Category: <span>dealing with change</span>

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Going back to school tips

In a previous post about going back to school after COVID-19, I have discussed the pro’s and con’s of sending back your children after the lock down period.

In this post, I would like to present some “going back to school tips“, but using pictures. This can be used by parents and teachers to show their children how to tackle going back to school after COVID-19.

Wash your hands

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Wear a mask

Avoid touching your face

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Pack your bag

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Keep a 2m distance

Do the fruit foot shake or elbow touch greeting

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate – it’s real and not a joke. Wear your mask when chatting to friends. It’s cool!

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

No hugs and sharing

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

This isn’t cool

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Spread kindness

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Remember, this isn’t forever

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Better days are coming

You Rock!

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Please feel free to connect with me on my Facebook page, or on Twitter

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Back to school after COVID-19

Back to school after COVID-19

Children will be going back to school after COVID-19. Many parents are struggling with the following question, “Am I doing the right thing to send my child back to school now?”

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Parents are wrestling with the decision to send their children back to school. This question triggers many emotions within parents. What complicates this question is that each family has a unique situation and circumstances.

Some facts to consider

Dr. Fiona Kritzinger, a paediatric pulmonologist (child lung specialist) from Cape Town says the following about going back to school:

  • Children don’t play such a significant role in passing on the COVID-19 virus to others.
  • It seems that less children are infected by COVID-19 than originally assumed.

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

  • Children’s symptoms are very mild and in most cases unnoticed.
  • Italy’s COVID-19 death rate is 80 000 of which no one was a child.
  • Studies indicate that 80% of children who will get sick will have mild symptoms which won’t be more severe compared with other corona viruses like flu and influenza of past years.
  • Less than 5% of children will really get sick and need oxygen.
  • In South Africa between 500 – 600 children die of influenza every year. The risk for a child to be infected with COVID-19 is thus in context with previous year’s influenza rates.
  • What differs with COVID-19 is the number of people who might be infected as well as the heavy load that might be put on our health care systems.
  • Parents also fear the risk of other vulnerable family members. High risk ages are below one year and above 65 years of age.
  • Children are usually more affected by viral infections like the “normal” virus and upper airway infections. Therefore kids have circling anti-bodies, which help to prevent COVID-19.
  • The COVID-19 virus which binds to people’s cells, doesn’t bind well to children’s cells.

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Simple acts can make the most difference

Dr. Kritzinger, further highlights the effectiveness of:

  • Washing hands,
  • Not touching the face,
  • Wearing of masks (although pre-schoolers tend to constantly touch their masks as it seems to be uncomfortable, shift around, hurt their ears, and more).

These three basic personal hygiene steps would go a long way in protecting our children (and ourselves) when they go back to school.

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Dr. Kritzinger indicated that should all precautions be in place from both the home and the school’s side, children can go back to school.

In another article about going back to school after COVID-19, written by two epidemiologists*, of which one specialises in infectious diseases mentions the following facts:

  • Children are often assumed to be important conduits of infectious disease. This is true for influenza (or the common cold), but there is little evidence that children are important drivers of the COVID-19 spread.
  • Children can acquire the disease, but the symptoms are often mild or completely unnoticed.
  • Initial data from studies in China and Iceland show that children are not good transmitters of the virus.

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

  • In detailed contact tracing from China, Korea and other countries, epidemiologists have encountered few instances in which children formed part of a transmission chain.
  • In places where schools remained open, such as Iceland, there is no evidence they were important places of transmission. One detailed investigation of an infected nine-year-old boy in France did not detect a single secondary case after he had contact with 112 peers and adults at three different schools during his symptomatic period.
  • The article clarifies that children are defined as elementary-school age and younger.
  • It is thought that teens and adolescents have similar transmission roles as adults.

 

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

In a recent article published in Loving and Living** the author mentions that going back to school might be less uncomfortable for your child as it is may be for you. “Remember, your child trusts school as a safe space. They don’t have your anxieties about infections and risks – so don’t tell them anything that may lead to their worrying.”

Back to school after COVID-19, some practical tips

This article further highlights three practical things you as parent can do at home, to prepare your child for going back to school:

  • Talk to them about the changes that they can expect, for instance that the classroom might look different than before. Let them practice wearing a mask, and wash hands.
  • Your child might experience a certain amount of separation anxiety after spending so much time at home. Remind them about what the enjoyed at school, and the benefits of going to school, seeing friends again etc.
  • Most importantly, make your child feel safe. Remind them that some countries have already passed the most dangerous point in the pandemic, and that we as a country have a plan to fight the virus as well.
  • Remind the older kids that they would be playing an important role to help the smaller kids adapt to school again.

Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

 

You can download a free eBook about going back to school picture tips by clicking here.

For more information about educational psychology and child development, please connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

 


References:

RSG Radiostasie and KykNET (May 2020)

* Parents are in two minds: Should I send my child back to school or not? National Post, Jay S. Kaufman and Joanna Merckx, April 22, 2020

** 3 things to do before your kids return to school, Published: May 29, Author Lisa Witepski, Loving and Living

Dealing with the covid-19 change Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Centurion Pretoria

Dealing with the Covid-19 change – corona virus

Dealing with the Covid-19 change – corona virus change

Dealing with the Covid-19 change has severely impacted and turned our lives upside down. Being upside down means that a lot of change has happened and are happening in your lives. Change usually bring with and forth a lot of uncertainties and insecurities in our worlds.

Dealing with the covid-19 change Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Centurion Pretoria
Change is constant – prepare for it!

 

 

We want to know what is “ok” and “normal” and it causes anxiety within us if we hear and see on social media and the television daily that there is no “normal” anymore. If you want any practical guidelines on how to set a new normal in this abnormal time of Covid-19, read my post here.

Dealing with the Covid-19 change however does not only mean negativity. Read more about change and what it implies in this post on “who moved my cheese” here.

For more information about Covid-19, and many other educational psychology topics, please visit my Facebook page. Or, if you are looking for some easy-and-fun arts and crafts activities for your children during the lockdown period, you can visit this post here.

 


Photo credits
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
Photo by Bluehouse Skis on Unsplash
How can doing nothing be good for you? Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

How can doing nothing be good for you?

How can doing nothing be good for you?

The corona virus or Covid-19 forces us to deal with change and to stand still. To rethink our values, priorities, the quality of our relationships and our dreams of the future. Who of us haven’t dreamed, before the corona virus, about time to sit still, to be free, ‘stand still’ and come to a halt, read a book, watch our favorite movie or television program, spend time with our family and friends maybe next to the pool while enjoying a nice braai. Maybe we have dreamed about having our own individual time, or having time without people around us as a family, time at the beach, time in nature, time to play with our children, relationship time with our spouses, and so our list can go on and one. But something which totally opposes our dreams of just having our own time, is confronting us during the period of the corona virus: Most of us don’t know how to switch off. Let’s examine the question: how can doing nothing be good for you?

How can doing nothing be good for you? Isn’t being active the same as winning?

Time is money – which is nothing new. Time is also limited and we don’t have time to waste. The social media, technology and ourselves tend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to stay on top of new knowledge. Competition in the corporate world waits for no one only and the strongest, most informed ones will win! Or will they win?

Have a quick look at this two minute videoclip “How Boredom Helps You Do Your Best Thinking”, a TED Talk (technology, entertainment, design) by Zomorodi in 2017.

How can doing nothing be good for you? Boredom can create brilliance!

Boredom can truly create brilliance because when we are bored our thoughts start to wander off. Boredom activate a network in your brain which is called “default mode”. When we do things where we don’t need to think, for example walking the dog, do the washing, raking the garden and more, our body switches to autopilot. Autopilot doesn’t mean it switches off. This wandering off is our brain’s way to find something to stimulate it. These stimulation triggers our brains to start to think creatively  according to Sandi Mann, psychologist and writer of the book “The upside of downtime: Why boredom is good”.

How can doing nothing be good for you? Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria
How can doing nothing be good for you? Doing something peaceful like fishing can be an excellent opportunity for creative thinking!

When we daydream, we go deeper than just the here and now thinking of our conscious mind. Our brain starts to dig into a much deeper level which is called our sub-conscious minds. Our sub-conscious minds can be compared with files where all the highlights and lowlights of our lives are stored. Our sub-conscious mind connects stored parts of information with each another. These connections can’t take place when we are busy with our phones or social media. A prerequisite for creativity, self evaluation and planning for the brain is relaxing and day dreaming. Our subconscious minds help us to set new aims and find ways to reach these aims (Johnathan Smallwood, American psychologist; Andreas Elpidorou, researcher in philosophy University of Louisville.)

How can doing nothing be good for you? Do this and find out!

Put your cellphone down (where you can’t reach it), put the sound off as well. You owe yourself “creating of ideas time”. Our brains are not wired to be constantly busy. By having quiet, peaceful, day dreaming time, your subconscious mind will be ready to provide you with creative ideas, brilliant solutions and new exciting ways to discover yourself and to enjoy life with much more exciting plans. The secret of your success will be to add day dreaming time while doing nothing, to your every day schedule. Enjoy it!


What is a TED talk?

A TED talk is a video created from a presentation at the main TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference or one of its many satellite events around the world. TED talks are limited to a maximum length of 18 minutes and may be on any topic.

 

References:
Rooi Rose, Februarie 2020, ‘Broeikas vir Briljant’.
Photo credits:
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Divorce family counselling Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Why do you as parent need to consider post-divorce recovery seriously?

Why do you as parent need to consider post-divorce recovery seriously?

On my blog I have earlier discussed why post-divorce family therapy is of such importance, and why you should consider post-divorce recovery. Before you consider a divorce or if you are going through a divorce or being divorced, think of the following traumatic changes which your children will most possible get through (depending of your circumstances):

Let’s just refresh our minds. What are commonly accepted to be the most traumatic incidents in life?

Impact of divorce on families Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

The top traumatic events (as also mentioned here) are listed as:

  • The death of a loved one.
  • Separation or divorce.
  • Getting married.
  • Major illness or injury.
  • Starting a new job.
  • Job loss.
  • Workplace stressors.
  • Financial problems.
  • Moving to a new house, town of country.

I recommend the following books that you could use to talk to your children about divorce: “Mama and Daddy Bear’s Divorce“, “Two Homes” and “Living with Mom and Living with Dad“.

The impact of divorce on children can be profound, and long lasting

Impact of divorce on children Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Traumatic changes which children of divorced families are facing:

  • Having a second home. Imagine yourself as parent to be moved weekly from one house to another, where rules and routines differ (even slightly, it differs).
  • Not all their belongings are there, some of which might let them feel at home or secure.
  • Forgetting belongings at the other parent’s house which they haven’t even thought of.
  • The impact of dealing with a new girl-or boyfriend in their parent’s life.
  • New “siblings” to get along with.
  • New “siblings” at home who might occupy or cling to his / her dad / mom and who says it’s my dad / mom and more.
  • Sharing a room with a new sibling (essentially a stranger at first).
  • Adjust to new friends in a dad’s or mom’s life.
  • New ways in which a dad or mom acts and socialises (as age doesn’t matter – whether you are 12, 16, or 82, love sets free feeling good hormones of which endorphin is one, in your brain, and you act differently).
  • Dealing with feelings like: ‘Does my mom / dad still love me?’. ‘Won’t she / he forget about me because his new family lives with him now?’
  • A new baby, and / or ‘siblings’ and divided attention from a parent.
  • A new school.
  • A new caretaker to adjust to.
  • Less financial privileges.
  • More financial privileges.
  • Different financial privileges at the two different households.
  • New unknown emotions and feelings like sadness, guilt (many children believe it was their mistake that their parents got divorced), anger, isolation, depression, insecurities and more.
  • Identity and role changes (not being the youngest / oldest in the family any more).
  • Perceived ‘unfair’ discipline by mom’s / dad’s new boy- or girlfriend.

Put yourself in your children’s shoes

It really is important that you put yourself in your child’s / children’s shoes and try to experience what they might be experiencing. Remember every child is different and not all of them will experience the same emotions and feelings. What a child will experience will depend on aspects like his position in a family, personality types, previous trauma and setbacks in his / her life and more.

Conclusion: Why do you as parent need to consider post-divorce recovery seriously?

Important: The aim of this information isn’t to make you feel more guilty about your divorce. You might have been in a verbal / emotional / physical abusive relationship or in a relationship with a spouse who is addicted, cheats on you and more. Sometimes you don’t actually have another option but to get divorced (and depending of your circumstances it might be better for you and your children). The aim is however to give you a better perspective of what the theory says about divorce, and the impact thereof on families, and to understand what your children might be experiencing when dealing with parents’ divorce. This will give you good tools to help them deal with these huge challenges.

 

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin for more information on Educational Psychology and other Child Development topics.


Photo credits:
Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash
The world is temporarily closed COVID-19, coronavirus

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown

Need to regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown?

How to regain structure in a world struck by the Corona virus?

The Corona virus came unexpectedly and with force. It turned our instant and fast lives upside down. When we opened your eyes the next morning it was still there, it became our new reality, a very unwelcome reality. Let’s explore how to regain control of your life during this time?

The corona virus overwhelms our lives. Worst of all, we start to realize that the Corona virus or Covid-19 virus will stay with us for a while, unless a cure or vaccine is found. The corona virus took over all parts of our being, especially since the introduction of the lockdown period in South Africa, and many parts of the world.

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown
Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown

It is impacting us socially (we can’t go out and spend time with others), emotionally (we feel down, depressed , anxious, angry, etc.), physically (we can’t go for a walk, jog and gyms don’t count as an essential service (!)), and mentally (our thoughts keep on coming back to the corona virus).

What I hear as educational psychologist from clients, the media and from experiences in my own life every day, the Corona virus evokes emotions like anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, loss of control, depression and many more. People want to know why they feel so knocked off their feet all the time. They want to know what’s wrong with them or whether they are loosing their minds.

No, you haven’t lost your mind

Corona caused tremendous losses in our lifes which implies aspects like routine, space, jobs, income, freedom, social life and control. The moment when we loose something, we experience a loss. During any loss we’ll move back and forth between the following phases:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Negotiation
  • Acceptance.

It is quite natural to experience the phases of loss mentioned above, and people spend different amounts of time in each of these phases. Don’t worry too much if you spend too much time in a phase, however, if you are really stuck in one of these phases, and it is interfering too much with your life, do contact me for a consultation.

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown: What to do

What can I do to make Covid-19 better?

Questions which arises are “What can I do to make Covid-19 better?” or “How can I regain control in my life?” Research tells us when dealing with a loss and trauma, structure plays an important part in regaining a sense of control in your lives. The most important aspect is to get a routine, similar to the one before Covid-19 existed, for instance:

  • Get up at the same time each morning.
  • Don’t get up too late (this means that you should also go to bed on a decent time the night before).
  • Exercise (in your house if you can’t go outside). Any form of exercise can work, and no excuse is accepted. Walking inside your house, or garden counts; skip, jump on one leg, put on a happy song and dance for a few minutes.
  • Take a shower.
  • Put on your clothes, make-up, comb your hair – look in the mirror and see a well taken care of picture of yourself.
  • Do what you normally do during the week, for example working, keeping your kids busy, etcetera.
  • Take a break and have coffee / tea outside, together with your family members – if they are there (sunshine provides vitamin D which adds to your positive feelings).
  • Go back to work and remember to take regular breaks. Put on a happy song during your second break to lift up your feelings.
  • Go for a walk after work.
  • Read / do something that you never have time for (make a list and tick them off every day).
  • Spend time with your family, or on your own if you are alone, make a nice fire, play a board game, spend time on your hobby or do something new or something that you like).
  • Prepare and enjoy some good, healthy food.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Clean up your kitchen and house.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Have time apart from the television and internet, as it might easily become all that you do most of the time.
  • Be brave: this implies spending time on your own and “face” your fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, etcetera.
  • CONTROL what you can, which are all indicated above.
Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown
Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown: Structure equals routine

If you want to regain control of your life, you need routine. Routine, even if you aren’t a very routine person, brings structure into our lives when it seems to be falling apart. The moment when you realise that there are things that you can control and start doing them, you will discover that routine provides you with a sense of security. Control and security cause our brains to release “feeling good hormones” of which endorphin is one. The challenge is however to stick to a routine.

Isn’t it time to take up the challenge of setting a proper routine and to regain a sense of structure in your life?


For more relevant information, please connect with me on my Facebook page.

Dealing with change Educational Psychologist

Dealing with change by a psychologist

Dealing with change: Introduction

If you are reading here, you are a human being and if you are a human being you certainly had experiences with dealing with change, or will experience a lot of changes in your life.

I meet a lot of people every day who struggle dealing with change and who wants to know how to teach their children to deal with change.

Adults, children as well as old people are all fighting a huge battle to cope with the changes that life brings us, AND we get scared and overwhelmed in trying to cope with these changes BUT most of us have to hold the pose in order to cope with the peer pressure and other people’s remarks about whether we do cope/or don’t cope with change. In this process, we even experience more pressure in order to cope with our changes.

I’ve read a wonderful practical book (which includes lots of pictures) “Who moved my cheese?” by Spencer (dad) and Christian (son) Johnson. It’s about dealing with the change of new circumstances. The book compares things that are changing in your life with a heap of cheese that is suddenly moved, leaving some “mice” confused. The story then tells the tale of how the mice deal with this situation.

Dealing with change Educational Psychologist
Who moved my cheese?

Dealing with change: Personality impact

Every person has different personality traits that can assist in dealing with change, for example:

– noticing change early;
– scrambling into action;
– denying fear;
– withstanding fear;
– adapt in time;
– see that change can lead to better things.The moral of the story is that change doesn’t mean bad things.  Change in this book brought a better life, better cheese that the mice could have ever imagined themselves to have and they got ten times more cheese and more variety than before.

Dealing with change: what is in it for you?

What can your magical cheese be?

Some important lessons that the mice teach us about dealing with change:

– Know the different parts of your personality.  Know your own strong and weak points.
– When you stop being afraid, you will start to feel good.
– Don’t cling to the old cheese (your job, school, city).  The sooner you will let go of the old cheese, the sooner you will be able to find new cheese.
– See a picture of your new cheese in your head.  This picture will help you to find the new cheese.
– Smell the cheese often, so that you will know when it is getting old.  This means to be able to stand aside and take a look at yourself and your situation, so that you could make changes if needed and not get stuck in your own old ways of thinking and doing.
– Move with your cheese and enjoy it, which means that life changes daily and you also change daily.  So, move out of your safe zone and start to enjoy the new things (there’s a big chance that it could be better than your old life!).

Dealing with change: Fun activity (make your own collage)

– Cut out at least ten pictures (use old magazines) that you’ve got in your head of your new cheese (example if I have to move to a new city I will cut out pictures of a smile; a second picture of me reaching out and talk to new people, a third picture of myself (writing next to it “You can do it!” or “I am proud of myself!”).
– Glue the pictures on a carton and make your own collage (it means using a lot of pictures to make your own personal story).
– Write words and/or sentences of motivation next to your pictures.Dealing with change Educational Psychologist
– Put it on a wall/place where you could see it every day.
– Take at least three minutes every day to look at your picture and imagine yourself doing the actions.
– Make it part of your day to think and re-think your new cheese.
– It will soon become part of your thinking and it will help you to start living these new positive ideas.
– Enjoy your new cheese journey!
– If you want to teach your children how to deal with change, talk to the them about change, what change means, what feelings both they, you and the rest of the family are having.  Every family member needs to put his own feelings into words.  If your child is still young (under six), use a story about dealing with change to explain to him what’s going to happen (for example when you move).
– Teach your child to enjoy new cheese and not to get stuck with the old cheese. 

If you are struggling with dealing with change, why don’t you try these fun activities, and join your fellow humans in dealing with change.

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Health, books, writing are all part of the essential school readiness tips for parents

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Back to school after COVID-19 Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Going back to school tips

In a previous post about going back to school after COVID-19, I have discussed the pro’s and con’s of sending …