Our Blog

Welcome to our SpringSpot blog! 

We focus on family wellbeing, and offer kids enrichment programs and camps which incorporate social emotional learning, movement, and fun!  We also provide exercise programs for adults and kids to help you and your family thrive together. 

 

Enjoy and start enriching your body and mind today.   



As we head into the new school year and adjust to the reality of distance learning, we are all experiencing new challenges and fears. As a teacher, I have made huge adjustments to ensure that I am meeting all of my students’ needs. I know that you as parents are feeling the same; searching for the best way to support your child during distance learning and keep yourself healthy and sane. 


Here are some tips and tricks to make distance learning a bit more palatable for you and your child throughout the year:  


Set up an open workspace for your child

One of the hardest things to adjust to is the fact that children are learning at home. Children are used to learning in a school environment. They are used to being in a classroom, with their peers modeling the classroom behavior, and a teacher guiding them throughout the day. Now, they don’t have that physical separation between school and home. This is why setting up a workspace for your child is crucial. When setting up the workspace, keep the following in mind:

  • Setup your child with good ergonomics..  This means their table and chair are at the correct height, their feet are touching the ground and they are not hunched over.  Their device is at eye level. 

  • Materials accessible.  Be sure all necessary materials are accessible at their workspace. This includes pencils, pens, erasers, blank sheets of paper, and anything else they may need for their lessons.

  • Water bottle. Have your child place their water bottle by their desk and have them fill it throughout the day. 

  • Add personality.  Let them decorate their workspace and provide stress relievers such as silly putty or stress balls to keep their hands busy.

  • Break times. Encourage your child to leave their workspace in between lessons and when the day is over. 


Take time before class to go over Zoom rules and techniques

Help your child start class with confidence by getting them acquainted with Zoom or Google Meet before class starts. Some Zoom techniques and rules that are especially helpful are:

  • Show your child how to mute and unmute.

  • Remind them to raise their hand if they have something to say. (Zoom even has hand emojis they can use!)

  • Make sure they know to stay at the computer or device and keep their video on.

  • Remind them to always show respect to the teacher and other students by staying quiet while others talk.


Create a daily schedule that makes sense for you and your family

Another challenge you may be facing with distance learning is finding a consistent and balanced routine. You might be working from home and juggling a lot of different schedules. For some, scheduling out your day may seem nearly impossible. However, I strongly encourage you to find a schedule for your child that works best for you and your family and here is why: 

  • Children thrive off of consistency. It helps them feel secure and understand expectations.

  • Children are used to following a daily schedule at school. This helps them stay engaged in their lessons and focused on their work.

  • Schedules benefit your child’s emotional, cognitive and social growth.


Find time in the day to step away from the computer

Along with creating your daily schedule, be sure to schedule time to have your child (and you) step away from the computer. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, children need a chance to take a break and move their body! Here are some ideas for what they can do:

  • Go for a walk outside.

  • Put on some music and have a dance party!

  • Take part in a family exercise challenge. Encourage each other to do 100 pushups and see who can finish first!

  • Watch one of SpringSpot’s wellness videos. Here, children can stretch and move their body, find their calm, and go on an adventure!


Find opportunities to connect

Set aside time in the day for your child to step away from school and connect with themselves and others. Encourage your child to get all of their work done before 4pm so that they can focus on spending time alone or socializing with their peers. Here are a few ideas for after school:

  • Spend time as a family to connect and talk about your day. Check out the list of questions that go beyond, “how was your day?” our Members page under Parent Resources. 

  • Read a book or learn something new like making friendship bracelets. 

  • Check out our Online Fall Camp! At camp, children get a chance to be creative, move their bodies, and socialize with their peers.


Be kind to yourself

You’re doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your child’s teacher or peers. We are all adjusting to this new normal and deserve to give ourselves and each other a little grace.



Sincerely,

Teacher Sarah



Updated: Sep 16, 2020




What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has been a hot topic at schools for the past few years but what is SEL and how can parents foster this at home? SEL broadly refers to how a person:

  • Regulates their emotions

  • Communicates with others

  • Uses compassion and empathy to understand the needs of other people

  • Builds relationships and

  • Makes good decisions


One of the most widely referred to frameworks for SEL is CASEL 5 which breaks down five important competencies that make up emotional intelligence. These 5 competencies are: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making. Within these 5 competencies we can work on social emotional skills that impact our overall emotional intelligence.


Why are Social Emotional Skills Important?

In a widely cited 2011 career builder survey, 71% of employers valued emotional intelligence (EQ) in an employee over IQ.

People with high EQ are more likely to:

  • Stay calm under pressure

  • Effectively resolve conflict resolution

  • Be empathetic towards peers

  • Take criticism well

  • Make more thoughtful business decisions

Although we want our children to do well in school, overall wellness should also include building up social emotional skills. These are skills that will help them in their future careers and relationships.


Sounds like a lot, but don’t worry, building up social emotional skills doesn’t require as much as you think! Here are some simple activities you can do at home to build up those skills:


Watch a movie together and talk about the characters. As a character is going through something in the movie, ask your child how they might feel if that happened to them or how they think the character is feeling. This is a great way to practice empathy and perspective taking. Pick any character in the movie or show (book too!) you are watching and see where the conversation takes you!

Skills targeted: Perspective-Taking, Empathy


Just start chatting and ask your child questions. For example, ask what their favorite foods are right now. What 3 items would you bring if you were stuck on a deserted island? What is your favorite animal? Of course as a parent you probably already know these things, but give your child time to talk and explain for themselves. You’ll help build their own self-awareness and give an opportunity to role-model turn taking and conversation skills. With less opportunity for kids to socialize these days, having a conversation where you give them your attention can have a huge impact on them. You may end up learning something new about your child you didn’t know!

Skills targeted: Self-Awareness, Conversation Skills


Practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime with mindfulness 5-4-3-2-1. This can be a fun thing you do on a walk or if your child is bored at the store. This is also a great way to calm down when you need some space! When your child is upset you can tell them that you notice they are upset and might need some space so they can calm down. Have them go to an area and find 5 things they can see, 4 things they can touch, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell and 1 emotion they feel (you can replace this with 1 thing they can taste if it applies). This is a fun way to avoid a power struggle and allows time to cool off so when they come back with the answers you can talk about what was upsetting them. It’s also just a great way to be mindful in the moment wherever you might be!

Skills targeted: Mindfulness, Coping Skills, Self-Regulation, Observation


Have fun acting out playing charades as a fun family activity. You can act out different things, trying to guess what someone is doing or act out different emotions and try to guess those! For example, you can have a character taking out the trash and grossed out by the smell. Help build their ability to label and identify emotions through games. It’s also a fun way to just get silly and be creative as a family with no prep or materials required!

Skills targeted: Emotional Identification, Observation


It’s not a chore, it’s a house contribution. Making small changes in your dialogue can make a huge impact down the line when teaching children things like responsibility and organization. You can call picking up your clothes a chore because of the mess it makes. Or, picking up your clothes is a house contribution, showing that you care about your things by not leaving them around on the floor. It also shows that you are a family, the clothes on the floor might not bother you, but how does it make your dad feel seeing them there? Encourage your child to think of others when talking about personal responsibility and helping out around the house.

Skills targeted: Responsibility, Organization


Role-model positive self-talk when you are stressed out. A good way to show your child how to cool down is to role model positive self-talk out loud when you are having a stressful moment or day. For example, if you are running late in the morning and are rushing around you might say out loud “I’m running behind this morning, but things will smooth out. First, I'll get breakfast done, then focus on my work email that needs to go out.” This article from Psychology Today highlights when you can manage your emotions with positive self-talk, you can impact how your child manages their emotions. It sounds silly, and might be awkward at first, but children learn their self-talk from what they see and hear you do!

Skills targeted: Self-Talk, Emotional Regulation, Coping Skills


Incorporating these activities into your routine is a great way to build up social emotional skills at home. For a more regular practice with these skills check out our SpringSpot Kids Camps where we integrate SEL in every class! We even offer at home activities, like Dinner Time Discussions so you can keep working on those social emotional skills throughout the day. Keep an eye out for more blogs on Social Emotional Learning, including how to avoid a power struggle!


Cheers,


Diane


Updated: Aug 3, 2020



Ever started something where it got really hard to keep going?  It may have been working your way up to run a race, trying to exercise every week, finishing a family photo album, or even just finishing a book.  Although it was hard to keep going, atleast there was a clear indication of when it would be done.  The challenge for us today is that the future is so uncertain and there's no light at the end of the tunnel.


We don’t have a clear sense of when COVID-19 will be 'over' and when we can go back to 'normal'. Or even when or what the next phase looks like. We have to make choices today about kids and school, our jobs, our loved ones, that we don’t know will still hold true three months from now.  We’re living life day by day, doing the best we can with the information we have now.


This is challenging to say the least, but I encourage you to take a breath and perhaps change your perspective on the decisions, projects, and feelings you’re experiencing.  I hope that after you finish reading this, you will feel a greater sense of control and feel emboldened to take on a daunting task and have the confidence that you will come out stronger at the other end.


JUST ONE STEP


During one of our recent SpringSpot Kids Camps, we were talking to campers about ocean conservation.  The camp theme was Underwater Explorers.  One camper commented that whenever her family goes to the beach, they always bring an extra bag to put their own trash in instead of leaving it on the beach.  In response, another camper said “My mom told me that I can take small steps that can make a big difference.”  What an inspiring way to look at life!  We were thrilled that campers were sharing these types of life lessons at our camp and feeling empowered to make a difference!  I cataloged this anecdote in my head and continued on with my day, feeling motivated and hopeful. 


A few days later, I found myself on one of my weekly runs.  It was towards the end of my run and I was at the bottom of this hill and mentally I was dreading the upwards climb. My quads were tired, my breathing was hard, and I just didn’t feel like doing it.  I looked up at the top of the hill and it looked so steep and onerous. But then I remembered the anecdote from one of our campers.  


Small steps can make a big difference.  


I shifted my thinking and told myself all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other. I focused just on putting my right foot in front of my left, my left foot in front of my right and to keep doing that.  My heartbeat accelerated, my breath became heavier, but I just kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.  I kept my gaze down, avoiding seeing the top of the hill to remind me of how much further I had to climb, and then.... before I knew it, I’d reached the peak!  


By breaking down what seemed like a daunting task, and focusing just on making small bits of progress - putting one foot in front of the other, I did it!  Small steps HAD made a big difference!  It totally changed my mental state during the run and it went by a LOT faster.  I did a subsequent run up the same hill, and after using the same strategy of just focusing on these small steps, I ran up the hill faster and it seemed less daunting. Some day I hope to run that hill without feeling so out of breath, but I felt emboldened by this new mental shift.    



MAKE IT EASY


By breaking down a daunting task into small steps you are more likely to keep at it and eventually get the change you’re seeking.

You can simplify the mental load by just focusing on one small thing and completing it.


Research from the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University shows the powerful effect small changes can have on our lives. According to a study from Duke University, around 45 percent of our everyday actions are made up of habits. Our habits, then, are then just a reflection of who we are.


And the best way to convert our willpower into habits is by starting small. It’s a common element to every successful behavior change program. “Make it easy” is how James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones,” puts it. “The central idea is to create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible,” he writes. “Much of the battle of building better habits comes down to finding ways to reduce the friction associated with our good habits.”


A couple examples: 

  • Want to run a 10k, but haven’t run in a long time?  Start by just putting on your running shoes every day.  Then walk 10 minutes everyday, then try running a 1k, then a 5k.  Start with something easy that you can do, then keep building on it. 

  • Want to start learning yoga?  Start by first putting on workout clothes.  Then roll out your yoga mat and sit quietly for 5 minutes.  Start small and and make it a habit.

The beauty of focusing on small steps is that they are much less daunting and more actionable.  You can apply this to virtually any behavior you want to change.  

We’d love to hear more about the lifestyle changes you’re trying to make.  Drop us a note: hello@springspot.co. We offer Family Wellness Consultations to help families identify their wellness goals and make progress on them. We also offer Kids Camps to help kids improve their physical, mental and emotional health. We can't wait to be your partner on you and your family's wellness journey.



Be Well!

She-Rae


Company

Our Story

Team

Careers

Blog

Kids

Kids Ethos

Kids Zone

Stay in the Loop

Connect

  • Facebook
  • Instagram