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When the Once Unthinkable Happens: Talking with Young Children about Death - Shared screen with speaker view
Rachel Sherman
14:49
Ray Sherman from JCYS Wicker Park Chicago, IL
Martha Shnider
15:11
Hello all, from Texas
Nancy Siegel
15:17
Nancy Siegel from Teaneck, NJ
Alyse Eisenberg
15:30
Alyse Eisenberg-Dallas, TX
Michelle Izadi
15:36
From Cambridge, MA
Carolyn Jackson
15:40
Richmond, Va ...HELLO
Jessica Reese-Wilner
15:44
Jessica Reese-Wilner from Levine Academy in Dallas, Texas
Julia Schneider
15:44
Julia Schneider, Richmond, VA
Carolyn Jackson
17:15
Hi Julia this is Carolyn
Carolyn Jackson
18:02
Carolyn Jackson Richmond, VA
Anna Hartman
18:08
Hi Everyone I am going to do some note taking here. Welcome, everyone!!
Julia Schneider
18:22
Hi Carolyn!!
Anna Hartman
19:22
—Rona Novick, chid psychologist, worked in mental health, transitioned to education and to Jewish education. Discovered v quickly that there is much that Jewish ed can gain from psychology. Fell in love with educators and this work.
Anna Hartman
20:03
—Speaks about the philosophical discussions that young children can do, more so than at so many other ages. Big minds and big questions.
Anna Hartman
21:02
—Aviva Goldstein, made Aliyah 9 years ago from Riverdale, NY.
Anna Hartman
21:45
Hi Malka, yes!
Anna Hartman
22:33
—How to speak with reassurance at a time like this, a time of uncertainty and misery?
Anna Hartman
22:44
—Easy to reassure when things are going well.
Anna Hartman
24:01
—Engaging in the language of reassurance: Listening.
Anna Hartman
24:09
—Listening with our ears, hearts, souls.
Anna Hartman
24:54
—Individuals don’t always say and ask exactly what they mean. Thus a child who asks one question—what are they really asking?
Anna Hartman
25:11
@Carissa we cant see you; eat away! Bete’avon!
Anna Hartman
26:03
-A child may be asking us something without words, but rather in indirect ways.
Anna Hartman
26:26
—Thus step 1 is Listening, observing.
Anna Hartman
26:36
@Crystal, you are :)
Anna Hartman
26:48
(Everyone muted except panelists)
Anna Hartman
28:12
—What is the child actually asking? Whatever IS the child’s concern is likely developmentally appropriate. Must separate what I am worrying about versus what the child is worrying about. And we must not be dismissive of what the child’s concerns are.
Anna Hartman
28:27
—Step 2: Validating.
Anna Hartman
30:02
—Our job as the adult is to validate (not nec. excusing certain behaviors). We can have an impulse to remove the injury and to make it all better. This comes form a good place but that can negate our ability to validate. Looking on the bright side, for example, can invalidate. Sometimes the key is to say, you’re right. Let’s be in it for a little while. Conveys that the child’s emotions are legitimate.
Anna Hartman
30:38
—If the child is feeling unstable or worried, the same is true. Whatever that emotional thing is that is coming up is ok!
Anna Hartman
31:55
—Validation is not the same as agreement. Validation is communicating that I am hearing you. I am empathically putting myself in your shoes. If we don’t validate and we try to move ahead, the child who does not feel heard has to convince you by escalating their negative feelings.
Anna Hartman
32:35
—We want to “allow but don’t wallow.” Just one letter difference but an important one!
Anna Hartman
33:24
—In its own way, that can be empowering—let’s think about what behavior options there are. Put the power back with the child.
Anna Hartman
33:43
—The next step is: We need to provide some info!
Anna Hartman
33:59
—Here, we have to tel the truth. Need to tell the developmentally appropriate truth.
Anna Hartman
34:40
—Even adults struggle with too much truth! With so many facts!
Anna Hartman
35:16
—What to tell young children? Remember: Our goal is that the child walks away with reassurance. We never want to promise, though, something we can’t deliver.
Anna Hartman
35:45
—There is a significant risk here that you will be proven wrong. So imp. that we remain believable. That we are people of our word.
Anna Hartman
36:17
—We must share difficult truths when appropriate. Need to insulate them from adult reality.
Anna Hartman
36:35
—Not too much info on an adult level.
Anna Hartman
37:05
—Will depend on our own culture and values as to how we respond.
Anna Hartman
37:21
—eg Maybe our prayers will help, maybe not.
Anna Hartman
38:58
—“The hardest part in this is I find it hard to deal with the loss to my children…” “You are going to keep your father in your children’s lives.” “I am going to sing Grampa’s tune.” Memories stay with us, and rituals and memories can stay in our lives forever.
Anna Hartman
41:47
—Tooth fairy story, story of child asking many questions about deaths (cold in the ground, can she see underground). Children not inclined toward our euphemisms (about, for example, “loss”).
Anna Hartman
42:01
—How to answer in a way they will understand.
Anna Hartman
42:56
—It’s ok to say “I am really sad” or “ I really miss.” This is the truth. But if we are overcome with grief and sadness and horrible truths—we don’t need to share all of this.
Anna Hartman
43:47
—“A lot of people are doing so much to keep us safe.” Yes. Our own anxieties about whether or not enough will be done don’t need to be shared.
Anna Hartman
44:49
—Story of putting a note in the Western Wall: “Could we go around the other side [of the mail slot] and watch God read it?”
Anna Hartman
46:17
—Need to think in advance how our school administration will deal wit these issues. Recalling a time when there was someone who abused children in a school. So awful a situation and thus no matter what the school did when it comes to talking or not talking with the children, parents would be upset. You may not be able to achieve consensus.
Anna Hartman
46:59
—There is time to have conversations now so that when death comes, you will be more prepared as a school or as an educator. What are we comfortable or not comfortable with?
Anna Hartman
47:14
—Story of teaching the book of Genesis in ECE:
Anna Hartman
47:53
—I ended up having several complicated conversations wit heath director. I was supposed to skip over the deaths in the Torah portions. I was uncomfortable with this.
Anna Hartman
49:07
—Our children are surely likely to experience the death of a grandparent, and they will encounter their parents dealing with this. Our tradition and stories can remove the obligation for someone in mourning to have to suddenly teach this to children. This is not an area of consensus among educators and parents.
Anna Hartman
49:49
1. Listened, 2. Validated, 3. Navigated murky waters of truth. 4. Look for the helpers.
Anna Hartman
50:55
—Tragedy can lead to a sense of loss of control. Knowing that there is something I can do to contribute can be empowering.
Anna Hartman
51:32
—At the beginning of quarantine, there were many activities that children could do to help. Find something so that the children have structure, sense of purpose, some bit of control.
Anna Hartman
51:52
—We can focus on what WE can do to help OURSELVES.
Anna Hartman
52:17
—Look at how you are staying healthy, to help: washing hands, staying away from friends.
Anna Hartman
52:46
—Even the youngest among us can seek out ways to help. Focusing on being a helper and on what helps.
Anna Hartman
53:13
—We know that for adults endorphins are key.
Anna Hartman
53:30
—We know children need physical outlets for their feelings.
Anna Hartman
53:39
—Learning together all the different ways we cn fee better.
Anna Hartman
53:58
— Book: Mommy, can you stop the rain.
Anna Hartman
54:26
—Related to focusing on help is… the role of Routines.
Anna Hartman
55:19
—We know that after disasters or violence, we focus on getting back to normal ASAP. We all know the comforting role of a time to wake up, a place to go. V. Intriguing that many rabbis told us to make a sacred place at home that is designated for the routine of Prayer.
Anna Hartman
55:29
—We have lost so many routines in the current situation.
Anna Hartman
55:43
—In mourning, all routines are disrupted.
Anna Hartman
56:28
—Jewish practice focuses on a cocoon for mourning for one week and then the first thing you have to do is to get up! Walk around the block.
Anna Hartman
56:50
—PAT YOURSELVES ON THE BACK, EC EDUCATORS!!!!
Anna Hartman
58:09
-One family that wanted to keep the routine of going to school each day. Every day the children and parents would walk out to the mailbox, say a school-like ritual (Pledge of Allegiance). Soon enough, neighbors doing the same!
Anna Hartman
58:34
—Routines are comforting; in times of trouble, really comforting.
Anna Hartman
59:20
—How to use classroom and other routines when we know that a child is dealing with or will have to deal with death, loss, or another tragedy?
Anna Hartman
01:00:08
—Creative thinking for developing routine for disruption. Routines when a child needs to sit shiva (enter into traditional mourning period).
Anna Hartman
01:00:40
—Creating ways to adjust when the unthinkable happens.
Anna Hartman
01:01:39
—Who is helping, what helps me. If we teach our children from a young age that they have the capacity to feel better, this will help them into adulthood.
Anna Hartman
01:02:34
—In ECE it make sense to involve others in the self-care. So often about interconnection for young children. They don’t have to do this alone. Sometimes the best self-care is using your Human Resources.
Anna Hartman
01:02:54
—I can ask for help and also be asked for help. I can tune into how I can help others.
Anna Hartman
01:03:04
—This is how character develops.
Anna Hartman
01:03:22
—The last step in the Language of Reassurance is Meaning Making.
Anna Hartman
01:05:30
—We don’t want to weigh down the children. I recall teacher talking with the children about Yom HaShoah or Zikaron: For the teacher, this is about Framing. There was a mean person, we are going to think about x, and this is what we can do today.
Anna Hartman
01:05:35
—Not a silver lining.
Anna Hartman
01:06:01
-Bit what is the meaning we can pull out of this so that doesn’t feel useless and helpless and hopeless and meaningless.
Anna Hartman
01:06:26
—Another way to think about Meaning Making: What have I learned? How has this touched me?
Anna Hartman
01:07:15
—How to help little ones to feel they learned something? I learned about loneliness. Now I know I can call ppl when they might be feeling lonely.
Anna Hartman
01:07:48
—Gratitude and Generosity. So many studies show that focus on what we are thankful for make s huge focus on our overall wellbeing.
Anna Hartman
01:07:59
—We can build up this muscle with the children.
Anna Hartman
01:08:20
—Let’s keep a gratitude treasure chest. Has affirming impact.
Anna Hartman
01:09:02
—Regarding Generosity: Putting pennies in the tzedakah box, giving food to the food bank, signs for the people who are doing delivery.
Anna Hartman
01:10:29
—When we have, we share.
Anna Hartman
01:10:59
—If hard for children to think about what thankful for, need to make shift to WHO are we thankful for. Let’s make a book of who are these people!
Anna Hartman
01:11:08
-{love this idea!)
Anna Hartman
01:11:32
—Generosity isn’t just about stuff—let’s be generous with our patience, time, stuff.
Anna Hartman
01:11:43
—Recall the idea of the buddy bench.
Anna Hartman
01:12:20
—When children has a birthday, can they GIVE a gift rather than just by receiving?
Anna Hartman
01:13:40
—As we talk about all of this, need to recall adults saying, “This is a time to bring your best self! This is a time you need to bring your best prayers! Need to be the best person you can be!” It is ok not to be your best self when you are going through something! It is ok!
Anna Hartman
01:14:25
—It is nice to think about striving and growing, but some days we just have to get through the day. We all know toddlers don’t always have a perfect day—eg today is not a day to ask so and so to share! ;) They are not in that place right now!
Anna Hartman
01:14:43
—Upon reopening, there will be many days like this.
Anna Hartman
01:15:44
—We need to be prepared.
Anna Hartman
01:16:17
—Preschoolers and adolescents are the ages that experience trauma most strongly.
Anna Hartman
01:16:53
Ha!!
Anna Hartman
01:17:25
—Need to know what you have permission to talk about (eg spirituality, views of God and heaven)
Anna Hartman
01:17:36
—And need to know what permission you have from individual fmailies
Anna Hartman
01:19:31
—BC preschoolers learn through doing and seeing, how might we begin to talk with our children about the essence of who a person is? How they have an impact or imprint on us—psychologically. This is not about the physical or our body. We impact each other even when not physically together. Let’s think about lessons that underscore this—who you are is not just about your body. Think about each person pushing palm into play dough. When palm is taken away, there is still an imprint there. There are so many ways the people who are not with us are actually with us.
Anna Hartman
01:19:53
—This does not replace validating, listening, etc.
Anna Hartman
01:20:31
—But let’s help think proactively about providing reassurance by reminding that essence of who we are is not just our physical presence.
Anna Hartman
01:21:00
—Play dough story made an imprint on Aviva ;)
Alyse Eisenberg
01:21:06
The play dough example is huge!
Anna Hartman
01:21:32
Yes! The creativity! The power of educators coming together! Hatching ideas!
Anna Hartman
01:22:02
—I learn something magical and wonderful every time I am with another educator.
Judith Massarano
01:22:22
i wonder what the panelists might say about how to respond to children's queries about deaths related to racism/police brutality in the news?
Anna Hartman
01:23:28
—There is one metaphor on a Berenstain Bears worth lifting up: the metaphor of the bad apple.
Judith Massarano
01:24:05
thank you, i appreciate the thoughtful response
Anna Hartman
01:24:17
—Almost all policemen are people who want to help; but some have done bad things. Or are not good.
Anna Hartman
01:25:01
—Need to start educating about he media blitz bias. We get the blitz of trauma and tragedy 24/7. The job of the news is to tell us the bad stuff. But that is not our job.
Julia Schneider
01:25:26
Also our obligation as educators to expose our children to antiracist teachings and books. Lots of good resources out there.
Anna Hartman
01:26:34
—Adults must get comfortable with being uncomfortable: The body stops, the breathing stops, they are not breathing or smelling. Talk about the physical. Burial.
Anna Hartman
01:26:48
Anyone have more questions?
Anna Hartman
01:27:08
—The body stops working.
Anna Hartman
01:27:34
-Ask the child, What questions do you have about that?
Anna Hartman
01:28:26
—Appropriate and fine to normalize the wide variety of affective responses. Very normal to be sad when someone’s body stops and they die.
Anna Hartman
01:28:44
—Children do have exposure to death.
Anna Hartman
01:29:20
—Every time the leaves fall off the trees, the leaves die.
Carolyn Jackson
01:31:41
Example:Our finger nails break and hair gets cuts and they grow back.
Anna Hartman
01:32:16
—“Mommy can’t stop rain—only God can stop the rain!” What is a child holding in their head already? If holding the idea of God, then conversations about death have a place they may go.
Anna Hartman
01:33:17
—A spiritual approach to how our essence impacts others.
Anna Hartman
01:34:41
Thank you Stacy! Who else?
Nancy Siegel
01:34:51
Everything was so brilliant and helpful, but I’’ll say the last one-meaning making
Lisa Plotkin
01:35:01
Behaviors escalate when a person doesn't feel validated. Also, validation is not equal to agreement.
Jenna Turner
01:35:10
Validate feelings doesn't mean agreement
Jenna Turner
01:35:21
Lisa...I think like you! :)
Nancy Siegel
01:35:33
Thank you so much for tackling this difficult subject of death, which happens to be one of my favorite things to talk about with kids.
Jenna Turner
01:35:55
www.jparadigm.org
Jenna Turner
01:36:23
https://www.jparadigm.org/webinars.html
Martha Shnider
01:36:26
I loved the play dough for my little toddlers, the imprint that it makes, giving a visual! Plus being hands on, which they love!
Alyse Eisenberg
01:36:47
Thank you!