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    102nd Intelligence Wing Wellness Podcast for March 22, 2021 - April is Month of the Military Child

    102nd Intelligence Wing Wellness Podcast for March 22, 2021 - April is Month of the Military Child

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    Audio by Airman Francesca Skridulis 

    102nd Intelligence Wing   

    On this episode, Ms. Jill Garvin, Wing Director of Psychological Health, speaks to recurring guest, Ms. Christi Garner about the needs of children in different age groups and some tips and resources that parents can use to ease some of their children's anxieties and help them work towards good mental health. Ms. Christi Garner is a licensed therapist and one of the 102nd ISR Group key spouses, and has worked extensively with active duty service members and families.


    Garvin: hello everyone this is Jill Garvin the director of psychological health for the 102nd Air National Guard Intelligence Wing today we are going to talk about month of the military child which is in April and we're going to do a quick podcast with miss Christi Garner she's one of our 102nd ISR key spouses she's also a licensed therapist who has worked extensively with active duty service members and families she's been on with us before and has a wealth of knowledge and we're going to talk a little bit about some parenting tips and we're going to share some resources with you that can be super super helpful and hopefully a lot of parents i know have really struggled during covid you've had to navigate a lot of change and and so have your children so welcome Christi

    Garner: so glad to be here Jill thank you thank you

    Garvin: so yeah what are some tips and some resources that you might have for us

    Garner: you know i've been talking a lot with people that have all ages of children and i think that there's different issues right for different levels of kids so the people that have little bitties at home there's some different issues happening right and i think it depends if those little bitties get to have pods of people they're interacting with or if they have some brothers and sisters or if it's just you and your little bitty so we'll talk a little bit about that and then of course elementary school and a little bit older kids we're seeing a lot of isolation for those kids especially the older ones not a lot of interaction not a lot of peer positives social support all of the things that those older kids used to be able to do to get that need met for connection like their developmental brain tells them they need they're not getting it so a lot of negative self-talk a lot of i would also say some suicidal ideations going up pretty high in those teens and so we're really looking at ways that you can help the older kids with some of those issues that you might not have thought of before and i think with those middle years just finding ways to engage more i know that our middle year kid at home is just constantly needing extra attention extra board games extra card games and extra things to do so figuring out where we can find some of those might be helpful what do you think about some of those tools too

    Garvin: yeah i love that and i like that you mentioned well just different age groups and it depends where someone is develop mentally in terms of what they can understand and what they can can grasp the other thing i was wondering about too is is yes people some children have really missed that connection and socialization piece and i know that some children have also enjoyed being able to you know do school from home and are having anxiety about returning back into the classroom and i know some have already have con have been in the classroom already but just wondering how parents can kind of help help ease some of their anxiety around returning back into the classroom too

    Garner: yeah i love that and i think we can start talking about that issue returning to the classroom and you're probably seeing two different ways the kids are reacting to that right i know some kids are anxious and ready to get back to school and really see it as a positive part of their life and some kids probably have the opposite reaction and hearing from a lot of people about the kids that are not so excited to go back to school right not so excited to have to interact or what i'm hearing a lot from the older kids is i don't know if my friends even like me anymore right because they haven't really been seeing them much or talking to them so i think really helping your kids talk about developmentally appropriate responses to what's happening i talked with some parents the other day and just saying hey you know what so-and-so might still like you or maybe they don't like you but maybe they're just having their own reaction to what's happening right now yeah we don't know if someone's parents are more high risk and so they've been having to stay home and stay away from everybody because their parents don't want them to interact with anyone else or maybe they live with their grandparents or something where they're not allowed to really have any social interaction until after this is over and then i think there's also been a lot of parents who have both been at work and those kids have just been at home doing their own thing and you know i see a lot of kids down here by the base going to the skate park every day after school and so i'm always like how can you help your kids if they're a little bit older to kind of socially engage again in a safe way outside of the skate park is a great place right because they can wear their masks and be socially distant but still hang out so trying to find different places where they can engage church groups i'm sure as well right some of those youth church groups

    Garvin: yeah and and speaking one of the resources that i was going to bring up is that both the 4-h and the boys and girls club clubs of america they offer a lot of different quality programs and free memberships to military youth as well so that's also something that that you that parents can take advantage of

    Garner: yeah you know i just i get on military one source a lot and i don't know if you get on that website Jill but they have the links to the boys and girls club of america mission youth outreach which is about money management and summer reading programs for kids and they also have military kids connect which is a place for kids pre-teens and teens to talk about different kinds of transitions so military kids connect might be a great place you know when we're talking about some of the anxiety that kids are having it would be similar to talking to them about pcsing even though a lot of people here don't pcs because you know we're in the we're in the in the guard the same issues about anxiety and transition come up in pcs so there's a lot of stuff about pcs thing on the military kids connect which would also be applicable to returning back to the school

    Garvin: yeah they have wonderful resources on there as well as well as i know during covid that children could also utilize military one source for counseling as well so that's something else to to check out and it's all free of course

    Garner: that's right they even have a parent coaching program on there where you can get a coach for free

    Garvin: yeah that's great and i think i would also encourage parents yeah to check some of these things out because you know depending on how we were raised and what our parents you know kind of taught us or how they disciplined us you know parenting is is very challenging and we learn that often from what was role modeled for us growing up and i know i've had quite a few people that have come in and again they've just been more challenged since the pandemic their own stress and then their child stress and just managing that and you're not supposed to necessarily have all the answers and and you're not necessarily supposed to be the perfect parent but you know just having the willingness to to look at some of these other tools and and other programs and coaching and all of those things you know just to give you some other tools for your toolbox is is wonderful that's one great thing about the military there's so many great resources for us

    Garner: yeah totally they even have a little section on apps which i have been looking at and they have apps for parents but also for kids different ages and so they have that coaching app in there and they also have like a sesame street kind of app for little kids which talks about some nervous system regulation exercises so you know deep breathing for little kids or different ways that you can help them to calm down or transition better on military one source you can find those apps as well

    Garvin: i love that that i always encourage parents too that when they are stressed out or if they're going through some kind of loss or big change you know it's okay to let your kids know that that you might be struggling a little bit too of course there's always an appropriate response but you know sometimes kids parents think that they have to behave or respond to things in some perfect manner and that it's not okay to to act stressed out or to get upset or to show some tears and again our kids watch us and how we respond to things and it's it's important to to let them know that you're human and and that you're stressed out sometimes as well

    Garner: yeah totally

    Garvin: just gonna share a couple other resources that i would recommend for folks to join the mailing list for the guard child and youth program in whatever area you're in in massachusetts you can actually send a request to mass m a s s n g y youth or n g youth at and they they have a social media account they do weekly emailings they will pass on discounts benefits and different services and also the military child education coalition has a wealth of information for anything education related they have they also have some wonderful free parent webinars every week in addition to other offerings for students and educators and home base which we've talked about here before which is a wonderful organization they have and a lot of our folks have utilized their their services and programs but they also have services for children that includes counseling nutrition wellness and some fun activities as well but they do offer programming in person and some virtual webinars and podcasts so there's just a ton of stuff and if you go on what's it called they have a lot of resources on there as well there's like a tool kit some different things that you can do during April for month in the military child and just a ton of resources so yeah there's a lot of different a lot of different things and i think it's the apps we've talked about that on this podcast too doing that with your child is both beneficial for you and your child again kind of calming your your nervous system and and showing your child that it's also important to take care you know of your mind and body and and breathing exercises and and how that can really be helpful and it would be a great thing to share to share with your little one

    Garner: absolutely i think too there's a tendency to think you have to do everything i'm remembering that just pick one thing right let's just for the month of April or the first week of April just pick one thing and maybe that's to look at one of these resources and then once you've done that just pick one of those resources and then try it out just repeat repeat repeat every day even the same thing yeah

    Garvin: and and on a serious note because i have had some some parents that have been very concerned about their children over this last year again some have had losses because of covid so they've lost a family member you know the loss of the socialization in the schools and things like that so and you had mentioned suicidal ideation before what if if someone is worried about their child or they have written something or they've drawn something that's concerning or they say something that is concerning or they say they want to die what are some resources and responses that we could offer parents in terms of where they can turn and where they can reach out for help

    Garner: well Jill you probably have some resources that are a good easy reach and when i think about responding to those i think about how busy we all are and overwhelmed we all are just in our day-to-day lives right and how do we make the time in that moment when we hear something that might be more serious how do we make the time in that moment to say hey what do you mean by that or tell me a little bit more about that what does that mean to you that you don't want to be alive anymore what does that mean for you that you wish you could die right and just starting to ask the kids about that a little bit more i was listening to someone talking the other day about some abuse they had endured and saying they kept explaining it to their parents right i don't like so-and-so and they're mean to me and i don't like it you know in years later it comes out that it was something really serious but the parent just thought that they were fighting with their cousin again you know so when someone says like i don't like this or i hate this or this person i don't like them or i'm feeling some way it's okay to just say well what do you mean by that what does that mean when you say that or tell me more about it right just taking that extra minute even if you're totally overwhelmed your kids have been fighting all day you've heard this a million times to just ask a little bit more of a clarifying question yeah and then finding the time to sit down i always tell people some kids can handle like a face-to-face interaction but some kids need to be like right next to you like maybe washing dishes or while you're driving them in the car somewhere like a side-by-side conversation can be a little bit less triggering to some kids of different ages where it's just like we're in the middle of our day maybe we're raking up leaves in the yard or you know making chopping up some vegetables together or something to say like hey i heard you say this yesterday what did you mean by that right just making it a conversation

    Garvin: yeah definitely exploring that because we don't always know if a child is being dramatic or or if there is really something else else going on so just taking that time out to ask them what what they mean by that and the suggestions that you had are great and then of course if you are really concerned about your child i'm a resource here for the 102nd you can always call me you can always bring your your if your child in if you wanted me to to have some eyes on but if you're ever worried about their you know their safety or if they have actually taken some kind of action you always want to take take them to the emergency room so they can be seen by a doctor and a crisis worker at the hospital and get them medically cleared and find them the the right supports but again yeah call me i'm happy to point you in the right direction and give you some additional resources if you are if you are worried about that and and never leaving if there is a serious concern never leaving your child alone until you you know connect them with someone or have them assessed by a professional

    Garner: yeah absolutely you know Jill i get this question a lot too it can be overwhelming to try to find a mental health professional so you can call your school counselor you can call Jill right you can call someone that you know that's a therapist you can ask me in the key spouse program and we can all help you find people because sometimes it feels a little bit like difficult like who do i find and how do i find them and how do i know if my insurance pays for it but some of us in the field can probably easily help you find someone and don't be afraid to ever ask us because i know we're kind of gatekeepers sometimes and your school counselor i'm sure also has a lot of great information for you if you connect to your to wherever your kids go to school there should be someone who has a lot of resources for you there as well

    Garvin: yeah good point definitely the school counselor and and even some of the members that i see here when they come in wanting to find a therapist and unfortunately tricare can be a little challenging at times to find well accurate information online who's taking tricare and how many providers take tricare but that's one thing that i can help with and like you said if we're looking for a therapist ourselves or for a child we're usually in a crisis or it's very stressful and very overwhelming especially having to make a million phone calls and something like that is very easy for me i'm happy to to find the resources for you or to reach out to that therapist first and make sure that they they do take your insurance and or what or to see what they specialize in especially if it if it has to do with your child or a specific issue that you're dealing with so those are some great suggestions thank you anything else

    Garner: absolutely yeah i think we can look at a couple things that are for little bitty kids but are also trauma informed and i'm trying to look at everything from a trauma-informed perspective right now because there's a heightened level of stress that we're all going through our kids included right so even with little bitty kids we want to make sure number one we be clear ahead of time so if you can explain ahead of time what's going to happen and exactly how it's going to happen then the kids will be a little bit less surprised so surprise sometimes is not exciting to kids right so if we make sure that we are going to explain what's going to happen before it happens it makes them feel more safe because it's more secure and predictable so this is great for two-year-olds all the way up to teenagers so prep them plan in advance reveal the plan explain the details and then you can also put your child in charge of something like we're going to leave at 8 o'clock so we can get to school at 8 15 we're going to get in the car after we eat breakfast and brush our teeth now i want to make sure that you have your backpack with your snacks in it right kind of giving everybody a job so prepping is always my number one tip plan in advance reveal the plan explain the details and put them in charge and then i think also especially for little kids but also for big kids that right now haven't had a lot of choices it's good to give choices right age-appropriate choices for little kids it's time for bed do you want your monkey or your bear right for older kids it's time for us to do it's time to calm down before bed do you want to read a book or do you want to listen to this meditation with me right like giving them choices about what they want to do it takes a little pre-planning for us adults but it's totally possible and it makes things a whole lot easier so that's my first and second tip today

    Garvin: good i love that prepping and choices

    Garner: yes

    Garvin: okay anything else that you were going to mention

    Garner: i think also knowing that us adults have to put on our oxygen mask first which i know we talked about still and uh the calmer you are the calmer your whole family will be so make sure you get in that time to prioritize the things that you need

    Garvin: yeah the more you take care of yourself the more you're able to take care of others and that's i know that's it's really easy for me to to give that advice sometimes to parents who have crazy busy schedules and and kids and activities and you know it's it's yeah easy to say like oh go and get your nails done or go for a walk and like when do i have time for anything like that so just like your suggestion earlier about pick one thing you know if it's you can definitely carve out even if it's 15 minutes or 10 minutes doing something for yourself and then that could be breathing exercises that could be listening to some good music or or going on a walk on your own but you know just trying to make that a priority for yourself is so crucial

    Garner: absolutely i agree

    Garvin: so thank you those are some great tips and great resources if anyone wants some of the names that we mentioned again some of the websites resources and emails please reach out to me or email me and you can also reach me on my cell phone which is 508-237-6652 if you would like any of this information and we will see you next time thank you for being with us today


    Date Taken: 03.22.2021
    Date Posted: 03.22.2021 11:20
    Category: Newscasts
    Audio ID: 65745
    Filename: 2103/DOD_108242416.mp3
    Length: 00:24:39

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