Click here for 411 FOR PARENTS: Resources for the New Not-Normal Essex County Food Distribution on Thursday 6/4 CLICK HERE for details.

March 2020: Mindfulness, COVID-19 info for parents, mistakes as opportunities

Welcome to the March 2020 edition of Let’s Talk, COPE’s new monthly parenting newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you up to date on parenting-related news, offer useful parenting tips, and provide you with insights via various topics from our website SPENJ.ORG

In this edition we’re focusing on mindfulness, explaining why you might want to find a way to integrate some kind of mindfulness “practice” into your life, both for your own well-being and to be a better parent.

Please let us know what you think of our newsletter – just drop an email to copeletstalk@gmail.com or sjohnsoncope@gmail.com. Send us any topics or issues you want to learn more about. We want this newsletter to be informative, useful, timely and worthwhile, so your feedback is very important. And if you’re not receiving the newsletter directly from us (sjohnsoncope@gmail.com) and would like to “subscribe”, just shoot an email to the addresses above! 

Thanks, 

Susan, Ruth, Logetty, Sharlene, Keira and Carol 

COPE’s Parenting Team

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We hear and read about mindfulness a lot these days. It’s such a common term that it can hard to ask what it means and how to “do” it. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Basically, it is the work of focusing your thoughts on something physical (Often breathing or looking closely at something) to “turn off” the loop of worrying or thinking about what you’re doing or have done or thought.  Here’s an excerpt from an article about simple practices will breathe space into your daily routines.

Next time you’re stuck in traffic, try this:

Mindful Driving: Drive Yourself Calm, Not Crazy

There’s nothing like heavy traffic and impatient drivers to trigger the “fight or flight” response. That’s why road rage erupts and stress levels soar, while reason is overrun. The worse the traffic, the worse the stress. Los Angeles, where I live, has some of the worst traffic around, and some of the most un-serene drivers. Emotions run high, tempers flare, tires squeal.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, the snarliest traffic jam can provide an excellent opportunity to build your mindfulness muscle, increase your sense of connection to others, and restore some balance and perspective. Click here to read more.

Here’s a link to a short video explanation of mindfulness.

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Recent parenting news you may have missed:

Coronavirus remains at the top of the news. Click here for a link to a New York Times article How to Prepare for the Coronavirus. With your kids, check out this NPR story—there’s a link to a 3-minute story and to a comic exploring the virus with tips for staying healthy…did we hear “wash your hands”? ) You can find the latest news updates about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by clicking here. We’ll keep our website updated as new information becomes available.

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March’s featured parenting tip: 

Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity

Reframe the message! Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. So, what can we do as parents to encourage this “growth” mindset? Click here to read more.

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The Tip of the Week is updated on the website every week or two during the school year. Click here to see the current Tip of the Week. 

Upcoming parenting workshop: Mindfulness for Parents

March 14 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm at Union Congregational Church, Montclair
March 22 from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm at the West Orange Public Library


Click here for flyer with details and registration information (pre-registration is requested in case of schedule changes). 

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Mindful Parenting: Getting Your Emotions Under Control

We live saturated with information, plugged into devices using applications that daily, hourly and minute-by-minute repeat and reinforce messages that convey information, anxiety and concern. As parents we not only have to figure out what age-appropriate access we want for our children, but also how to manage our own responses to this never-ending barrage. Click here to read the entire article.

We found some websites with helpful resources to help begin to build mindfulness into your daily routine:

  • So you like the way you feel after practicing some deep breathing and want to find a way to fit some kind of mindful practice into your daily routine. One route is to use an app on your phone. There are some good free apps available. The magazine Mindful has some suggestions.
  • Want to start your week off right? Check out destressmonday.org where you’ll find a weekly tip for refreshing your mind.
  • Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity. Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. Click here to read the entire article.
  • This article is from our website and provides practical suggestions for starting to use one of the key tools of mindfulness. Can Meditation Positively Impact Your teenager? It Absolutely Can! A teenager’s life is full of stressful decisions and difficult emotions. Meditation is known to reduce conditions that start in adolescence, including anxiety, depression, and stress. Meditation is the purposeful focusing of the mind, which trains your mind to your mind to slow down, relax, and stay positive. Click here to read the entire article.

Feeling blue? Eat Dark Chocolate

Looking for a rationale to keeping a bar of dark chocolate in the drawer for emergencies? In a recent study a cross-sectional survey of 13,626 adults found that after eating dark chocolate, people experienced less depressive symptoms. If you only like milk chocolate, you’re out of luck, the chocolate has to have at least 45% cocoa. Click here to read the entire article. 

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Looking for more parenting resources? Click here to visit our parenting website: supportingparentsessexnj.org

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