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Taking Care of Your Body, Mind and Spirit

Posted on Feb 8, 2021 10:00:00 AM by Mrs. Tracy Tambaoan, BSN, RN LCS Nurse

As the nurse here at Liberty Christian School, I've shared a lot about the biology of Covid-19. However, I think one of the things that needs our attention as this pandemic drags on is the emotional and mental toll this is taking on all of us, including our children.

Many of you may not know this but I volunteer as the Parish Nurse at my church in Reisterstown. I’ve been a volunteer Parish Nurse since 1990, which spans my entire career as a medical professional. I worked in the ICU full time for most of my career and saw so much suffering, therefore I was drawn to what Parish Nursing is: treating the whole person: Body, Mind, and Spirit. The premise is that when one of these is out of balance, so are the other two. I’ve found this to be very true personally as well as for those entrusted to my care.

Included are some tips below that will be helpful for at least one of these three entities and in turn they will positively affect the other two.

Mrs. Antoine and I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. La Keita Carter via zoom only a few short weeks ago. Dr. Carter founded The Institute of Healing AKA “iHeal” located in Owings Mills and was recommended to us by a parent who recently participated in a post doctoral internship with Dr. Carter and iHeal. The institute offers community outreach and can do group education about various topics. They also have several mental health counselors (as well as evening and weekend hours) and most importantly they see ages 4 and up! iHeal takes many forms of insurance while also having resources for pro bono work! Mrs. Antoine and I are in the process of exploring how we may partner with them in the coming months, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to read more about iHeal this is their website:

https://www.myiheal.com/

Though it is a goal for LCS, at present we do not have a mental health counselor on campus. I had been looking for a way to care for our community from the perspective of mental health. When the recommendation to iHeal came from one of our parents, I decided that God was urging me to look into this as a potential option for our community. Both Mrs. Antoine and I were very impressed with not only iHeal’s capacity to care for mental health, but also their education and outreach for groups

 

Now, below are some things you can do for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. 

**It is always a good idea for you to check with your doctor when adding any vitamins to your daily regimen. These are suggestions based on what most adults can tolerate, however every person is different.

 

*Drink -  Masks are a hindrance to this health goal. I believe it's the reason why more people tend to have sore throats. Further, stay hydrated at home so you don't become dehydrated. I’ve spoken about this idea before, but check out: liquidiv.com - they now have some new flavors like orange and pina colada. It’s loaded with vitamins, non GMO, gluten free, soy free. Putting one of these in your drinks is the same as drinking 2-3 bottles of water. Note the sodium content and match that with your health history to be sure you stay at the proper amount of sodium per day.

 *Vitamin C - I use Airborne for the Vitamin C** and the other good things in it to boost my immune system. High dose Vitamin C has also been linked to good results early in COVID-19 illnesses. As always, discuss your personal health with your physician, but even normal doses of Vitamin C will help give your immune system more "muscle" right now.

 

 *Vitamin D - this is exciting. LOTS of new research has linked Vitamin D** as a key, consistent factor in those with COVID-19 illness. Those with more severe illness *started* with low Vitamin D levels. Your doctor can send you for a quick blood draw to see where you stand and you can go from there with regard to dosing. In the past when something "tries to chase me" I always increase my daily dose of Vitamin D to 15,000 IU (milliunits) from my typical 2,000 IU. It helps knock out whatever it is and keeps it from taking hold of me. Now it makes even more sense with the new studies surrounding vitamin D and coronavirus.

 

 *Try to keep some sort of a schedule - This has been a tough one for me. We are all home more and maybe even working from home - so perhaps now our home space and work space have blended together? Try to find a work space that’s separate from your living space if you can. This goes for the kids “school time,” too. Then, close the door (I.e. close down the work/school) at a certain time. Pick up a good book to read or play a game with the kids/family. Redirection toward positive things helps our spirits.

 

*Sleep - Please get rest. Your body heals itself from the daily insults when you sleep. If you need some help, use Melatonin** if your health history allows it. I take 10 mg but there are 5mg doses as well. You may notice your body needs to absorb it several hours before your actual bedtime. Play around with timing and dosages on the weekend first in order to see how your body responds.

 

*Manage stress - in appropriate ways. Only you know how to best "fill your cup." I'm just saying now, more than ever, we ALL have to be doing that. This is a hard school year for all of us. Try to use your weekends to have time to reset. Do what fills your soul.

 

*Be in prayer - Look, we can't do what we are doing alone, friends. This is taking supernatural guidance - I've seen God at work throughout the process on numerous occasions dating back to February 2020 when things really started ramping up. So, this tells me that we need to remember and accept that we *must* rely on Him in all things right now. We are only human. Once we have done all the "humanly things" - God will come alongside us!

 

*Go easy on yourself and others - We simply cannot raise expectations so high of ourselves or others that it creates even more stress. It’s ok not to be perfect (I’m talking to myself here, too!) This can be a big source of stress if we expect things to be “normal” in an “abnormal” situation.

 

*Remember we are all on the same "team." Our frustrations with masks or other mitigation measures, processes, or technology are symptoms of a frustration with a virus/a pandemic - not with one another. If we keep that in mind, we will stay cohesive as a community during this time.

 

*Speak positive and thankful words - We have so much we can complain about, so take a minute to speak out loud about a few things (or people) you are thankful for. It's impossible to stay unhappy when you are in an attitude of gratitude and counting your blessings. A counselor once told me, “If you only have ONE thing to be grateful for, keep speaking *that* thing. Pretty soon as you start to feel better and circumstances improve, you will see that you have many things to be thankful for, they were just “covered up” by the heavy stuff. I’ve found this to be true time and again since they spoke those words to me.

 

*Know when you need a time out - Refrain from answering a phone call, email or text (as I say to myself “Tracy, back away from the keyboard!”) until your spirit needs to be in a better spot. A delay in reacting almost always works out well if we are in a tough spot emotionally. 

 

*Limit news and social media - This is a BIG one for me. I’m a “scroller” when I’m idle. I find it helpful to put my phone out of reach so that I can’t just pick it up and start scrolling. I’m finding it soul filling to be “less connected.” There is plenty of angst in our country about many things and for me? Well, I’ve found that the more I consume, the less settled my spirit is, so perhaps less consumption of news and social media will help your spirit, too?

 

*Stay in the word - Do an online Bible Study with friends and/or family. Grab a daily devotional. What I find uncanny about devotionals is that often the passage I’m reading for that particular day is *exactly* what I needed to hear. I also get a daily scripture text from 95.1 Shine FM and it starts my day off on the right foot 9 times out of 10. 

 

*Always remember, God sees around corners and works upstream. Let Him lead you. Some of the best journeys I have been on were when I fully surrendered to where He wanted to use me and my talents.

 

LCS Family, this is tough stuff. It’s hard. It’s not pleasant all the time. There is stress. However, God created us to be in community and just know you are not alone in how you feel. There is always someone to reach out to here. I’m here - and you know where to find me.

 

May God’s blessing sustain and protect you.

In His Service,

Mrs. Tracy Tambaoan, BSN, RN

LCS Nurse

Should my child join a robotics team?

Posted on Jan 16, 2018 12:00:00 PM by Laurel Robinson

You may have been hearing about robotic teams lately, and wondering if it’s a good fit for your child. There are several robotics teams in the area, and they are worth looking into!  

Robotics Blog.png

First, though, consider the cost and the demand on your schedule.  Teams may meet 2-3 times per week, and fees of $100-$300 may be due up front.  If there is not room in your schedule during the school year, look into a summer robotics camp.

A robotics team can start as early as age 6-10, with a lego-based league that is a more gentle introduction to robotics principles. By high school, the teams are still fun, plus hard work, and more oriented toward coding and technology. FIRST calls their Robotics Competition “the ultimate Sport for the Mind,” and quotes its high-school student participants as saying it is “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” In addition to FIRST leagues and competition, there is also VEX Robotics with its own teams and competition schedule.

At any age, kids who participate in a robotics program can gain a variety of skills from the experience: in addition to analytical thinking, math, and coding, they will inevitably experience trial and error; problem solving, managing time, resolving conflict, working with a team. These are the kind of life skills that kids can only learn by doing.  

3 Ways To Help Your Child With Anxiety & Stress

Posted on Nov 14, 2017 3:30:00 PM by Laurel Robinson

According the the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million adults in America suffer with a form of anxiety. Children are not immune to anxiety, although they may have a hard time labeling what they are feeling.  

Family.jpg

Is your child stressed out or anxious? Do they dread going to certain places? Do they procrastinate, or have nervous habits, or get stomachaches?  Do they resist activities by acting up? Do they focus only on the negative and what might go wrong? These are all signs of anxiety.

How can we as parents help our children through this?

First, be compassionate. If you have ever felt nervous about something you can identify with what your child is feeling.  Even though our kids’ anxiety sometimes comes up in the most inconvenient ways (nausea, avoidance behavior, last minute crises), we need to take a step back and remember that parents are the protectors of children. We also, in a sense, represent the Lord to our kids.  We are their first mentors and disciplers. So, even if we are worried about getting to work late, having a mess on our hands, or embarrassment, we also need to consider the experience that our child is having in this moment. We must pray for wisdom: does this child need “tough love” right now to push through -- or a timeout and a listening ear?  Most likely they need our reassurance, but we should not dismiss their fears.  It can be a tricky balance.

Second, empower the child.  Anxiety is not alway as simple as “mind over matter,” but sometimes mental tools and strategies can be helpful. Encourage your child to do their best and focus on the positives.  Remind them that you will be here for them no matter what. If they are worried about their performance, walk them through what “doing your best” will look like.  For example, there is only one winner in a race, but the rest of the runners are still successful and accomplished if they have trained, practice, and persevered. They have overcome their own obstacles and perhaps beaten their own records. This is worth celebrating!  While you are giving your child this pep talk, check your own motives. Have you been pressuring your child to perform, compete, dominate?  If so, pray and surrender your child’s future to the Lord once again.

If you have techniques that help you when you are anxious, share them with your child.  Simple things like taking a deep breath, repeating a calming phrase or verse, or distracting yourself from obsessive thoughts can be helpful.  They may sound simple, but they are not necessarily things that a child would come up with on their own.  Practice them together until they can do them independently.

Third, talk to their teachers. Explain the strategies you are using, so that your teacher can reinforce them and possibly report back to you any progress or problems. This can create a positive cycle of improvement, or at least provide you with more information that you can use as you go to the next step.

If these changes in approach do not seem to bring any results, you might consider therapy. Child therapists, using play therapy or therapy animals, can get your child to reveal the troubling thoughts they haven’t mentioned to you.  Sometimes it is surprising, such as a bad dream they didn’t even want to revisit, or an experience that they didn’t want to relive. Once they speak about it, the therapist and parents can address the issue.  

Therapists can also help you identify when your child may need some further help such as medicine.  Some forms of anxiety are more deep-seated and beyond the realm of behavioral therapy.  Naturopaths might help you consider helpful modifications to your child’s diet, or ways your child get better sleep.

When you see signs of stress and anxiety in your child, do not ignore it, hoping it will go away.  Talk to other adults in their life to see what may be causing it, and be your child’s closest advocate. Having the support of family goes a long way toward healing.

 

For more helpful information see:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/renee-jain/9-things-every-parent-with-an-anxious-child-should-try_b_5651006.html

https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

6 Ways To Help Your Child Stay In Touch With Friends Over the Summer

Posted on Aug 1, 2017 2:26:31 PM by Laurel Robinson

Now that the kids have had a few weeks to relax and enjoy “doing nothing,” parents might be feeling like it is time to be proactive about finding ways for kids to see their friends over the summer break. 

 6 Ways To Help Your Child Stay In Touch With Friends Over the Summer

There are a variety of reasons to work on this goal:

  • A desire for our kids to maintain relationships that started in school but have not continued into the summer due to schedule conflicts or geographical challenges.
  • A desire for our kids to make NEW friends in addition to the kids they were with every day at school.
  • A desire to keep our kids from getting swallowed up in screens for several hours a day.  

On that last point, most kids will vigorously make the case that  spending time with friends is NOT mutually exclusive with looking at screens. This is true: there is video chatting, texting, online hangouts, and of course, getting together and playing video games.  We may not be able to convince kids that there is more to life than facing a screen, so we will have to help them discover it themselves!  As adults, we know that some of the most valuable times with friends are face to face, and that when we go through a little bit of “boredom,” we can end up being very creative and having a lot of fun!.


The first step is reaching out. Social media is helpful for getting in touch with people.  If you can’t find them online, call a mutual friend to make the connection.  Most parents would be happy to receive an invitation for their child to come and hang out for the day.  It can take a few tries to make contact, and a few tries to find a time that works for everyone, but press on!  If you have never met the parents before, you might want to invite the whole family to meet your family at a local ice cream or snowball stand, so you can all be more comfortable getting in touch (and swapping kids) in the future.

 

Some ideas for ways that kids can spend time with their friends:

Host a party.  Let your kids plan it!  It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, or an expensive event.  Rather than do a lot of cooking, you can host a potluck meal, or an ice cream social, or have an evening party with a bonfire (and s’mores, of course) or glow sticks and popsicles. For older kids, there are “murder mystery” party kits, and you can also find online a kit for hosting your own “escape room” party.


Lawn games.  Water balloons, corn hole, badminton, and croquet are all fairly easy to obtain. Most of them can be played with just two people who would otherwise be hanging around bored. Don’t forget Nerf gun battles!


Board games.  There is an abundance of (sneakily educational) board games available. If you don’t have any, chances are your kids’ friends will!  If you want to buy some but don’t know where to start, check out some mom bloggers’ reviews of board games. Homeschooling blogs may also have some good suggestions. These personal reviews are often helpful because as you read the reviews, you will get a feel for whether it’s your kid’s style of game or not.  If you don’t have board games on hand, get creative: pull out a jigsaw puzzle, or take three easy ones and mix them together to provide a challenge.


Dance party.  Get a few tweens together -- especially girls -- and play some of their favorite songs from your favorite music streaming service, and it will soon turn into a singalong.  Add a twist by playing “freeze dance”-- everyone dances while the music plays, but  freezes when the music stops (at random intervals). Depending on the group, they may soon be playing one song over and over so they can choreograph their own moves to it.


Share a good deal.  Check Groupon, LivingSocial, Certifikid and similar sites for great deals on camps, trampoline parks, plays, or local fairs.  Invite a friend to join your child on one of these. Vacation Bible school or other church-sponsored camps are another great opportunity to invite friends to join your child in some fun.


Make a video.  Rather than simply consuming media, let your kids experience the work and play that goes into creating it!  If your kid and his or her friends are so inclined, give them a camera and let them make videos, just for fun.  From stop-motion videos to tutorials, almost any interest could become inspiration for a video. If you have software and the kids have the interest, the video could even get edited and shared (with your approval, of course).

Don’t let the summer slide by.  Make a phone call or two today, and get some “play dates” on the calendar!