuff. Bring those good things out into the light.
- Do some role-playing. Once you have some concrete examples of anxiety-provoking events, help your child figure out an alternate way to deal with them. Discuss possible scenarios and play the part of your child in some role-playing exercises, letting him play the part of the demanding teacher or bullying classmate. Model appropriate and realistic responses and coping techniques for your child.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Let your child know that she can always talk to you, no matter what. It's not always necessary even to have solutions to her problems. Sometimes just talking about things out loud with a trusted adult makes them seem less threatening. And if the situation does become overwhelming for your child, you want to be the first to know about it.
- Understand the value of tears. Crying can be a great stress reliever. It flushes out bad feelings and eases tension. It's hard to see your child crying, and your first instinct may be to help him stop as soon as possible. But after the tears have all come out, your child may be in a particularly open and receptive mood for talking and sharing. Provide a soothing and sympathetic presence, but let the crying run its course.
- Resist the urge to fix everything. There are some instances in which parents do have to take action. If your child is in a class that's too challenging, or is having trouble because an IEP isn't being followed, there are steps you can take. If a teacher or a classmate is truly harrassing your child, you will want to follow up with that. But you'll also want to teach her that some things in life just have to be dealt with, even though they stink. Fix only what's really badly broken.
- Know when to get help. Most children experience school anxiety to some extent, and some feel it more deeply and disruptively. When does it become a big enough problem to require professional help? Some signs to look for are major changes in friendships, style of clothing, music preferences, sleeping and eating habits, attitude and behavior. If you've established a good rapport with your child and he suddenly doesn't want to talk, that's a sign of trouble as well.
Set a regular time and place for talking with your child, whether in the car, on a walk, during mealtimes, or just before bed. Some kids will feel most comfortable in a cozy private space with your undivided attention, but others might welcome some sort of distraction to cut the intensity of sharing their feelings.
Ways to Relax
Top 8 Relaxation Techniques for Children
- Deep Breathing: This activity helps children relax by slowing their breathing rate, decreasing the heart rate and normalizing blood pressure. Teach your child to take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then release it. On inhaling, the abdomen should expand and not the chest. Deep breathing is the process of slow inhalation followed by slow and complete exhalation. It should be done in a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Practicing deep breathing regularly has lasting effects on overall health.
- Music: Play your child's favorite music. It's a great way to relax. Fast beats can increase the heart rate and induce a feeling of excitement in the child. Music played for relaxation should be soft. Religious music can have a soothing effect. Soft classical music is a good choice of relaxing music. Instrumental music is also an option. But it is said that a person's individual preference of music can have the greatest impact on his mind. So play music that your child prefers. Music can give your child the strength to fight stress. It also serves as a good diversion from worries.
- Exercise: With regular exercise, one becomes more capable of coping with stress. Exercise is known to generate happiness molecules, as they are called, which means it leads to certain hormonal changes that create a feeling of happiness and relaxation. Inculcate the habit of exercising in your child. Here we give you an exercise specifically aimed at achieving relaxation of the mind and body. Ask your child to lie down and relax his muscles, starting from the toes, traveling up thus relaxing his body. Instruct your child to keep his muscles relaxed, that is without tension or tightness in them. This is a good way of relaxation and easier for children to do.
- Meditation: Meditation is the best way to relax your mind. It needs to be practiced individually, so children need to be taught the technique. A relatively simpler form of meditation is the breathing meditation. In this technique, one has to concentrate on his breathing, keeping the mind away from all external distractions. One has to instruct himself to pay attention to only his beathing and keep all negative thoughts away. Once your child learns this form of meditation, you can teach him to convey positive messages to his mind while meditating. Apart from relaxing one's mind, this technique also boosts one's confidene and makes one feel more positive. You can choose to play meditation music for the child and over time, combine meditation with yoga. Practicing yoga is an excellent way to achieve both physical fitness and mental relaxation.
- Laughter: "Laughter is the best", medicine they say. It really is. It makes you forget your worries. You feel rejuvenated and relaxed. Give your children reasons to laugh. Comics, kids' comedy movies, funny stories and jokes can serve the purpose. Laughter is also a good exercise for facial muscles. For the positivity laughter brings, it's one of the best relaxation techniques for kids and adults alike.
- Toe Tensing: This is a method of drawing tension down to the toe. It can seem difficult for a child but with practice, it can prove to be a good relaxation technique. This is an exercise that involves lying on the back and allowing yourself to tense your toe. Ask the child to pull his toe muscles towards the body and hold the position for ten counts. Do 4-5 repetitions of the exercise.
- Visualization: Experts say that picturing things you like can make you feel relaxed. Let the child imagine good things happening to him and visualize anything that gives them pleasure. For someone it could be visualizing a trip to Disneyland, for someone, it could be imagining becoming a famous actor. Ask your child to imagine his dream coming into reality. This has to be done with closed eyes. The thoughts and imagery of a positive picture makes a person feel relaxed.
- Taking a Break: A break from routine is an effective way to relax. It allows you some time to switch off from work. When your child feels stressed, let him take a break and rest for a while. Encourage your child to spend some time pursuing his hobbies. That's for sure relaxing. Kids these days are almost as busy as we adults are. A hectic schedule gives them no time to break free. Give them that. A short break will give them the energy to get back to routine things. Taking small breaks during the day, thus taking some time off for oneself, is definitely a great way to relax. Teach your children that and they'll also learn to manage time.
Teen Prescription Drug Abuse
1 in 4 teens has taken a prescription drug that was not prescribed for them by a doctor. Every day 2,500 teens take a prescription pain reliever for a non-medical use for the first time. Abusing prescription medication is not safer than taking illegal "street" drugs. Teen prescription drug abuse can result in addiction, health issues, and even death. 64% of teens (age 12-17) that have abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives. Take Action Now! Create a safe environment. Know what is in your medicine cabinet, properly dispose of unused or expired medications, secure all prescriptions in a safe place and educate family and friends (especially grandparents). Next, notice common signs of abuse such as, physical and psychological changes, academic changes or pills missing. Talk to your teen by being open and non-judgmental. Communicate regularly and discuss the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Parents, below are some resources available to help with the discussions of drugs and alcohol with your child. The preteen and early teen years are an important time to discuss this with them.