Miss Shaune

Hello! I am "Miss Shaune" and I have the privilege of providing the mental health/counseling services to students at Hazel Fischer and Albert Michelson Elementary Schools. 
Throughout the year I plan to post various articles and information regarding relevant mental health and parenting Issues. You will find these listed on the right hand side of this page. In addition, I will post a monthly article. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.  Because I am often with children between the two elementary schools, the best way to  contact me is through e-mail. 
All The Best,

"Good parenting does take time, but often the time it takes is less than the battle and follow up required to patch the scars and hurt emotions."

-Bryan Post



Teaching Children Self Care

Last month, I shared about the importance of parental self care so we as parents can have the strength and patience we need to take care of our children. This month, I want to stress the importance of parents in helping their children meeting their basic needs.

Nutrition: Children need to eat regular, nutritious meals. Meals and snacks that are high in fiber and protein help children feel fuller, longer.  It also helps them do better in school because the have better concentration and memory. 


Children also need daily physical activity.  This helps their concentration in school, reduces stress, improves their health, and overall, increases their energy. 


Finally, make sure your children are  getting plenty of sleep. I cannot emphasize this enough! The recommended amount of sleep for children in elementary school is 9-12 hours. A bedtime routine is extremely important. It trains them in what to expect and a regular bedtime helps them to set their internal clocks when there is consistency. Sleep affects their health, behavior, concentration and overall well being. 


“More is caught than taught,” so what our children SEE us doing has a greater impact meaning.  They are more likely to catch on to what they see us doing, rather than telling them something that we are not modeling.  So, if we as parents are doing these things, our children are going to be more likely to do them. 

Children thrive on structure and routine. They like to know what is going to happen.  Even when they rail against it, they like to know there are boundaries. It makes them feel safe when they know someone is in control.

All the best to you, on this parenting journey!

Shaune Brady, Mental Health Intervention Specialist

Vallecito Union School District


The following has been adapted from Dr. Laura’s Aha Parenting Article, Looking For Love at Toys ‘R Us.

The human mind has a tendency to crave “more, more, more!” Kids haven't yet learned how to manage those yearnings and direct them toward what will really fulfill them, which, research shows, is connection, creativity, contribution, gratitude, and meaning. 

Research also shows that having lots of material possessions usually makes us value them less. When we aren't as grateful, we aren't as happy. But it is possible to fill our children’s deep longings.  Not with excessive presents – which always leave kids feeling unfulfilled – but through presence. Children long for quality time with people they love.

Here are some gifts of presence you can give your child this holiday season:

Make gingerbread cookies or a gingerbread house together https://www.instructables.com/id/Graham-Cracker-Gingerbread-House/

Read a holiday story together in the evenings while sipping hot chocolate or cider

Reflect on the year and come up with a list of things your family is grateful for

Make holiday ornaments or cards

Visit someone you know who could use cheering up and bring food or a song

Have everyone sleep in a room with twinkling lights and sing songs

Enjoy a game night

Family hide and seek

Create snowflakes to hang in all of your windows https://www.marthastewart.com/266694/decorating-with-paper-snowflakes#_

Make and give away chocolate Dipped Pretzels https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-covered-pretzels-with-sprinkles-recipe2-1972686

Consider the memories your kids are shaping this December. When they look back, will they describe a parent who communicated the spirit of the season with laughter, warm embraces, gracious patience, and joyful presence? 

Wishing you and your family a holiday filled with wonderful memories!

Shaune Brady, Mental Health Intervention Specialist

Vallecito Union School District


Gratitude is an excellent habit to form. It’s also something to remember with our children and what we notice in them. As parents, it is easy to focus on the negative, and ignore what is going well. (We often think, “Well, that’s what they should be doing!)  However, when we express our gratitude for the behaviors that we appreciate, we find our children doing more of those. 

In noticing what our children are doing well,  Howard Glasser’s Nurtured Heart Approach © says to avoid “vague praise,” such as, “Good job,” or “Nice work!”  Our children may not know what is “good” or “nice” about what they are doing. Instead, he encourages us to be specific so that a child feels seen and heard. Then they know exactly what they are doing that is working well. For example, “I’m really grateful you put the Legos away without being asked, it shows you are being responsible.” “You were gentle when you were petting the kitty. I appreciate your kindness to the cat.”

Also, take note of the time when they are not participating in challenging behavior so that you can turn it into specific praise.“You wanted to throw the toy because you were angry and you didn’t. I am thankful that you are showing great self-control!” “You kept your hands and feet to yourself for the whole car ride. I really appreciate your respect for your brother and/or sister by not touching them!” 

Children really want to please us, and when we specifically call out the things they are doing well, we will see more of them! It takes intentionality and effort to think of the character traits or behaviors you want to catch in action. It may not feel natural at first to try this technique, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

I call this frontloading discipline. (The latin  root of discipline is disciple, which means to teach or train. True discipline guides and shapes the behaviors you DO want!)  If we don’t put the energy in to molding and shaping the behaviors we want, we end up expending energy telling (or yelling at) our children what we don’t want them to do, or how they’ve blown it. Children long for our attention.  If we don’t give it to them positively and energetically, expressing our gratitude for what’s right in them, they will ask for our attention with their negative behaviors. 

Shaune Brady, Mental Health Intervention Specialist

Vallecito Union School District

Parental Self-Care

Parenting Job Description (must be proficient in the following areas): chauffeur, cheerleader, chef, coach, confidant, curfew warden, disc jockey, fashion stylist, hairdresser, homework adviser, housekeeper, hygiene inspector, internet safety monitor, loan officer, lost and found attendant, magician, nurse, party planner, peacekeeper, personal assistant, purchasing agent, recreation director, referee, relationship specialist, teacher, travel agent and zoo keeper.

There will be chores that are never completed (think meals and laundry), continual acts of self-sacrifice, a constant cry for attention, unlimited questions, continual mess and lots of noise. There are no sick days or holidays in parenting, and in addition, many parents are employed full-time outside the home.

Benefits: Hugs, kisses and “I love you’s” and a great return on your investment!

You have likely heard the airplane announcement by the flight attendant that “If the oxygen mask drops down, you should first put on your own mask, and then assist small children.” This is also good parenting advice. As described above, our children have many needs, and even more desires they would like you to fulfill. But in order to have the energy to care for them, we need to make sure that we’re also taking care of ourselves!  You are likely to feel more stressed out and overwhelmed when you are not caring for yourself, which makes it hard to be empathetic and patient with your children.

I encourage you to do a quick inventory and find an area below you need to resource yourself in on a daily basis: 

  • Enough sleep
  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity 
  • Refreshing/Soul-Nourishing activity

Parents often say they don’t have time to do these things. However, when we as parents take time to refresh ourselves, our productivity increases, our attitudes are better, and our relationships improve. When parents "fill their own cups," they have more patience, energy, and passion to spread to their families.


The root word of discipline is “disciple”...basically meaning to teach or to train. A lot of times, parents want to give  painful consequences, or make their children “pay” for their misdeeds. However, this doesn’t help children learn the behavior we want them to have, and  often it pushes them away from us. Using fear or threats leads to increased undesired behaviors, or short term, superficial gain. They don’t internalize the lessons we want them to, rather their behavior sticks only as long as it is needed, to remain safe in the moment.  In order to get the behavior we desire in our children I would like to share a few thoughts.

First we need to be connected to our children. The only way this happens is when they really FEEL loved by us. We can say we love our kids again and again, but do they FEEL it? As parents we are constantly working to make money to put a roof over their heads, cooking, washing, cleaning, etc. to meet their physical needs. And while this is a way we show love, it doesn’t mean we have connected on an emotional level, which is what they crave and need. We have to take time to meet them where they are, join them in their world, and participate in what they want to do. Often times we are tired, and if they don’t meet us where we are, we don’t connect, and their challenging behavior is often a way to get our attention. And they will take our negative attention over no attention.   

Second, when we  “discipline” our children (meaning teaching them), we need to do it in such a way that they aren’t going to get defensive. No one likes to be humiliated or embarrassed. But when we do it in such a way that they  feel we are on their team and coming along beside them, they are going to be more receptive to our input. This goes a long way in having two-way conversations and future actions that are productive. 

The last thing is making sure that what we do truly teaches them what we want them to learn.  Are we coming alongside them and making sure they have the tools and skills needed for what we are asking them to do? When they are angry, do we  demonstrate healthy outlets and expressions of our own anger (more is caught than taught!)? And are we giving them tools when they are angry that they can use...or are we  just managing their anger with our anger? One of our greatest privileges as parents is to come alongside our children and teach them “how to be” in this world. I think a lot of times we expect them to automatically know this, but haven’t equipped them.

Wishing you the best as you take time to connect and instill in  your kids the values you desire to see in them in the new year!

Shaune Brady

Mental Health Intervention Specialist