Welcome back to my blog and thank you for reading. After taking a hiatus due to COVID and mom duties, I'm happy to say I am now in a place where I can give back to my readers.
So, what has changed?
1) I am now primarily virtual - upon the pandemic doing what it did, I decided to move my practice to all telehealth so that I can continue to be of service to my clients. Fast forward a year and a half later and I'm still providing therapy virtually to my adult clients. Some exceptions are being made for children under 11.
2) I now work with children ages 3-11 - this has been the biggest shift for my practice and it has bought me full circle to how I intended to begin my career as a social worker. To learn more about the work I do with children, click here.
3) I also work with parents/guardians - in order to help the children I work with, it also makes sense to help guide the parents/guardians too. I mean, who else is going to help that parent/guardian manage the embarrassing public tantrums that we have all been witness to, and let's admit it judged, in the supermarket. ;)
4) I became a Mom - Five years ago I gave birth to a child who is the primary focus of my world - especially when we are dealing with a global crisis. As a result, I took time away from my blog and focused on adjusting to this new life role while also managing my home life, my mental well-being, my practice and the clients I work with.
So, that is it in a nutshell. My practice is focused primarily on working with children and families but I still also love working with adults who are family caregivers, are coping with Multiple Sclerosis and/or as well as other daily struggles.
Moving forward, I expect to distribute a Monthly Newsletter and continue adding to the blog. Be sure to sign up here.
Thanks for reading!
Christine M. Valentin
Structure is something many of us need and may thrive off of. Nowadays, however, our routine and structure have been thrown out of whack. This disruption can leave parents and children feeling frustrated, anxious and overwhelmed. Creating a schedule, as mentioned in my previous blog, can help reduce our stress by making things more manageable. Knowing where to begin, however, can be a challenge. Below are tips that can help you get started.
1) Get Your Child(ren)'s Input - A key factor in getting kids to adhere to a schedule is getting their feedback about what they would like included in the schedule. Ask your child(ren) for one to three things they would like to do each day or during the week. Once they make suggestions, have a discussion on whether they can be included and when to include them. Based on their age, the depth and length of discussion you have will vary but ultimately the goal is to give your child(ren) a chance to voice their opinions and desires.
2) Include the Basis and Must-Haves - all schedules should have the basics like mealtimes (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner). Snack time and nap time can also be included, depending on your child's age. Must-have activities/tasks will also vary but essentially can include things like school work, reading, playing, gaming and/or screen time.
I'm also a big advocate for family time. Even though most of us are home with each other all day, that does not equate to us spending quality time with each other. Family time, whereby every one is doing the same thing and interacting with each other (not their devices), can either be done with mealtimes or separately in an activity like movie night.
3) Try to Align All Schedules - When trying to determine the times for each activity/task, aim to match them up to what you have going on. In other words, are you in meetings most of the morning while your child(ren) are learning at school? Is your younger one not in school but you still have meetings to attend? Choose activities/tasks your child(ren) can do without your need for assistance or that keep them distracted enough so that you can accomplish what you need. When you are free, perhaps that is when you can schedule activities/tasks that require your involvement.
4) Be Realistic & Flexible - creating a schedule is meant to serve as a guide, not the end all be all. Given our current circumstances, it is unrealistic to believe everyday will go as planned. Being flexible can entail switching activities/tasks around. For example, if screen time is usually in the afternoon but you are having a stressful morning or have an important meeting, then change it. Let your child(ren) know that the change is occurring for a particular reason so that they know it is not permanent.
5) Make it fun - creating a schedule by hand, on poster board, construction paper, computer paper, or whatever you have around the house can be a fun way to get everyone involved. Painting the background, adding stickers, using crayons and/or markers can be a great way of enhancing the experience and increasing the chance of your child(ren)'s adherence.
Do you have other questions about creating a schedule for your child? Having a hard time getting your child(ren) to adhere to the schedule? Feel free to email me directly for some recommendations. I can be reached at email@example.com. Be sure to include age of child(ren).
There is no doubt that these days many of us are adjusting our schedules and are dealing with uncharted territory. Aside from figuring out how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, many of us are also figuring out how to maintain a work-life balance. Below are three tips that may work to help ensure you are not working around the clock.
Create a schedule: Knowing what you have lined up for the day ahead can be stress reducing. What time you are waking up, in meetings, having lunch, having dinner, etc. are just a few things to include in your schedule. Be sure to also schedule fun activities like watching favorite shows/movies, calling family and friends and playing games. Doing so can help put your day in perspective and remind you about your life outside of work. It can also help you create boundaries with others who may continue to ask more of you.
Stick to your days off: Now that many of us are set up to work from home, it can be too easy and tempting to continue to work after hours or even on our days off. Along with creating a schedule, identify which day(s) you are of. This can be essential to making sure you don't burn out. If you find yourself needing to play catch up, then give yourself permission to perhaps work for part of the day that you are off. But, the goal is to play catch up and not add on more responsibilities or make yourself more available to work.
Remove Temptation: The saying "out of sight" out of mind can really hold true in a work from home situation. Removing objects that stimulate you into work mode is key when trying to avoid working 24/7. Try taking items like your laptop, your appointment book, school books etc., and placing them out of your vision. I personally, pack up my laptop and other work related items into a backpack and then place it in a closet. This way, even if I were tempted to do some work, when I am supposed to be off, I would have to actively unpack everything. Having to do so would at least cause me to think twice about what I am doing.
There you have it. Just a few suggestions to help reduce feelings of stress and potential burnout. What we are going through right now is definitely challenging. While it is great we have the technology to continue doing our work, sometimes the ability to be too accessible makes us forget how to shut down and become inaccessible.
What are tips and strategies you use to help prevent yourself from working too much? Please share them below.
Christine M. Valentin
Welcome to my blog where I provide tips on feeling more hopeful and in control of your parenting life.