Strategies for Coping
If you are feeling stress, stress is a normal, healthy biological response to perceived threats and challenges. It’s a response that gets us ready to act — to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
But too much stress can stress our amygdala (brain) and our ability to reason through a situation; it can put us in fight, flight or freeze mode even if that’s not a helpful reaction. And as much as possible, we want to be responsive instead of reactive.
Right now all of us are going through understandable tears, possible fears and varied disappointment. Thankfully, at Belmont our children have been taught good tools for calming uncomfortable emotions and situations. These same tools can be used in this or any other situation. The strategies we use to help children navigate their big feelings are the exact same tools they have learned in their counselor lessons.
This is something parents and children can work on, together.
As a school, we have working on using our breath. I state to them - "Our mind controls our bodies and our breath controls our minds"
Here are some other suggestions from PBS for children.
When we are anxious or upset, our heart rate increases and our breath becomes more shallow. When we take deep breaths, we send a message back to the brain: It’s okay to calm down.
Deep breathing resets the central nervous system and helps us respond with a clearer head. Think about a kid throwing a tantrum in a store. They don’t respond too well to cool logic! But once their glitter settles — and it will — we can help them think through a situation. Deep breathing can calm the storm a little faster. (This will link to other resources).
Our students are familiar with Belly Breathing, "When life is no fun, we begin with our thumb, and using other strategies to use their breath.
With your child, try pretending your fingers are birthday candles and blow them out one by one. Or maybe your child will respond to a “breathing buddy:” Lay on your back, put a favorite stuffed animal on your tummy, and watch that animal slowly move up and down as you inhale and exhale. Do this together — it’s playful and helpful for the whole family.
The link for our Second Step Calm Down Dance. I hope you open it and have your child show you the dance.