Every week parents from across Idaho are connecting using Zoom to share and support each other.

As part of our response to COVID-19, the Federation is facilitating “Parents Connect! Virtual Support Groups” on topics that are of current interest to parents. Information for past and future groups can be found below, as well as links to resources and recordings from some of the topics discussed.

March 25

Navigating Residential Placements During COVID-19

with Jen Griffis

Helpful Suggestions:

  • Residential placements are still available for youth needing that level of care, although timelines for approval may be a little slower. 
  • Some facilities are limiting admissions or have implemented special criteria (in-state admissions only, etc.).
  • At many facilities, family visits on-campus and youth home visits are also being limited or closely reviewed for potential exposure risk. 
  • Consider all of the needs surrounding your personal situation and communicate regularly with the facility staff to find the best way to stay connected with your child during this time. 

March 30

Managing Family Anxiety during COVID-19

With Dr. Lisa Day

Powerful Takeaways:

Think about being a participant in this experience, not a victim of this experience.

  • Think about being a participant in this experience, not a victim of this experience.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on “good enough.”
  • Find ways to be present in the moment. Meditation. Mindfulness. Breathing. Connection.
  • Explore the emotions of this experience…both yours and your child’s.
  • Allow this time to not be normal. Accept the strangeness of these events and the impact it is having on your family.

April 2

Updating Your Child’s Mental Health Crisis Plan for COVID-19

with Regional Children’s Mental Health Clinicians

Helpful Suggestions:

  • Review your current crisis plan with other supportive adults (spouse, partner, relatives, etc.) and develop alternative plans for any areas that might need to change based on the current COVID-19 situation. 
  • Know the state, local and national crisis numbers that are available for assistance and support. You can access a list of number here (http://www.idahofederation.org/families/parent-caregiver-resources/)
  • Law enforcement, ERs, and hospitals are still supporting families during this time. If you find yourself in a crisis don’t hesitate to call them to see how they can best help your family. 
  • If you feel your child needs a service or support to prevent a crisis make some calls to see if it’s available. While there are some supports that are more limited (like respite) there are other options that are now more widely available (such as tele-counseling). 
  • Stay connected to your child’s providers even if you’re not able to do regular appointments. They can be a great resource for helping you update your child’s crisis plan given the current COVID-19 limitations.

April 7

Creating Daily Schedules and Routines that Work

with Michelle Batten and Jen Griffis

Helpful Tips:

  • Even though you’re doing school at home, your schedule does not need to look like a school schedule. Instead of a schedule that focuses on getting school done, try and develop a practical home routine that allows time for school. 
  • Remember the importance of meal & snack times, playtime, and outside breaks. This is for everyone, not just the kids. 
  • Take into account your family “rhythms” when creating a schedule. Are your kids easiest to engage in the morning? Tackle the challenging subjects then. Do they start to get antsy during the afternoon? Make sure to take a movement break or use that time for more active tasks. 
  • If kids are struggling with big emotions or challenging behaviors take the time to connect and help them process those thoughts/feelings before trying to dive back into school work. 
  • Remember to create a schedule that works for you, not just one that works for your kids.

April 13

Stress Reducing Sensory Activities for All Ages

Andrea Moroge, M.Ed., OTL/R

Helpful Tips:

  • Because we’re living in the midst of a traumatic situation, we should consider supporting all kiddos with stress-reducing sensory activities, not just those with a trauma background. 
  • Kids in need of stress-reducing sensory activities will either react with “up-regulation” (increased energy, impulsiveness, aggression) or “down-regulation” (falling down, daydreaming, quieter). The type of activity you do with your kids depends of how they are reacting to stress. 
  • “Up-regulated” kids need push/pull and resistance activities such as hanging, climbing, trampoline, etc. “Down-regulated” kids need activities that provide “movement through space” such as somersaults, log-rolling, and other vestibular movement.
  • Consider providing your child a space within the home where they can practice stress-reducing activities on their own.
  • Trauma is stored in our bodies. We need to give ourselves and our kids the opportunity to release that trauma. This is done through exercise and breath-work (such as mindfulness/meditation).

April 20

Self-Care for Parents During COVID-19

Camille Evans, LMSW and Maja Ledgerwood, LCSW, DSW

Helpful Tips:

  • Pay attention to what you can control and what you can’t control related to the current situation.
  • Consider reframing your thinking using helping Socratic questioning strategies.
  • Be aware of “compassion fatigue” and put self-care strategies in place to help provide support during hard times.
  • Use this time with family at home to be a “self-care role model” by practicing self-care with your kids, but continue to take time for just yourself. Even if it’s just a few minutes every day.

The powerpoint is an excellent source of additional information on self-care and self-compassion. You can watch it by clicking on the link below.

April 28

Practical Strategies for Telehealth Appointments with Kids

Helpful Tips:

  • Download any apps or software that will be used
  • Consider a “practice” appointment with the agency to work through any technical issues
  • Write out questions or topics for conversation

During Telehealth Appointments:

  • Be nearby to “coach”, support, and help kids stay engaged if needed
  • Try to keep the same day/time that was used for previous in-person appointments
  • Be in a quiet room or space