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  • Coping with Pandemic Stress, The Chatter Box Encourages Families to Talk

Published on March 09, 2021

Coping with Pandemic Stress
The Chatter Box Encourages Families to Talk

happy family sitting on couch together

We’re in a season of unprecedented challenges for family members of all ages.

How to Make Your Own Chatter Box

Chatter Box example

Use an empty box (a shoebox or tissue box works well) with either a removable lid or a large enough opening to drop notes in and out at the top of the box.

If desired, allow family members to decorate the box to make it a family project and label it “Chatter Box.” Place sticky notes or pieces of paper and pencils or pens to place beside the Chatter Box to write down thoughts during the week. Enjoy this time with your family!

The Chatter Box was created by Jaynie Wood, Certified Child Life Specialist at Cottage Health, to encourage communication within the home and to support families by sparking conversations about all topics, even topics that may be difficult to share.

To bring the Chatter Box into your home, create a designated time and a safe space for family members to sit and discuss questions, thoughts, feelings and topics they have on their mind.

Place your Chatter Box in a common area of your home, so everyone has access to it, with paper and pens beside it. Encourage family members to write chatter topics on the pieces of paper and place them inside the box.

If family members have a comment, question or subject they want to share, they can write these down and place it in the Chatter Box.

At the end of the day or week—whatever works best for your family—set aside time to sit down together to talk through the topics in the Chatter Box. To make this a priority, turn off all devices and screens including phones, TV, games, computers, and focus on active listening and communication between family members. This is a time to give everyone a voice and an opportunity to feel heard.

Mental Health Resources for Children and Families

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Auxiliary Application

The emotional impacts of COVID-19 are impacting many children, teens, and families. If you or someone you know needs help with depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns, Cottage Health offers help.

Get Help Now

Media and Public Relations Contact

Maria Zate, Manager of Public Relations

Phone: 805-879-8986

Email: mzate@sbch.org