Managing Stress

In these unprecedented times, stress is all too natural. But here are some tips for keeping it under control: Managing Stress - Brainsmart 


Many of us are feeling a lot of stress right now. Even for adults, it can be tough to recognize that what we feel as irritability, difficulty focusing, insomnia or changes in appetite can actually be signs that our bodies are feeling the effects of stress. For kids, no matter the age, their brains and bodies are even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of stress than adults, and most often, they aren’t able to  recognize or verbalize it. Stress in kids may show up differently than our stress as adults does. This California Surgeon’s General Stress-Busting Playbook can help you understand what to look out for and what you can do to

protect your family’s health.

Getting Enough Sleep?

What happens when we don’t sleep? In the United States, it’s estimated that 30 percent of adults and 66 percent of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience: staying awake can cause serious bodily harm. Claudia Aguirre shows what happens to your body and brain when you skip sleep in this video  What would happen if you didn’t sleep?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings. As you can imagine, this pandemic has greatly impacted the mental health of our communities. Act Now to Get Ahead of a Mental Health Crisis and please remember: You Are Not Alone! If you are feeling overwhelmed and in crisis and would like to speak to a professional mental health provider, please reach out to Mrs. Verango at

Managing Anger & Worry

WEEK OF 5-18-20


Anger and worry are common strong emotions that can cause lots of problems for kids. When strong feelings are under control, your child is better able to think clearly and avoid hurting other people’s bodies or feelings. Practice calming down when conflicts arise and finding safe, respectful solutions with “The Imagine Neighborhood.” Each day there is a new activity. Thursday’s activity is the “Calm It Down” dance, a favorite dance by many CCS students.

Slow Counting &

Positive Self-Talk

Students need to learn about and practice using both assertiveness and one of the ways to calm down, like counting and positive self-talk, to cope with strong feelings of anger. Counting and positive self-talk can help students successfully manage angry emotions. It engages the thinking part of the brain and helps students slow down so they can think before they react to a situation. Here are more ideas to help your family destress and manage strong emotions. 

Grief: Can We Talk

About the Gap?

Any gap between your expectations and your experience is where you can often find anger, frustration, anxiety, and stress. We’re taking a more-than-educated guess here that 2020 is NOT turning out how you expected. In this activity created by Axis, help your child grieve over the losses they’ve experienced through this question: Can We Talk About the Gap? Connected Families also discusses ideas on How to Help Your Struggling Child With Grief.


Managing Strong Feelings 

WEEK OF 5-11-20


Kids need to learn how to focus attention on their body to get clues about how they feel.

Why Is This Important?

Thinking about feelings helps the thinking part of the brain start to get back in control. Introduce students to a concrete metaphor for how they experience strong

feelings: the hand-brain. The Hand-Brain Model included in the video Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions? is a concept by Dr. Dan Siegel.

How to Calm Down

Calming down can help students manage strong feelings. One way students can learn and practice

how to calm down is by using deep breathing, called “ belly breathing.” Belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) helps lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which calm the body. Once students are calmer, it’s easier for them to think clearly and handle challenges. 

Dear Journal

Stress and anxiety levels are high as people across the globe cope with illness, death, isolation, and job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is no magic eraser for those difficult feelings, there are steps you can take—even while stuck at home—to help relieve anxiety and improve your mental well-being. 

One proven coping mechanism is journaling. A significant body of evidence demonstrates that recording thoughts and feelings on a regular basis helps people identify and process negative emotions, and ultimately alleviate anxiety.

14 Journaling Apps

Feelings in Your Body 

WEEK OF 5-4-20

Here is a video that helps students practice these important skills of identifying feelings in their body. They can practice more here with a Second Step class. Why is this Important? When children realize they’re having strong feelings, they can take steps to calm down to keep themselves from losing control.

Asking For Help & Getting Support

Students need to learn how to ask for  help or support from an adult when experiencing strong emotions. Given our unprecedented times, it’s very important that students know that they do not have to cope on their own.

• Watch Second Step and use these SOCIAL SCRIPTS to guide students to ask for help; practice this at home.

• Have student identify 2 or 3 people that they can reach out to for support either in person in their homes, or via their phones or online.

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

Are there more conflicts and frustration in your home now that everyone is sheltering in place? Research shows that anxiety, depression, and domestic abuse increases in times of disasters. It is very important that adults are modeling how to care for themselves. We must cope with disaster in healthy ways. More details at CDC article 

“Walk In Their Shoes”

WEEK OF 4-27-20


EMPATHY fuels connection, promotes good mental health, and helps kids build a sense of security and stronger relationships. CCS kids are very familiar with this WALK WALK WALK video that talks about Empathy.


Kids with empathy can be peacemakers and STOP BULLYING.

Captain Compassion is a “bullying prevention superhero,” who teaches kids how to recognize, report, and refuse bullying.

Stuck at Home

Empathy teaches students how to identify what others are feeling and to show care and concern with acts of kindness. Have students reflect on how being at home because of COVID-19 is a kind and helpful act with this REFLECTION ACTIVITY.


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

If you’re like many parents, you may know it’s important to talk with your child about personal safety and sexual abuse but aren’t sure what to say or when to say it. This How-to guide makes it easy to approach these vital safety conversations so you can empower your child to report and refuse sexual abuse. Take the time now during this “Shelter In Place” time to have this important conversation with your child.

Emotion Management

WEEK OF 4-20-20


Learning with

Second Step!

Second Step is an evidence-based social-emotional learning program, designed to provide students with the skills they need to navigate through both school and life challenges. CCS started using this curriculum in classrooms since Fall 2018. Each week, we will share tools to help students while they are at home during the pandemic.

Identifying and Talking About Their Emotions

Students may have a hard time identifying the exact emotions they are feeling—and that’s normal. It is not critical to have exact names for emotions, but it

can be helpful for students to describe how they feel.


Have students think about their feelings through this short clip of INSIDE OUT.

Reassure Students that the range of emotions they may be experiencing—and any worry, anxiety, anger, or fear—are normal for our current “sheltered” situation. 


It may help to explain fear as a normal emotion that can remind us to do things to keep ourselves safe, like remembering to wash hands frequently and keep an appropriate distance between people to stay healthy.