Youth and Family News

January 29, 2023

This Sunday in YFM

January 16 was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and January 30 marks the start of the Season for Peace. Also called the Season for Non-Violence, it is an International, grassroots movement dedicated to demonstrating non-violence and peaceful action are powerful ways to heal, transform, and empower our lives and communities. In Unity, we have renamed it Season for Peace because we believe it is important to focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want to manifest what we seek in our lives.

Join us as we learn about Mother Teresa and her peaceful impact on the world as we find that Place of Peace within each of us.

Check-ins and classes for toddlers and Pre-K and Kindergarten children are in the main building. Elementary and older classes check-in and meet in Unity Oaks.

Real-Time Parenting

Language of Listening® Parenting Tip: Rather than trying to second-guess a child to connect with them, get out of your head and join them in the present moment by objectively describing what you see them doing, and let them tell you more. Simply SAY WHAT YOU SEE®.

This tip is provided by Sandy Blackard, award-winning parenting author of Say What You See® Copies of this book are available in the UCOH Bookstore.

Prayer for Children

In their hearts, young people know they can make a difference. Today we are setting an intention for friendships, purpose, and sharing our inner light. Due to the pandemic, many children have been separated from some of their family members and friends. They have had to learn to navigate the world of friendship and relationships in a new way, sometimes making them feel lonely and isolated.

Prayer: Let’s pause for a moment to remember how we felt as children when someone acknowledged we could contribute to our world just by being who we are. Now we bring to mind and heart the children and young people in our lives; we enfold them with a light that is bright in nature and sacred by design. We affirm possibilities for growth and happiness for them as they proceed, joyfully and undeterred, to realize their intentions and dreams.

Affirmation: With our inner divine light, any differences fade and we shine brightly to reveal our true identity and sacred connection with all.

How to Help Kids Cope with Tragedy

Troubling current events can be upsetting and confusing to children. Although adults have the cognitive skills to process sudden news-making events, a child’s brain usually isn’t developed enough to quite make sense of something that doesn’t seem right.

Children have difficulty understanding things that disrupt what they’ve come to understand as normal.  Upsetting current events can bring out strong emotions in children.  Here’s how parents can help them cope.

Before jumping into conversations with your child, figure out what they already know and understand first.  Start by saying, “I wonder if you’ve heard or seen ____,” and then listen to what they have to say. 

If they hadn’t heard anything yet, say “something important is happening in the world and we’d like to talk with you about it.” Keep the conversations brief, allowing time for your child to process what they’ve heard and respond with insights or questions.  Some of these conversations will gradually unfold over several days, weeks or even months.

The amount of detail you provide depends on the child’s age.  Typically, children under the age of seven aren’t developmentally capable of understanding the entire issue, and therefore have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy.

When very young children see multiple video clips of the same event, it can seem like it’s recurring multiple times. It can be traumatizing.

If very young children are aware of the events, they might not have questions but instead respond with fearfulness, clinginess, irritability, sadness or physical symptoms like stomachaches.

Older kids will be getting pieces of information through social media or conversations they overhear. It may not be accurate, so it’s important to talk with them to help them process it.

Ask your child how they are feeling about the news. Show empathy to validate their feelings, no matter what they are. Use simple language and continue to follow normal routines which will help create a sense of security and normalcy for the child. Reassure them that caregivers and other adults are still there to help keep them safe and provide comfort. Reviewing or practicing a safety plan, talking about how to stay safe when you are apart, will help them to feel prepared for the unexpected.

When discussing why people behaved the way they did, parents should help children consider various perspectives.  Just make clear that feelings are not facts. Tell kids that without knowing a person’s background or experiences, it’s impossible to understand the motivation behind the behavior.

Then show kids how to use their own feelings to cope with an event.  Help them use their own emotions to shift from a sense of helplessness to feeling like we could move toward change.  Help them see that things like their own anger can signal an injustice or provide a catalyst for action.

Empowering children to make a difference helps as well.  Writing a card to people affected by tragedy, joining a peaceful protest, or even praying for others will help kids use their emotion to drive action, and that will help them cope.

Be on the lookout for deeper signs of distress, like aggressive behavior, withdrawal or isolation.  If children seem especially sad or angry, talking to a school counselor or health professional will help.

Upsetting current events often come out of nowhere and leave parents little time to figure out how to help their kids deal with them.  So it’s ok to let them in on a little secret:  You’re human, too. Parents need support too. Take a moment to figure out where you are and manage your own emotions first.

Source: National Geographic

How to Help Kids Through a Panic Attack

The pounding heartbeat, racing thoughts, shortness of breath, and feeling like you’re losing control are disconcerting symptoms for adults to experience, but they’re even more alarming for a child who doesn’t know why it’s happening. As a parent, it’s scary not knowing how to help your child when they clearly need help.

1) Verbalize what’s happening to them.

Panic attacks are intense for the person experiencing them and saying something like “Calm down” isn’t really helpful. They want to calm down, they just can’t.

For our kids, explaining exactly what’s happening, what they can expect to happen, and what they actually can control is the first step toward regaining calm. After the first time through it, they don’t need this much detail, but here’s a basic script of where we started:

“You’re okay, even though it doesn’t feel like it. You’re just having a panic attack. The fear part of your brain is sort of stuck for a bit, and it keeps revving up your body. It’s like your brain thinks there’s a tiger chasing you, even though there isn’t. That makes your heart beat really fast and makes it hard to breathe. You might feel like you’re losing control. You might even feel like you’re going crazy. But it’ll pass soon, I promise. Panic attacks are just temporary glitches. Your brain and body will calm back own, usually within ten minutes or so. Let’s work on helping you feel better while it works its way out of your system.”

2) Use “box breathing” to help them catch their breath.

Breathing intentionally is one of the quickest ways to reset when your body is in a heightened state. The best technique we’ve encountered for this is an exercise called “box breathing” or “square breathing.” It’s actually a tool Navy Seals use to keep calm under stress, but it’s so simple even kids can use it.

Slowly draw the shape of a square in the air, starting from the bottom left-hand corner. As you draw the first line upward, have your child breathe in for a count of five. Then have them hold their breath while you draw the top line, then exhale while you draw down the right side. Finally, have them hold the exhale while completing the square with the bottom line. Then repeat—breathe in, hold, breath out, hold. Around four or five seconds for each breath and hold, works wonders for getting breathing under control, which helps calm the brain and body.

3) Ground them in reality with the “4-3-2-1” exercise.

Panic is the brain gripped by a state of fear that doesn’t reflect what’s actually happening. It’s basically the amygdala—the fight or flight center of the brain—wigging out for no apparent reason. The intense fear triggers the fight or flight response, forming a sort of feedback loop, with the body freaking out because the brain’s freaking out, which makes the body freak out, and so on.

Getting the brain to focus on the body’s physical senses can help break that loop and bring the body and brain back to a state of calm (or at least calmer). For this, we use a simple grounding exercise we call “4-3-2-1.”

Have the child look for and then name, out loud:

  • Four things they can see. (“I see my lamp. I see the cat. I see the window. I see my teddy bear.”).
  • Three things they can feel. (“I feel my pillow. I feel your hand. I feel the sheets.”)
  • Two things they can hear. (“I hear cars outside. I hear the heater running.”)
  • One thing they can smell. (“I smell your lotion.”)

I always have the kids say a full sentence for each thing they count, as that reinforces the physical aspect of the exercise. Without fail, my kiddos are always calmer when they get to what they can smell. Super simple, but super effective.

It’s important to note that these exercises don’t stop an attack in its tracks. Panic usually just has to run its course. What they do is take the edge off, make the attack more tolerable, and help the kiddo wait it out without feeling like they have no control at all while it’s happening.

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks (which share similar symptoms and can respond to the same tools) aren’t fun for kids or for parents. But when a kid knows what’s happening and a parent has tools to help them manage it, they’re a lot less scary for everyone involved.


Travel Around the World Tours

Here’s a new list of places to visit that was shared by some of our UCOH friends:

GoNoodle: Good Energy at Home

This free online resource for parents, caregivers, teachers and kids offers free movement, yoga and mindfulness videos, downloadable curricular activities , and off-screen home activities. These resources span a variety of abilities, interests, ages and subjects.

Unity Musician Mark Stanton Welch

Stay-at-Home Resource Portal

Enjoy inspirational uplifting songs with consciousness-raising lyrics for all ages by Unity Musician Mark Stanton Welch.

Virtual Field Trips

Explore Your Child’s Feelings with Fun Activity: Do you want to help your child express his or her feelings? Action for Healthy Kids has information for parents and caregivers about expressing feelings through colors, like finger painting.

Watch Houston Zoo’s Rhino Cam: The Houston Zoo has a great rhino cam that you can watch anytime. You can even control the webcam. See the huge rhinos play in mud.

Watch Edinburgh Zoo’s Panda Cam: Grab you children and gather around your computer to watch cute pandas play. The Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland has a panda camera. Watch them play and eat bamboo!

Watch Dolphin Camera from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Many of us may not live near the ocean, but we can enjoy beautiful dolphins thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

View Photographs from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts:  Calling all space enthusiasts! The Houston Museum of Fine Arts has posted its Space City photographs, celebrating humankind’s fascination with space and exploration. Enjoy the neat photographs!

Explore Carlsbad Caverns from Your Home: Do you love exploring caves? Get ready to venture through Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico! The National Parks Service and Google have teamed up to create a virtual tour of this park.

Explore the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions: Get ready to explore the Galapagos Islands from the comfort of your living room. Watch the videos with your children and discuss the incredible wildlife and culture.  Go to YouTube to watch the videos.

Take a Virtual Tour of Yellowstone National Park:  Are you ready to explore one of Wyoming’s most beautiful parks? You can do it from the comfort of your living room. Take a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park! You also can watch Old Faithful with their webcam.

Take a Virtual Tour of Yosemite National Park: While you’re inside your own home, take a virtual tour of Yosemite National Park in California. Make sure you have your sound on.

Take a Virtual Field Trip of Johnson Space Center: Do you love outer space? If the answer is yes, join Boeing and Discovery Education on a virtual field trip of Johnson Space Center in Houston. The exclusive behind-the-scenes tour will introduce students to a few of the employees who are writing the next chapter of space history.

Take a Virtual Nature Walk: Join the National Parks Service and Google to explore the Kenai Fjords in Alaska. Get ready to rappel into a crevasse, kayak through icebergs and watch a glacier recede.

Take a Virtual Tour of the National Museum of Natural History: Looking for ideas to keep your children entertained if they’re staying inside? Take a virtual tour of the National Museum of Natural History! Go to the webpage to begin your journey. Be sure to see the Giant Ground Sloth! Wow!

Check Out Houston Zoo Web Cams: Watch gorillas, giraffes, rhinoceroses, and more from your living room thanks to the Houston Zoo web cameras.

Watch Georgia Aquarium Web Cams: Seeking all underwater adventurers! While the Georgia Aquarium is temporarily closed, you can still view the amazing fish via their web cameras. Check out the Jelly webcam. Make sure you also view the Ocean Voyager webcam. Lookout for the whale shark!

Watch Animal Cameras at San Diego Zoo: The San Diego Zoo has many live cameras running on some of their most popular animals. A favorite to watch is the baboon cam!

Watch Panda Cameras While You’re Inside: Looking for ideas to keep your children entertained if you’re staying inside? The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Panda Cams are still running while the National Zoo is temporarily closed. See cute pandas chomping on bamboo and playing in trees.

Watch Cincinnati Zoo’s Home Safari,  Weekdays at 2PM: Join the Cincinnati Zoo each weekday at 2:00 PM CST for the Home Safari Facebook Live series. The event highlights the Zoo’s amazing animals and includes activities students can do from home. Go to the Facebook page for more information, or visit the Zoo’s webpage.

Take a Virtual Tour of Boston Children’s Museum:  Get ready to virtually walk through three floors of the Boston Children’s Museum. Make sure you check out the Explore-a-Saurus and the Japanese House. Visit the webpage to begin your tour.

Explore the Museum of Metropolitan Art:  Do you love art? If you do, New York City’s Museum of Metropolitan Art has an interactive museum map for kids to explore the famous museum. There are also behind-the-scenes videos featuring kids just like them and a “time machine” to let kids explore thousands of years of art! View #MetKids for more information.

Explore Hundreds of Art Museums:  Join Google and explore hundreds of art museums and galleries with Google’s Arts and Culture web engine. See paintings by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and many more. View the high-resolution images today!

Conscious Discipline Resources




Youth & FamilyYouth and Family News