The YMCA of Greater Louisville is the largest provider of child care in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and we, along with the nation, watched in shock as the tragic events unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut.
Our hearts go out to every person that was touched by those events. We know that children will have questions about what happened, and we as the Y, feel that it is important for us to help parents communicate on this difficult issue.
Below are some guidelines that can be used if/when your child seeks answers:
- Try to exhibit a sense of calm in the presence of children.
- Create a safe environment and allow children to freely express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear or consequences. Ask and discuss what makes them feel safe.
- If the topic arises, ask how they feel and let them know that you understand. Validate their feelings and let them know that how they feel is OK. Sympathize and empathize with them.
- Allow children to put their grief and/or emotions into action, i.e. write a letter or draw a picture.
- Be age appropriate, but direct, when answering questions. If the topic comes up, families should be encouraged to take breaks from the media coverage.
- Take note of any behaviors that seem to be out of character for the child as this may indicate the need to seek professional intervention. Behaviors can include, but are not limited to, persistent nightmares, bed wetting, soiling, aggressive behavior, isolating, etc.
- Maintaining normalcy in routines can also be helpful and comforting in these situations.
The Y will continue to work with our local experts to learn how we can continue to maximize the safety of our facilities and programs.
The New Year is a time for new beginnings and to set goals that strengthen you and make your life better. When making New Year’s Resolutions, the YMCA of Greater Louisville wants to remind families that resolutions should also include family time.
Here are some simple things families can do at home to improve their health while spending more time together. The following are 5 New Year’s Resolutions the Y recommends for 2013:
- Eat Together. Sitting down together for a meal is a great way for parents and kids to share stories, talk about the school day or share their favorite part of the day. Set aside time for your family to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at least once a week to catch up.
- Volunteer Together. Giving back and supporting neighbors benefits everyone. It teaches children and teens to the value of helping others while meeting new people or discovering new interests. Find an opportunity in your community that the entire family may enjoy, such as distributing food at a local food bank or cleaning your neighborhood park.
- Unplug from Technology. Limit screen time (TV, video games, computer, etc.) and instead set aside an hour to play games, go for a family walk, take a bike ride, or a trip to the park. Make some family memories outdoors!
- Be Physically Active. It’s important for kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. And children aren’t the only ones who need activity – 30 minutes a day for adults too. Go swimming during Family Swim at your neighborhood Y or take a family exercise class.
- Put Extras to Good Use. Do you have extra clothes or canned goods that could benefit others in need? Clean out your pantry, closet or attic and donate extra items to homeless shelters or community outreach programs. You can get the entire family involved and demonstrate the value of giving.
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?