4 Easy Steps to Calm a Stressed Child

If you work with children who struggle with self-regulation, mind-body strategies that use yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and guided imagery can be especially effective, and often fun, for the child to gain their composure. Use this activity, called The Steps, at home, in the grocery store, or wherever life takes you.

It’s no secret that children need help learning how to self-regulate when they’re feeling distress or are upset, especially children with ADHD, autism or sensory disorders.

If you work with children who struggle with self-regulation, mind-body strategies that use yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and guided imagery can be especially effective, and often fun, for the child to gain their composure. We really love these techniques because they’re easy to teach and the families you work with can use them at home, in the grocery store, or wherever life takes them.

Use this activity, called The Steps, from our new My Calm Place card deck.

  1. Ask the child to put their head on stacked fists.
  2. Visualize walking down 20 steps.
  3. With each step, inhale and exhale.
  4. Rest at the last step and breathe for 10 counts.

Download a FREE copy of The Steps

My Calm Place has over 50 strategies to work through stressful moments and prevent them in the future. These easy practices can be an effective, creative and fun way to find emotional balance whenever kids are extra squirmy, have trouble keeping focus, or need a few minutes to settle their mind.


Barbara Neiman, OTR, is an Integrative Occupational Therapist, Yoga Teacher 200RYT in Embodyoga®, a coach for professionals seeking a holistic practice and a National Seminar Presenter. She founded her company, Health Discovery, to provide services for infants through school age children. As a Certified Practitioner of Body Mind Centering® since 1989, Barbara has taught experiential hands on, movement, and meditation classes. She offers training to schools and businesses on applying yogic interventions to classrooms and corporate settings to reduce stress, improve focus and self-acceptance.

Sheila Lewis writes curriculum for national organizations, has designed over 60 badge programs for Girl Scouts USA, tutors, and runs book clubs for middle grade students, using whole brain strategies. On the faculty of JCC Manhattan since 2005, she teaches meditation classes, creativity and writing workshops. She is the co-author of Stress-proofing Your Child. As the mother of two grown sons, one on the autism spectrum, she has been a parent advocate on various committees.

Video: Emotional Responsiveness with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

When you nurture your child’s emotional world, you help build the connective fibers that make the reactive centers of their brains more readily and easily calmed down. Over time, these repeated emotional responsive interactions change your child’s brain in a way that allows them to have better behavior and better emotional regulation. Learn more from Dr. Tina Payne Bryson…

When nurturing your child’s emotional world, you help build the connective fibers that make the reactive centers of their brain more readily and easily calm down. Over time, these repeated emotional responsive interactions change your child’s brain in a way that allows them to have better behavior and emotional regulation.

Whether positive, negative, or reactive, you must observe when your child is experiencing an emotion and validate it. Learn more from Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, co-author (with Dan Siegel, M.D.) of two New York Times bestsellers: The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline.


Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Center for Connection in Pasadena, CA and a pediatric and adolescent psychotherapist. Dr. Bryson serves as the Child Development Expert at St. Mark’s School in Altadena, CA. Dr. Bryson travels internationally, lecturing to educators, mental health professionals, and parents.

You can learn more about Dr. Bryson at TinaBryson.com, and subscribe to her blog to read her articles about kids and parenting.

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Ha Kriya: A breathwork exercise

The leading voice in the children’s yoga and mindfulness community, Jennifer Cohen Harper, MA, E-RCYT, presents her favorite way to empower the children she works with. This segment will show you how to prepare a child for challenging tasks using our most powerful tool: breath.

The leading voice in the children’s yoga and mindfulness community, Jennifer Cohen Harper, MA, E-RCYT, presents her favorite way to empower the children she works with. This segment will show you how to prepare a child for challenging tasks using our most powerful tool: breath.

Will you use Ha Kriya with your clients? Share your thoughts below.


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How To: Getting Kids to Chip In Around the House

When everyone in the family contributes to the chores, you teach a valuable lesson: The family is a team. Here are some tips and tricks to getting everyone involved with household chores.

We often make the same resolutions every year: drop some weight, save more money, read more. While these are all worthy resolutions, we often abandon them just days into the new year.

What if we instead focus our effort into meaningful goals that benefit the entire household? Goals like getting everyone to help with household chores.

Rewards often don’t work for getting kids to chip in around the house. Let me ask you, do you really blame your kids for not wanting to take out the trash, set the table, sweep the floor or clean up their rooms? Do you want to do it? Does paying them work in the long term? If you’ve tried the reward system, you know that it doesn’t work forever.

Here are 4 tips to get your kids on board with helping out around the house:

1. Explain why doing the chore is necessary.

A chore that is not fun or interesting can become more meaningful if you can show your kids that it is part of the bigger picture. Explain that if each family member does one small chore each day you will have more time for the fun things your family gets to do…such as swimming or watching a movie together. You can draw pictures of each person’s contribution to show how your family operates like a machine with moving parts that helps the house run smoothly.

2. Say out loud… “Yes, I know that this chore is BORING.”

Let your kids know that you understand that cleaning their room isn’t a lot of fun. This isn’t a lecture…it is empathy.

3. Let the kids do their chores their own way. Don’t control them.

You can tell them that you want the table set, but you don’t have to micro-manage where the fork and spoon go. Let them have fun and use their creative minds while doing their chore. All that matters is that it gets completed.

4. And if all else fails, use the Tom Sawyer method.

If you remember the story, Tom is white washing the fence and he is not having fun, but then he gets an idea. He tells his friend that painting the fence is not a grim chore, rather a fantastic privilege. His friend asks to try, but Tom won’t let him, saying it is way too fun. Finally, he gets his friend to give him an apple to try painting. Soon after, more boys arrive and vie for the privilege of painting the fence. So pretend you are so enjoying washing the dishes. When you make it look fun your kids will soon be begging you to help!

When everyone in the family contributes to the chores, you teach a valuable lesson: The family is a team. I hope this positive change can help make your family’s new year a little brighter for everyone.


 

This blog was brought to life by PESI speaker Susan P. Epstein, LCSW. Susan is the author of the best selling books, Over 60 Techniques, Activities & Worksheets for Challenging Children & Adolescents and 55 Creative Approaches for Challenging & Resistant Children & Adolescents. She has also authored Your Out of Control Teen, The Little Book With a Lot of Attitude: A Guide to Effective Parent-Teen Communication (2009), two parenting books Are You Tired of Nagging: How to Get Cooperative Kids (2008) and The Take Back Your Parenting Powers System (2007) & and has co-authored a children’s book about death, loss and healing, The Cat Who Lost Its Meow (2008).

In addition to her clinical work, Susan is a parent coach, certified health coach, national child behavior expert, and has contributed to magazines Family, Parents, American Baby and New York. She founded Parenting Powers, a coaching company that provides parent coaching and supervision and training to professionals working with challenging kids.


 

10 Questions to Ask Your Client About Social Media Use

The cyber age has provided a breeding ground for bullying, and our clients can be bombarded daily with negative comments, images or untruths about themselves. Understanding how your clients use social media can be key to successful sessions.

Bullying has become a major factor among school-age children and has been linked to increased diagnoses of depression, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, eating disorders, body image problems, low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth.

The harmful effects of bullying outlast childhood, and many adults continue to manage the damaging and devastating consequences of this behavior. In particular, female bullying is much different and unique when compared to their male counterparts.

Female Relational Aggression, also known as covert aggression or covert bullying, is a type of aggression in which harm is caused to another by damaging their relationships or social status. It has long-lasting effects on relationships, self-esteem, self-worth, and the ability to navigate healthy relationships with others.

The peak of this type of bullying typically occurs during a sensitive period when intimate and close relationships involving trust, bonding, and self-image are forming.

Relational aggression can involve:

  • Being unexpectedly ousted from a “friend group”
  • Being ignored by a group of friends
  • Not being invited to a party that everyone else is attending
  • Having rumors spread about you
  • Someone posting derogatory images of you online
  • No one liking your pictures on Instagram
  • Having someone post negative or demeaning comments about you on a social media outlet

The cyber age has provided a breeding ground for this type of aggression, and our clients can be bombarded daily with negative comments, images or untruths about themselves.

For example, since being ostracized from her “friend group,” a teenage client has been addicted to Instagram. She stated, “I know it’s not good for me to look at it, but I can’t help it. I can at least see what they are doing, and I can at least know if they are having fun or not. I look to make sure other people don’t “like” their pics on there. I feel like if people don’t like their pictures, it will make me feel better. And that’s all I want; to feel better about what they did to me.”

Another client taught me that her self-worth was associated to her “likes” on her Facebook page. She reported that her moods were contingent on these “likes,” and she would even inquire when a post is not liked to make changes to her image or how she may word a comment.

Because this type of aggression is covert, others may be oblivious that it is happening. Some children may even deny being victimized due to embarrassment, their desire to preserve their friendship with the aggressor, or fear of reprisal.

This is not a “coming of age” or “initiation” into adolescence. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and as clinicians, we have a duty to our clients to educate and promote awareness.

Navigating this issue to help preserve a sense of self-worth, self-love, and self-image is key to providing adequate care to our clients. There are several social media forums which promote this type of relational aggression.

It’s important to understand how your client is using social media. You can explore your clients social media behaviors by using the worksheet: 10 Questions to Ask Your Client About Social Media Use.

It is key to educate ourselves on the existence of social media sites used for bullying, and how to use this technology to assist our clients in healing and moving forward to establish healthier and productive relationships with others.


 

Download: 10 Questions to Ask Your Client About Social Media Use


 

This post was contributed by PESI speaker Meagan Houston, Ph.D., SAP. Meagan specializes in providing suicide treatment in a wide variety of settings and populations. She has experience in high-risk settings where the application of suicide prevention, assessment and intervention occurs daily.

Learn more from Meagan Houston, Ph.D., SAP, in her CE Seminar on DVD:

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