Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 12/15/2020 – The pandemic has caused stress, anxiety, and fear in children and adults. Janine Holloran has been working with children, teens, and their families for 20 years. She has been helping children and teens build their coping skills throughout her career in a variety of settings, including schools, mental health clinics, and in her private practice. She is the author of the bestselling Coping Skills for Kids Workbook.
You have been working with families for 20 years by helping children and teens build their coping skills. Share your background.
I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor from Massachusetts, and I’ve worked in schools and clinics throughout my whole career. Now I work in private practice, seeing kids and teens for individual therapy. Since I was a teen, I’ve wanted to be a therapist, and I love when I see my clients make progress and use their coping skills. I started Coping Skills for Kids about five years ago to share simple and practical ways to introduce coping skills to kids. Counselors, educators, and families read my books and use my products. I’m also a mom of 2, which I keep in mind as I create products and resources for families.
COVID-19 has caused a plethora of emotions for children and adults. How is Coping Skills for Kids providing practical ways to help kids cope with stress, anxiety, and anger?
I have a whole page on my site focused on helping kids cope with COVID-19, which has some of my favorite coping skills to help kids and adults through these unprecedented times.
I have a free resource available to help kids identify coping skills, called the Coping Skills Checklist. Also, I have a printable resource available for families that I made free at the beginning of COVID called the Coping Skills Family Activities E-book. I plan to keep it free until the coronavirus is under control. It has several playful activities families can use to explore feelings and coping skills.
What challenges are parents facing today?
Parents these days are facing an unprecedented number of challenges. Those who work at home are also trying to take care of the needs of their children. It’s a balancing act for parents of little ones to monitor the children and meet expectations at work. Parents of school-aged children are trying to balance work responsibilities and support their children academically and socially. Essential workers are especially stretched, as they have to leave home to continue to work. I think a lot about the educators who are also parents, trying to help the students in their classes while also managing their own families. It can feel insurmountable at times, which is why I remind all the adults, but especially those essential workers, to take time to re-charge and re-energize themselves when they can.
Tell us about your bestselling Coping Skills for Kids Workbook.
The Coping Skills for Kids Workbook is designed to help kids learn and practice coping skills to deal with anxiety, stress, and anger.
It’s a bestseller on Amazon and includes over 75 coping skills for kids to try. It has more than 20 printable worksheets and a resource collection of other helpful books and websites for families.
Kids can read this book on their own, or they can work through it with a family member or another trusted adult. It’s available in print or digital versions.
Coping Skills for Kids offers, workbooks, card decks, activity books, and e-courses. Walk us through the process.
I offer several different ways for people to learn about coping skills on my website. Some people prefer free resources and guides. Others focus on the various coping styles that I discuss – they may pick one style that resonates with their child and focus on that. Other people prefer to learn via books or e-courses, so I also offer those too. I try to give people lots of different ways to learn about coping skills!
What will we find in the card decks and activity books?
Each card deck has at least 40 coping skills, with one unique strategy on each card in the deck. The cards can help kids explore new skills they may not have tried before or can be used as visual reminders of coping skills that work for them already.
The activity books are designed more for early elementary kids. The activity books playfully introduce coping skills so that kids can practice lots of strategies by merely using the activity book.
Children and teens learn differently. Are parents purchasing workbooks, card decks, and activity books to find the best fit for their child?
I would say parents are looking for the best fit for their child. Parents can look through the products and choose whatever they think will be the best fit for their child to encourage positive coping skills. And I appreciate it when people share with me when they need a resource that isn’t created yet to help support their child. For example, I hadn’t planned to write the Coping Skills for Teens Workbook until I started hearing from my customers saying they could use a book geared for teens.
Tell us about the Coping Cue Cards.
I created the Coping Cue Cards because customers asked for visuals to go along with the Coping Skills for Kids Workbook. I found an excellent graphic designer who helped bring my ideas to life by illustrating the characters and critters who demonstrate coping skills. I love representing different kinds of kids in the decks because I believe ALL kids need coping skills. I want kids to see themselves in the characters and practice coping skills like the kids on the cards.
Share the collection of resources to help adults talk to kids and teens about the virus and how Coping Skills for Kids can help to deal with anxiety and stress around Coronavirus (COVID-19).
I put together the collection of resources early on in COVID because I wanted to help families out there struggling. There are some simple strategies we can introduce our children to that can help them manage the uncertainty and frustration that living life this way can cause. And there are also ways for the adults to take care of themselves. It feels like talk of self-care is indulgent for parents in a time like this, but honestly, it’s essential. As parents, we aren’t getting as many breaks as we typically get, and it’s emotionally and physically draining. We need to find ways to refill our cups to get up the next day and be there for our families.
When do parents know when their child needs a therapist?
If you’ve tried some interventions for several weeks and nothing seems to be working, then it’s time to reach out for more help. In particular, if you’ve noticed the symptoms like:
- Drastic changes in their eating or sleeping habits, their personality, or their behaviors
- Feeling sad or withdrawn, lack of motivation, unexplained crying
- They are being unsafe and taking part in activities that are harmful to themselves or others
- If their behaviors are getting in the way of everyday activities, like hanging out with friends or going to school
for more than a few weeks, then it’s time to start creating a support system for your child and your family and seek professional help.
You also offer a video course for parents. What will they find?
The video course is aimed at the parents of elementary school-aged children and walks them through how they can introduce coping skills to their kids. There are ideas to practice and integrate those skills into everyday life at home with their children. If your child struggles with stress, anxiety, or anger, and you feel a little confused or overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin, I think the course can be helpful.
Tell us about the Calm & Connected podcast. Where can we find it?
The Calm and Connected Podcast is almost two years old now! I share quick coping skills, play ideas, and occasional self-care tips for the adults on the podcast. I plan to do more interviews in the future, and I’m excited to share knowledge from other professionals with expertise in coping skills and play with my audience. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play & Stitcher.
Do you plan on expanding your products in 2021?
I do! I have plans for more courses for professionals aimed at supporting teens. I also want to make a visual coping skills checklist to help those who do better with visuals. Also, I have a Reset Space in the works to help kids practice coping skills in challenging moments at home and school.