Happy Holidaze to you and yours

By Karen DeBolt | 13th Dec 2010 | Filed under Family Rituals, Reflections

We celebrate Christmas at our home, and today was the annual going to get the Christmas tree ritual. As in past years, things did not go completely smoothly. You can probably relate!

As some of you know, I work on a crisis line over the weekend on the overnight shift. While I do really love this work, the hours make life very hard sometimes.  My 15 year old also has all kinds of choir practices and 6 performances and my son is also doing play practice and my 17 year old is working part time. Needless to say, finding a time to go get a tree was not easy this year! So I decided that I would just stay up one morning, and we would go.

So I get off work yesterday morning, I’m a bit wound up over something that happened at work so that delays me in getting home. Then my 15 year old is refusing to get out of bed. She is usually my easy kid too! ugh! I lay the guilt trip on strong and thick. It worked! Luckily, my son and other daughter are ready and excited to get started. It’s a Christmas Miracle!

We go to a local farm, Furrow Farms, to pick out and cut our own tree. We walk and walk until we find the perfect enough tree. Everyone gets a vote and it took a while to find the perfect tree. By the time we walk back to the car, I’m dead on my feet! My beloved husband gets the tree tied up on the roof of the car and we take it home.

The tree is  sitting in my living room now smelling lovely and looking gorgeous even without a stitch of ornamentation yet. Hopefully, I won’t have to resort to the guilt trip to get them to decorate it!

Wishing you and yours lovely holiday rituals in whatever way that you celebrate the season.

All the best, Karen

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Keeping things golden for the holidays

By Karen DeBolt | 22nd Nov 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Techniques

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it might be helpful to give you all a new tool to use to help your child to avoid getting in trouble, having anxiety attacks, and even melt downs. I developed this idea with my husband and we call it the Golden Triangle of good behavior. The Golden Triangle is a tool that you can use to evaluate what is going on with your child before trouble starts and then make changes that will hopefully help your child to feel better and so behave better as well.

In order for a child or adult for that matter, to feel good and therefore behave at their best, there needs to be a good balance of two areas. When these are in balance, then your child is inside the Golden Triangle.

  1. Basic needs: hunger, thirst, sleep, safe, warm, free of discomfort
  2. A good balance of stimulation – not too much and not too little

These two areas interact to create either a focused, happy, well behaved child or a perfect storm of trouble! The key is to get the needs met to the degree possible so that the child is within the Golden Triangle and avoid being in the outside areas of unmet needs. Let’s talk more about each area and what happens when they are not in balance.

Feed me now!

When a person’s basic needs are not met, they are uncomfortable or even in pain. No one is at their best under those circumstances. Your child might also have the added difficulty of being unable to identify which of these things or combination of things are needed. I think that lack of sleep is one of the biggest problems and can cause a child to be hyperactive (trying to stay alert) have difficulty focusing on any one thing, and of course may become extremely grumpy. Yet, he’s not sleepy when its time for bed again because he is coping with that feeling by excessively moving around.

Hunger is another one that can cause big problems if it is not caught quickly enough. When my son is overly hungry, he will often become very demanding and grouchy, but sometimes he is not able to say “I’m hungry,” much less go into the kitchen and get a snack or make a sandwich especially when he is way over hungry. When he is mildly hungry these things are a possibility, but when he’s too far gone his communication skills go out the window.

“I’m Bored”

Under stimulation is another area that can cause children to get into trouble quick. When a child is not effectively engaged, trouble will often follow. This may be in the form of impulsive behavior either due to seeking stimulation or seeking trouble which will also have a consequence of a negative reaction– yelling and punishment give a lot of stimulation even if it is the negative kind! You may see hyperactivity in an effort to stimulate the brain. You might experience that glorious state called whining where your child will say “I’m bored.” in that grating whiny tone that all parents love so much (NOT)

In other words, being under stimulated is likely to cause trouble with a capital “T” and that is no fun for anybody.

Stop the world I want to get off!

By the same token, over stimulation leads to overwhelm, anxiety, and defiance. When there is too much stimulation, a child’s nervous system begins to send a signal to slow things down. This will often result in a child who says “No!” to any request or will perseverate about a particular detail in an effort to feel more in control. Too much over stimulation can lead to other problems like depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and oppositional defiant disorder.

So what do I do?

If your child is out of balance in one or more area either with a basic need or with his level of stimulation, then it is time to make a shift that will put your child back into balance. The tricky part is often figuring out the problem. So this is a good time to put on your detective hat and start asking some questions. Are you hungry? Did you sleep well last night? Are you feeling lonely? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you bored right now?

These types of questions will help to get down to the basic needs and to the stimulation factors. Another way is to make it very open ended and just say, “I notice that you are (insert annoying behavior here.) What’s up with that?” This leaves it wide open for your child to talk about anything that is going on for him or her in the moment.

Once you have an idea about what the need is, then the real work begins—problem solving to get the need met. Sometimes you will only be able to take the edge off due to time constraints or other obstacles, but that may be enough to nudge your child back into the Golden Triangle where he or she is able to behave well again.

Here is a Golden Triangle worksheet in PDF format that will guide you to better understand what needs your child has right now.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes on the blog!

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

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Lessons from Whiz Kid Club

By Karen DeBolt | 7th Nov 2010 | Filed under Social Skills

I have to say that I am probably enjoying Whiz Kid Club even more than the kids and from what I hear from parents the kids are having a blast! We did a check in one day recently where each child talked about the best thing and the worst thing about their day and one child said, “Coming here!” for his best thing about today. So, my plan to make it fun while still helping them to learn some great skills seems to be working so far. Yeah!

Social Skills: Building teamwork

We got out a bunch of Marbleworks pieces (specially shaped tubes to build marble tracks) and split the group into pairs. Each pair was given the same number of pieces to build with and told to work together without any other instruction. One team immediately began to work together and started building very quickly while the other team complained to me that they want to build their own thing. I pointed out how far ahead of them the other team was already. They were galvanized. “Hey, we better work together!” one said and then they were off building very quickly also. We leaders made a big deal about how fast and well they were all working as a team. Next thing I know, the children decided to put their projects together all on their own without any adult prompting! “Let’s made a GIANT ONE!” they said.

The key to making this activity work was using specific praise as well as their own natural competitiveness to reinforce teamwork as being very desirable.

You can do a similar activity at home using toys that you already have. The key is to encourage your family to work as a team to build something even better than what you could build separately. Your specific praise will guide and reward the whole process. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Whiz Kid Club – new groups forming in January

If you are interested in getting your child some extra help with social skills, this program might be just what you are looking for. The group is for boys in second grade through sixth grade and will be meeting for an hour and a half on Wednesday from 4 pm to 5:30 pm. starting in January. If there is enough interest, I will begin a new section on another day of the week. All the details are on the website. Check it out and see if this would be a good fit for your family.

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Organizing for better grades

By Karen DeBolt | 7th Nov 2010 | Filed under School help

School is in full swing now. The honeymoon is long over, and by now you are starting to get reports from your child’s teacher that homework is not turned in or his backpack looks like a bomb went off in it or maybe that big project or paper was not completed because you didn’t know about it until 10 minutes before bedtime the night before it was due. To top it all off, he has lost two jackets, a lunchbox, and who knows how many take home papers. Sound familiar?

Organization is not something that comes naturally to everyone. Kids who are chronically disorganized may be getting lower grades that are not because they are not smart or don’t know the material, but because they never turned in the homework or waited until that last second to slam something together.

Some ideas that I have come up with lately for coaching clients:

To help children with their routine at the end of their school day, create a luggage tag with a listing of all the items that your child needs to bring home and put it on the backpack. For example, the list might say Jacket, Lunchbox, and library books. You could also have different versions that remind the child about where to go if his schedule changes from day to day. So you could have a tag that says “Bus Day” or “Meet Grandpa at the curb” or “Go to after school care” A visual reminder like this means that your child only has to remember one thing: look at the tag. For some kids this will be challenging enough! Notice each time that he or she remembers to check the tag, then at the end of the week earn a fun activity with you or a prize from your prize box.

If take home papers are not making it home or signed papers are not making it to school, then it is time to create a new system. Two ideas might be a clear sleeve in the binder for each subject which would hold homework or signed papers home and would also hold papers to come home. Open the binder and there’s the clear sleeve to remind your child to do something with whatever is inside. Alternatively, a folder with two pockets—one side for home and one side for school which is used for all subjects.

For even more ideas, I highly recommend the book Organizing the disorganized child: Simple strategies to succeed in school by Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran. They have a quiz where you can learn your child’s organizational style, and then they give ideas for working with each style. So you know which is the best backpack, binder, planner, etc for your child’s particular organizing style. Its a quick read and very worthwhile. Check it out here

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Your Child is like a thermometer

By Karen DeBolt | 6th Oct 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Reflections, Relationships, Self Care

Have you ever noticed that on days that you are the most stressed out that is usually the day that your child is driving you the most crazy? She may be in slow motion getting ready for school, or he might be more defiant than usual. Just when you really need a little peace that is when you are often the least likely to get it.

What the heck?!

While it may seem like the world is conspiring to drive you nuts and sometimes it really does feel like that. In truth, we as parents sometimes allow ourselves to get depleted on our energy reserves. I am as guilty of this as anyone, and I see it all the time in the parents that I work with. Whenever you get depleted, your child will also get depleted because you are not able to give as much as you normally do when you have more energy in reserve.

In other words, your child can be like a thermometer for how you feel. So if you start noticing that your child is more needy than usual, you might want to take a look in a mirror and see how needy you are.

What me needy?

You may have life stressors involving grown up problems like finances, job stress, relationship problems. Not only that, but you don’t give yourself the time for self care so you end up running on empty. That good old puritan ethic that we were all taught as children that work must be done before we can play had a place, but in the end sometimes that advice actually makes things worse for us.

If we are depleted, then we go and do more depleting activities (cleaning the house, paying bills) then we will continue to go down into negativity. What would happen if instead you did something that would bring you up and make you feel nourished and energized? Then when you do the depleting activities it doesn’t feel so bad because you were in a higher spot to begin with.

But if I play first, then I’ll feel guilty

You might at first because all those years of programming are not going to just suddenly disappear. You will still hear those voices saying things like: “You are being so irresponsible right now!” “I can’t believe you did do XXX before going to have fun!” “Who do you think you are?”

I encouraged you to remember that when you do choose to do those things that nurture you that you will:

• Have more patience
• Yell less
• Be better able to problem solve
• Enjoy your child more

That ought to quiet those voices down quite a bit!

Now if you are not sure what you should do, I would recommend sitting down writing a list of all the activities that nourish and energize you. What helps you to feel good–body, mind, and soul? When you have even 15 minutes to spare, you can pull out your list and do something on it or at least plan something on it. Sometimes it helps to just know that something is planned.

I KNOW this is hard for a lot of you as it is hard for me, but it is SO important for your health, your child’s health, and the health of your relationship.

If you need ideas, email me!

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Autumn is the time to put on the teflon suit

By Karen DeBolt | 15th Sep 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Reflections, Relationships, Techniques

Autumn is in the air. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I grew up in an area where we only had two seasons, so I really treasure this time of year. The crisp air, the smell of burning leaves, and the gorgeous foliage put a smile on my face. Of course, this is also the beginning of a new school year which brings with it many hopes that things will go better this year and worries that the phone will ring with the school’s number on my caller ID. I know many of you have those same hopes and fears.

Luckily for me, my son has the same teachers this year for the most part, so I know what to expect and have a good working relationship with them which is a relief. One of the things that I have had to learn over the years is that I cannot allow myself or other people to put my son’s challenging behaviors on me. I have had to put on my teflon suit and deal with frustrated teachers, scolding principals, and  well meaning school counselors that don’t understand what I have been through with my son or how much effort I put into parenting him. How could they know?

So how can you put on your teflon suit?

Here are some ideas to help you to communicate with the other people in your child’s life who
are also struggling with his behavior.

  1. Avoid getting defensive, remind yourself that they do not know you well, so take their comments with a grain of salt.
  2. Provide them with some empathy for their frustrations. I find that this will completely disarm a lot of difficult conversations.
  3. Ask the other person what they would recommend that you do. (I did this one time and found out that the teacher did not know that we were in counseling even though I was sure that we had talked about it in the IEP. Once she knew, she understood better how hard we were working on things and became very helpful.)

Of course, none of this will work, if you are also blaming yourself for your child’s behavior. This will make those judgmental comments more likely to stick. Your child’s behavior is not your fault! That is not to say that there is nothing left to learn–there’s always more to learn.

If you feel confident about yourself, it will be easier to let those jabs slide right off.

Have you felt the need for a Teflon suit? Found a good tip for coping? Please comment below!

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Social Skills: Harder to do at the speed of life

By Karen DeBolt | 31st Jul 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Social Skills

 I have been very busy doing social skills assessments this summer, and I am learning so much! The assessment that I’m using is a modified version of the one detailed in Michelle Garcia Winner’s book “Thinking about you thinking about me. 2nd edition” The assessment covers skills such as the ability to: 

  1. ask for help
  2. manage mild frustration.
  3. read social situations from photos
  4. sequence events to tell a story
  5. understand the main idea of a story
  6. maintain appropriate eye contact
  7. answer questions fully and on topic
  8. make inferences about relationships observed
  9. do the social fake (i.e. seem interested when you really are not)
  10. show curiosity by asking questions of another person
  11. understand the concept that where someone is looking gives us clues as to what they are thinking about.

 Every child that I assessed so far was able to do somethings well and struggled with others. Some kids appeared to be able to do most of the activities well, but their parents stated that they were not able to read social cues well at all. When I was able to observe these children at camp, I found that they were not able to to do this in real time even though they did well during the assessment. This really drove home the importance of observation in a natural setting. Social situations happen so fast that a child who struggles may completely miss something if there is a lot of input going on all at once.

 For example, if a child is telling the same story for the fifth or sixth time and another child rolls his eyes. The teller of the story may completely miss that very subtle, but meaningful, gesture especially if there is a lot of background noise, if the story is particularly engrossing to the storyteller, or if the storyteller’s eyes are roaming around rather than using appropriate eye contact. Yet this same storyteller may have been able to look at a scenario on a card and correctly read the situations in my quiet office with few distractions.

 I believe that by teaching these skills in various situations that children can begin to improve on their social skills over time even under trying, real life situations—like summer day camp! It will take patience and persistence over time, but I believe that it is so worth it.

Explorer’s Day Camp – See the new dates!

We still have two slots available for day  camp for 5 to 6 year old children.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to cancel our original dates and rescheduled it for the very end of summer. This is a great opportunity to get your little ones some basic social skills in time for school to start again. All the details are on the website . Check it out then fill out the form at the bottom, and I’ll call you to set up the assessment.

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Help! My Kid Won’t Turn In His Homework!

By Karen DeBolt | 30th Jun 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Self Care, Techniques

I recently got a comment on my blog from a mom who is exhausted and requested some help for her son. First of all let me say how excited I got to get this comment from a reader! Please if you have any questions along these lines, please feel free to email them or post them as a comment on my blog and I will be happy to answer them on the blog, in the newsletter or by email. I am honored that you trusted me enough to write.

Here is the message:

“At almost 12 y.o (in July), my son still needs too much input from me to get anything done. He has trouble keeping track of his schedule: when he has tests and other school related due dates. Remembering to put on deodorant, losing assignments just between home and school. It is getting exhausting and I am running out of ideas.”

This particular question is one that I hear frequently at our ADHD parent support group I would say the seeming inability to turn in homework or remember to put on deodorant should be listed in the DSM V under the features of ADHD because it is so common amongst the children of the parents who attend our meetings.Anyway, the good news is that he will probably be able to remember his deodorant and keep track of his work assignments when he is 40 years old. The trick is getting from here to there without losing it yourself.

Many of our children don’t mature at the same speed as their peers. They need more specific training and repetition than other children in order to be successful—not because they are stupid or not capable or trying to drive you crazy, but because the way that his brain is wired is not conducive to those organizational tasks that seem so easy to us.

Working with your child’s neurology

So helping your child to set up a system of organization the works with the way his brain works is going to go a long way towards future success. For example, your child is likely a visual person, so out of sight out of mind is the literal truth. So, setting up a visual reminders is going to really make a difference in whether he remembers or not.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

For example, to help with remembering to turn in homework, set up a class binder with a clear sleeve in the front which will be where the homework goes. When your child arrives at his class and takes out his notebook, the home work will be there sitting in clear sight in the clear sleeve as a reminder to turn it in. The sleeve will keep the homework contained in one place. So, hopefully it won’t get jammed into the bottom of the backpack or the back of the locker never to be seen again. The trick is to teach him that the homework is not done until it is in the clear sleeve! If you are already rewarding your child at home for completing homework adding this step into the requirements will help to cement it as a habit.

I would recommend a similar system for his deodorant. By storing the deodorant in a place that he never forgets to look, it will serve as a reminder to be used. For example, don’t put it away in a drawer or cabinet. Again, out of sight is out of mind. Put it on top of a dresser or on the bathroom counter where it is in plain sight for him to use. Rewarding him for remembering will help it to become a habit over time.

Taking Care Of You

By teaching your child how to work with his own neurology, you will be able to help him to learn to be more independent over time. You may find that it takes your child longer to learn these skills and with more repetition. This is why is it so critical that you make sure to do your own self care so that you don’t get so exhausted. Sometimes I think just knowing that, “This too shall Pass,” helps to keep us going even when we are beyond exhausted. Also, getting support from other parents can be very helpful. Finding a local support group can help you to know that you are not alone and that there is hope that one day your child will remember to turn in his homework and use his deodorant every day.

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Defiance: What causes it and what to do about it.

By Karen DeBolt | 10th May 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Techniques

 Videogame versus Homework

So, 10 year old John is sitting in front of the video game as usual. He’s making those frustrated sounds he makes when things are not going his way in the game. Mom realizes that it’s time for him to start his homework, so she says, “Hey, time to start your homework.”

Mom hears no response. It is as though she never said a word. So, she says, louder this time, “Homework time! Save your game.” This time he says “Wait a minute! I can’t stop now until I beat this boss, mom!”

Mom is reasonable so she says, “Okay five minutes, then you need to come do homework.” He says with some attitude “Whatever!” Now mom is starting to lose her patience. “Hey, I said five minutes. No attitude or the game goes off now!” He is silent this time.

In five minutes or maybe more if mom got distracted doing something else, she goes back to see that he is still playing, and now he is obviously doing something else—in other words he’s finished with the boss and is now doing something else. This time Mom says quite loudly lest he doesn’t “hear” her again. “John Michael turn that off now! Right this minute young man!” He says “No! Mom you are so mean all the time! Why are you yelling at me?”

By this time, mom has completely lost her own temper. . . Eventually, the video game is turned off and the homework gets done, but mom is angry, John is angry, and mom is wondering what the heck is wrong that she can’t get her child to do anything without have a battle royale.

What the heck?

There are some very specific reasons why some children are more likely to be defiant than others. These things have very little to do with a specific diagnosis although there are a few that seem to pop up frequently—ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mood Disorders, but there are plenty of kids who would not fit a particular diagnostic category yet are extremely hard to parent due to almost constant defiance. These particular challenges involve a set of skills called Executive Functions which are delayed or completely missing.

Executive Functions

Executive Functions are a series of skills that help a person to organize their lives. This includes things like time management, prioritizing tasks, organizing, transitions, and impulse control. So what do these skills have to do with your child being defiant? Basically, if a task is needing one or more of these skills then that task is going to be more challenging for your child which may cause him to refuse rather than make the huge effort necessary to accomplish this task that seems easy to you and me.

Let’s go back to our video gamer who is refusing to do his homework. There are several Executive Functions in play here.

Time management – John doesn’t realize how long 5 minutes is, and he may be under estimating how long it will take to do his homework so he doesn’t understand his mom’s urgency.
Prioritization – John doesn’t prioritize his mother’s feelings, his homework, and his winning of the game he is playing in a way that works well for his life. The game will be there the next day and the day after that, but the homework is due tomorrow.
Transitions – John has a very hard time transitioning from a very pleasurable activity to a not so pleasurable activity like homework.
Impulse Control – John allowed himself to say to his mom “Whatever!” when she made a request of him. Most people have thoughts like these all the time, but John has a hard time not saying them out loud. It’s like a filter is missing.

All of these functions are necessary just to get from game play to homework. Actually, completing homework takes all of these and even more!

So how do I help my child?

While these challenges may be life long, it is possible with some specific interventions to help children to learn ways to cope with their challenges so that they are not so difficult. In the above example here are some ways that mom could have set things up differently that would have made things quite a bit easier.

  • Rather than call out from another room – go and touch him on the shoulder, use his name and in a calm voice say exactly what you expect him to do and when. For example, “John, I want you to finish with this boss, then turn off your game and come to the table to start homework.”
  • Using a timer – by using a timer, your child doesn’t need any reminders from you—when the alarm goes off that’s it. It takes you out of the loop and puts the control back on him.
  • When he begins to move in the right direction, then use a specific praise statement to acknowledge that he is doing what you asked him to do. “John! You turned off your game! Way to go! (Give a high five)
  • If this is still not completely resolving the problem, then have a heart to heart discussion when you are both calm about your concerns and encourage him to talk to you about his concerns, and then see if you can come to an agreement. “John, I expected you to do A, B, and C, but that did not happen. What’s up with that?”

Staying calm

The hardest part, but one of the most important parts is to remain calm. Remember that your child is doing his best right now even if that best is not what you would hope for at this point. By remaining calm, you will send a message to your child that you are in control, that you care about him, and most importantly you will be creating a better relationship with your child.

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Breathing the Magic Bullet

By Karen DeBolt | 30th Mar 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Self Care, Techniques


Self Care:  Breathing the Magic Bullet

 

Some of you know that I work on a Crisis line on the overnight shift on the weekends. This is a very stressful job and many of my callers are in the midst of various types of crisis situations. Sometimes, I just have to get them calm enough to be able to talk to me about what is happening. How on earth do I get someone calmed down who is crying inconsolably or having a full blown panic attack?

I get them to breath.It sounds simple, but there’s more to it than just taking a deep breath. When you are stressed, the muscles in your body will tighten which can cause shallow breathing. Shallow breathing causes rapid heart beat, sweating, dizziness, etc.  This is a recipe for a panic attack.Probably, not very helpful when you are already stressed out by work, family, or life in general. So How Do I calm that down?Here is a breathing technique that works really well for most people.Four Count Breathing:

  1. Get into a comfortable position–either sitting or laying down is fine.
  2. Put your hand on your belly button.
  3. Breath down into your belly so that your hand moves.
  4. Breath in to the count of four.
  5. Hold your breath to the count of four.
  6. Breath out to the count of four.
  7. Repeat the breathing five or six times
  8. Notice how relaxed your body feels now.

This type of breathing will cause your body to relax–it’s automatic. By relaxing and breathing more deeply your body will feel less tense and your symptoms of stress will begin to decrease as well.You may need to adjust this technique if you are a heavy smoker or if you have any kind of respiratory problem–try breathing to the count of three to start.But I’m not in a crisisYou may not be having a crisis, but that doesn’t mean that you are not under a tremendous amount of stress everyday. So whether you are frustrated at being on hold forever with the cable company, angry at your child for back talking, or feeling pressured by your boss, four count breathing can help to calm your body down so that you can focus your mind better to problem solve whatever the situation.Practice this technique before you go to sleep at night, and you may find that you are able to get to sleep faster and more restfully.Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

How to Calm A Melt Down

 

 

My son is a bit of a drama king at times. He will get extremely frustrated over the seemingly smallest things. He will be happily playing a video game one moment, and then the next he will blow sky high because he was not able to “beat the boss” or something. Often, he will actually have some other need that is causing this small thing to suddenly seem insurmountable, like he is hungry or tired or upset about something else.

Sometimes he is so upset that I am not able to figure out what is going on. After all, not beating a boss is not usually grounds for a major blow–normally its a time for one of his epithets like “Butter Biscuits!”

The trick is to get him calm enough to figure out what is going on. I find that helping him to use a breathing technique like the the Four Count Breathing technique below is very tricky when he is upset already. So, I taught it to him and had him practice it before he goes to bed at night.

This way, when he is upset and could use it, he already knows what to do and just needs a reminder. During a melt down is not a good time for a teaching moment.

 Four Count Breathing Technique

1.    Get into a comfortable position either laying down or sitting.

2.    Ask your child to put his hand on his belly button.

3.    Have your child breath down into his belly until he feels his hand move.

4.    Have him breath in to the count of four.

5.    Hold his breath for the count of four.

6.    Then breath out to the count of four.

7.    Have your child repeat this five or six times. 

8.    Ask your child to notice how relaxed his body feels.

Encourage your child to practice this technique when he is fairly calm at first, then use it when he is just starting to get anxious or upset. Over time, he will be able to do it when he is in the middle of a melt down and may be able to slow down that process enough to calm down. 

The goal is that over time he will be able to calm himself down without any reminders, but know that this may take a whole lot of practice!

 Let me know how your child responds to this type of breathing.

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