“Kids do good if they can” is the message that Louise Burridge shared with parents and staff at last week’s sessions on how to help kids be calm. Burridge carried on to explain that many children are feeling a lot of stress and that they aren’t choosing to be difficult or emotional- rather that kids are doing the best they can.
Louise, an Occupational Therapist from Regina, has done much work in Saskatchewan schools and explained that stress and anxiety issues are increasing at alarming rates across Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
She provided parents and staff with a list of 12 strategies to combat such issues, stating that sleep and exercise are the 2 most effective strategies to deal with such issues.
Burridge explained that kids learn to self-regulate (calm themself) by being self-regulated. She further explained that many children do not know what calm feels like; joking that by telling a child who is anxious/upset to calm down is not at all effective as they don’t know what that means.
Burridge directed parents to watch their children at home and to take note of times when their child is calm. Once recognizing that calm time (reading a book, playing a game (not video games/device), colouring, etc.) that parents schedule in daily opportunities for this calm activity. Children need to practise being calm, they need to recognize what their breathing sounds like, are their shoulders and hands relaxed, or what do their eyebrows look like. Once children become more familiar with their calm selves they can begin to self-regulate themselves when they start to feel upset.
The evening of October 19 Louise shared her knowledge to a group of 16 Benito School parents. She provided a more in depth version to 36 educators and child care staff at an all day session on Friday, October 20. Louise stressed the importance of consistency and communication between home and school, recommending that once parents determine a child’s calm activity that they share this information with the school team so as that further practise and rehearsal of this calming activity can be allowed for at school.
Shown to the right is the slide on sleep from Louise’s presentation. Sleep deprivation directly affects a person’s ability to handle and cope with daily challenges (big or small). Sleep is one of our Basic Needs. Simply changing bedtime routines, to allow for more sleep, can greatly improve your child’s attitude and their ability to do good when they can! Is your child getting enough sleep? Are you getting enough sleep?