• Plan Ahead to Feel Upset

    Posted by Rita Trbic on 3/30/2020
    Tip #3: Plan Ahead to Feel Upset
    In our regular lives there are things that happen daily that trigger our moods to change. At school we let students know that it is okay to feel any way, but their reaction still needs to be thoughtful. Now our emotions are even more heightened than usual. Instead of reacting to upset feelings when they happen, you can take a proactive approach.
    When everyone is calm, make a plan that your family can follow. Below are some interview questions you can ask your child to help you start your plan. When you interview your child, just be a listener. Don't try to solve the problem, disagree or downplay what they are saying. Just say okay, or repeat back what they are saying so they know you are listening. I like to write it down. This will make them feel heard, which is a great jumping off point for them accepting your input later. Also, if you are going to make a plan, memorize it and stick to it! Keeping your promises to your child will make it more likely that they will stick to the ones they have made. 
    What are the things that make you feel upset? 
    (This question is meant to reveal potential triggers so that you might be able to help your child anticipate in the future)
    When you start to get upset, what does it feel like in your body?
    (If they find it difficult to answer this question, prompt them with "for example, does your face feel hot?")
    When you are upset and another person tries to help you, what makes it better? What makes things worse?
    (Make a note of your child's answer here. You and other household members can commit to helping behaviors as a part of the plan.)
    I know that you have learned a lot of strategies about how to calm down. Which 3 strategies work best for you?
    (If they have difficulty producing an answer here you could prompt them with "for example, do you use a tool, go to the calm-down area, breathe?)
    Where is a place you could go when you are upset to think about what you want to do next?
    What are words you could use with me and other people in our house to tell them you need space that are still kind?
    If you handle being upset by using a strategy or a tool instead of creating a problem, what would be a great way for me to celebrate with you? 
    (I suggest using time together here as a celebration, not material things or treats but having said that; pick something powerful for your child. The "celebration" has to feel better than not using restraint when upset.)
    Is there anything else you want to tell me?
    Once you get answers to these questions it becomes pretty easy to formulate a plan. Let your child help guide you through what they are going to do and what the people around them are going to do if they become upset. At school when I am making a plan with a  student I get as specific as agreeing on what each individual will say or not say, but you have to do what feels organic for home. Post it somewhere when you are finished. Maybe on the fridge or their bedroom wall. Make sure everyone who is involved knows the plan and they are ready to follow it. 
    Remember, you are asking your child what they think and what they need, but you are ultimately creating the limits here. If they say one of the things that makes them feel upset is homework, that doesn't mean you eliminate it. It means you talk about how they can get it done without becoming upset. A good plan doesn't necessarily change expectations; it creates better avenues for getting to the end goal. If they say they get mad when they have to do chores, you don't take away that expectation. You let them know chores are going to get done, but you are willing to hear their suggestions on how doing them might be better. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the creative problem-solving that can take place. This takes practice, so if you need some help or guidance around what to do after you have completed your interview feel free to reach out! 
    Nicole Richard
    Behavior Intervention Specialist
    Jackson Elementary
    Comments (-1)
  • Make Art!

    Posted by Rita Trbic on 3/24/2020
    Hello Everyone,
    At Jackson we speak to our students a lot about strategies they can use when they are feeling overwhelmed to help bring themselves back to a calm state. One of the strategies that helps with  creating wait time, shifting focus, calming down, creating positive thoughts and much more is art. For many students drawing, doodling or coloring is perfect. However, today I am going to share two resources I love that are more guided that you can access for free at home. 
    Check out the Art for Kids Hub. If you see the emblem above you are on the right track. I love a lot of things about this channel. They always have a young artist doing the drawings so they are modeling that it doesn't look exactly like the grown-up version, and they talk about mistakes and have fun with them constantly. They also draw things that are motivating for kids like popular characters. These activities are fun for adults and kids alike which makes it a really great family activity. It is also something kids can do on their own.