I am a mom to a special child, and because of that I have be awarded to opportunity to take speciality parenting classes that help manage his special needs as well as tools that I can use with my daughter as well. I took a very interesting one last night about the stresses that kids face nad how to manage their levels in a healthy way.
A kids stressors are very different to grown ups, and honestly they may even seem silly to us, but that is what makes them unique and awesome little people, and it is our job as parents to help them figures out ways to calm down from the stress and emotional meltdown, as well as help them solve the problem themselves and not always fix it for them.
“YOU NEED TO GET OK WITH YOUR CHILD NOT BEING OK”
THE THREE “R” S
The three R’s are something that was brought up as a method to deal with kids in a certain way when those stressors become to much for them and we have those ever fabulous meltdowns that are a stressor for us parents.
I know they seem like simple tasks but the key is you have to remain calm and level headed while doing these 3 steps. I mean could you calm down enough to listen to reason while the person who is supposed to be calming you down is also Flipping Their Lid (The Video Link is well worth the watch, I promise!)
Help your child to regulate and calm their stress responses, Fight/Flight/Freeze, offer soothing and reassurance.
We all know you cannot reason of even get through to anyone, let alone a child once that massive meltdown has started. They are crying, yelling and just gone primal in a way. They have “Flipped Their Lid”, and if we can keep our calm cool and collected selves, it will help them. Yes, if they are in trouble you don’t want to caudle them, but you also cannot explain to them why you are upset with them while they are in mid-crisis meltdown and you are yelling your feelings. So we need to just find ways to calm them to a point of getting through, talking to them soothingly, giving them a quiet space where they can find a way to self sooth and breath out their issues with you still near in some manner. I know it will take a lot, because as much as I hate to admit it I am a yeller and I have to work very hard to regulate that in order to help my children as best as I can.
Connect with your child through attuned, sensitive relationship. Empathise and validate the child’s feelings so they feel seen, heard and understood.
While no one ever goes through the exact same situations in life, we all go through similar ones. And because most people parent in the same or similar styles that they were raised in (not as a rule) some of the things our kids are going through might be on par with what we went through. Use those experiences to help your child calm and regulate themselves in a way.
“Yes, I know you are upset because I took the beads away. But when Mama was little like you she had one stuck up her nose, and that was really scary for mama.”
Small children, even older children, while in the process of calming down, will feel better about themselves in that situation knowing they aren’t alone, that what they are feeling in that situation is normal. Isn’t that what we are all looking for honestly, to know we aren’t alone. And contrary to the theme of pictures I am not talking aliens in space.
Once your child is calm and connected they are able to fully engage in learning. Help them reflect, remember, articulate and be Self-assured.
Even as adults, we need this kind of assurance, I call it being talked down. Even though we have passed the meltdown part, we still need to discuss what had happened prior and how we should take some deep breaths, talk about different calming methods they can use later on. Like the Smell the Flower, blow out the candle, those deep in breaths through the nose followed by slow breaths out the mouth like you are slowly blowing out the candle. I use an aid with my own son it is a picture of a candle on side and a flower on the other, mounted to a straw or popsicle stick as a visual aid. There are calming bottles you can use, clear school glue, water and a bunch of fine and coarse glitter in a clear water bottle. You shake it up and the kids focus on the glitter while it settles and it will calm the mind. Heck I use it from time to time for me. And if the kids see you as the parent using the same techniques they may be more inclined to use them themselves when they feel discombobulated.
I really hope some of this has helped you in a way, please let me know if you have any other ideas or strategies that work in your house hold.