The Importance of Self-Care

Importance of Self-Care

Sometimes managing work, family, and a multitude of daily activities can be overwhelming.  Our challenge is to maintain our resilience so that we can keep doing our vital work with care, energy and compassion. Self-care is an important

10 Things To Do For Yourself Everyday (Self-Care)

  1. Get enough sleep.
  2. Get enough to eat.
  3. Do some light exercise.
  4. Vary the work what you do.
  5. Do something pleasurable.
  6. Focus on what you did well.
  7. Learn from your mistakes.
  8. Share a private joke.
  9. Pray, meditate or relax.
  10. Support a colleague.

How are our counselors and staff taking care of their well-being?

Here’s a great activity to demonstrate the importance of self-care

Resources

Here are a few more helpful self –care resources:

Headspace-Think of Headspace like a gym but for your mind.

The Quiet Place Project– an online space with various exercise to help you relax and get away from it all for a bit.

Pixel Thoughts– to put your stressful thoughts in a shrinking star and watch them fade away for some temporary relief.

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Tips to Encourage Your Child To Read

DHH & KOB2

We’re celebrating Read Across America Day with a few tips to encourage your little one to read.

Kids on the Block values the importance of literacy, and works closely with elementary school students to empower them to become great readers. We strongly believe reading can be enjoyable for any child on any level.

Here are some tips from Kids on the Block to help elementary school students become great readers:

Tips to Encourage Your Child To Read

  • Help your kids set reading goals. Reading is different for everyone, so let your child set personal goals to reach. This can be reading one book independently per day, or even working their way up to their first chapter book.
  • Read to and with your kids. Take turns reading portions of a book before bed. Hearing words read aloud is just as significant as having your child read them independently.
  • Let your kids read common items around the house. For instance, have them read recipe instructions when cooking meals, directions when assembling household products, or even sections of the newspaper.
  • Most importantly, remind your kids that reading can be fun! Encourage them to choose books, magazines, and comics they would enjoy. Reading is beneficial no matter what materials are used.

“The more you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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How To: Encourage Your Children to Be Kind

KOB RAK

We’re often asked, “How can parents encourage their children to be kind?”

We’ve compiled a few tips to help!

  • Say no to “Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words can NEVER hurt me.” Discuss to children about the impact words can really have on others, and encourage them to say kind words, words of encouragement and support.
  • Encourage conversations about actions and consequences. Let kids know that positive actions result in positive consequences. Tell them they can make a big impact by using kindness. For example, when one puppet kid is insulted, she responds with a compliment to the bully. This kindness disarms the bully; he cannot respond to her positivity with negativity and more hurtful words.
  • Make a big deal about little acts of kindness. Point out and congratulate even the smallest acts of kindness from your child. Using positive reinforcement can empower your child to spread kindness more often.

Kids on the Block continually encourages young children to be kind through the “Sticks & Stones” presentation. Through puppetry, the students are challenged to create a positive environment in their own school by sharing kindness with one another. Throughout the show the kids learn how everyone is different and how to celebrate those differences instead of teasing others.

After thinking about how it feels to hurt someone’s feelings, Kids on The Block asks each child in the crowd to find three different people and say one nice thing to each. We encourage them find other students or teachers they may not know very well to spread kindness throughout the school.We also would like to take this opportunity to encourage the adults reading this to find three different people to either say something to or do a sweet gesture for.

Helping kids understand differences will also help create empathy and encourage kids to be kind. Check out our kids teaching what diversity means!

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Not Enough Parents Are Learning Sign

Not Enough Parents Are Learning How To Communicate With Their Kids

Not enough families are learning how to communicate with their kids.

According to Gallaudet research, 90% of children who are deaf are born into hearing families and of those 90% of hearing parents only 23% of them learn American Sign Language. This leaves 77% of children who are deaf in isolation within their home. Imagine spending every day in your home in silence. Looking around the room and seeing everyone smiling, laughing, crying, angry, but having no understand of why. Imagine not having a way to tell your mom you are hungry or hurting or if you have to use the restroom. Imagine not being able to bond with your siblings because you can’t talk to them.  Children in this situation can feel isolated, frustrated, and often depressed.

This will also result in an academic delay. When a child who has never been exposed to language arrives in the school system it is the first time they are exposed to any language. They have to start with the basics; the alphabet, colors, numbers and just understanding that everything around them has a name, even they do!  It takes them years to catch up on basic language skills so these children spend most of their time academically behind and often have to repeat early grade levels for their basic language skills to develop.

So why do many parents not learn sign language? Often it is a matter of resources, time, money, or parents feeling overwhelmed with learning a new language. It’s not that they don’t want to learn, it’s just difficult to figure out where to begin.

However, these days there are plenty of resources that are available and free.  There are organization that teach sign language classes to parents, computer classes, and even phone apps. Here is a list of wonderful resources to help parents not only learn sign language but connect with the deaf community!

Organizations:

STARS- In-home sign language classes for parents.

Bridges-Free sign classes for parents of deaf children, interpreting services, case management for deaf, youth program for deaf and hard of hearing children, events.

Hands and Voices– Support group for parents who have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing

Gate Communications– Sign language classes, interpreting services, events, workshops

Library Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing-Sign language books, videos and other resources. Click on “connect’ for a full list of resources.

Online resources:

STARS Deaf Teaching Hearing Series

Lifeprint.com

ASLPRO.com

Phone APPS for Iphone and Droid-

MarleeSigns

Sign Language dictionary ($4.99)

The ASL App

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Reflections on Random Acts of Kindness

M2S RAK

Reflections on Random Acts of Kindness

So, what is Random Acts of Kindness, better known to me as “RAK”?

A little bit about Random Acts of Kindness 

It is an unplanned act whose goal is to bring kindness and spread kindness to those we know and those we do not know. It’s a practice that offers hope to unsuspecting people to provide a ray of light in someone’s life. It brings a smile to a frown; it can create a positive emotion when none was expected; it can be the beginning of a new start; and it has the capability to change how we treat one another.

I’ve been fortunate to witness “RAK” first hand many times. However, I know my experience is not the norm.

The first thing to understand about RAK is that it can’t be about you, it is about bringing joy to others.

Random Acts of Kindness in Action

Let me share a great example: Last week, while doing a presentation to middle & high school students from three surrounding counties, a powerful RAK showed up.

It wasn’t planned. It just happened.

So, here’s a little backstory, a student bravely shared how she is being bullied at her current school. She shared how challenging everyday life can be without a friend to sit with or talk to and how painful it is to not have someone to support you. She courageously explained how being different than the status quo makes her a target. She shared how a friendly smile, a hug, or compliment could brightness someone’s day.

The beauty of what we do at STARS, and with the MOVE2STAND training, is that we can be the nudge, the voice that says “take some sort of action to be of support to someone else.”

When young people or adults decide they want to support positive change, incredible acts of courage and kindness occur.

As facilitators, we often don’t get to see all the change that comes from our work. We know the seeds have been planted and, with a little sun light and water, the message will grow.

In this case, only hours after leaving the training, I received a picture from a teacher stating, “Today was a wake-up call for them, an eye opening experience for many and that they could and needed to do more”.

The teacher shared with me during our last break, one student from another school went up to the student who is isolated and being bullied, reached out to her to give her that friendly smile, that hug and that compliment she needed so much. I found out they exchanged numbers and have begun a new friendship.

There is comfort knowing, in the words of the Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer, “We can’t do everything and there is a sense of liberation in that but we can all do something.”

My challenge to everyone reading this is to do “something” that brings joy and kindness to others.

Looking for some inspiration?
Here’s a few of my favorite RAK caught in action.

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