Does your child ever get mad?
Do they seem afraid of something for no good reason to you? Do they throw tantrums, or negotiate with you until you give in? Some children do not have the vocabulary or understanding of how to express their feelings appropriately. As a parent or caregiver, know how you are feeling first. Behavior is a form of communication, so be in tune to the signs, like a detective, and learn to help them understand their emotions and prevent negative behaviors before they strike.
- Food changes everything! Current research indicates that every cell in our bodies serves in our overall emotional regulation, and that the brain acts as a central organizer of this information. Our brains communicate directly with all of our muscles, internal organs, skin, bones, blood and lymph fluid. Because nutrition affects every cell in our body – it affects our brain. Our brain uses energy to manage all of this organization.
- A child may have a poor self-awareness of emotions. Help them learn what emotions look and feel like. Make facial expressions and describe them. Share experiences of when you felt sad or excited, etc. (watching a game is exciting) (taking a bath is calming) (movies can be scary)
- Allow them to identify when they feel a certain way. Let them say how they feel or ask them, “are you excited, scared, nervous, sad, tired, happy, cranky, shy, sleepy, sick”?. It is more important for them to identify how they feel than you telling them what you perceive. They need to recognize how they feel more than what others think. Practice playing with emotional words at different times of the day.
- Explain the fight for flight response. Help them understand it is an innate and automatic physical reaction that is activated in response to what they perceive as a threat or danger. We either want to run and hide and avoid a situation or fight to survive. They need to understand what a “real” threat is and that it is not happing “here and now”. This is important to control initiation of an over reaction. This distorted perception leads to over-reaction and escalation of negative behaviors.
- Anger and negative emotions are secondary to: hurt feelings, frustration, and/or feeling unsafe. So ask them how they feel and pay attention to what happened prior to their reaction. If they are feeling hurt, frustrated or unsafe, most likely it will cause a behavioral reaction. Talk about it.
- Try role playing, nicely. It can be a lot of fun, which leads to a great learning experience for everyone.
- Give your child an opportunity to collaborate. Allow them to come up with ideas with you on what to do to help them feel better. This is a powerful force. Give them a choice of two things you need them to do and let them decide which one they will do. When it is there idea, they are more likely to conform.
- Validate feelings. Always let them know it is ok how they feel and you’ll work through it together.
- Make a chart of feelings and behaviors. I use a variety of tools including activities to Integrate the Brain, the Alert Program and the Stop, Think, Choose method. See me for details.
- Do they seem sad or depressed? These feelings can suggest anger turned inside. Feelings of overwhelm can often lead a child to a shut-down mode and avoidance.
- Be safe. Some behaviors are just not acceptable, like kicking, hitting, spitting or using bad words.
- Consistency is Key. Say what you mean and mean what you say, so there is no confusion. Consistent action over time makes the biggest change.
Healthy Family Fun, by Celeste McAteer, CHHC & COTA
Looking for something yummy, cooling and fun to do?
I’d like to share this wonderful recipe and activitiy I discovered years ago. You can make it as the original recipe states or try my twist on an old treat. Easy and entertaining.
Years ago while on vacation with my family, I came across a recipe for Rock 'n Roll Ice Cream. It looked delicious and fun to do. I copied the recipe to take home with me and decided to make it someday. We made it together as a family and loved it. We decided to make it again during a family party too. However, the second time around we had a little mishap. So I have the directions for the original recipe, some tips to avoid problems and alternatives for the health conscious person.
You’ll need: Friends, family, and about 20 minutes.
1 large coffee can (2lb 7oz)
1 small coffee can (1lb)
1 pint half & half (or organic half & half)
½ cup sugar (1/2 cup agave or ½ cup honey)
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup rock salt
6-7 cups crushed ice
Make sure the cans are clean
In the small can, mix the half & half, sugar and vanilla. Cover tightly and for security place a few strong rubberbands around the lid and bottom of the can to avoid the lid from opening
Place the small can inside the big can. Add the crushed ice around and on top of the small can. Sprinkle the rock salt onto the ice. Secure the lid on the big can.
Here’s the fun part! Roll the can back and forth for 15 min or so. Be creative, do it outside on the driveway, on a large table (be careful not to drop it), or on the lawn! This is a great partner pass game and everyone can take turns. Do it to music, count the # of rolls, guess how long it will take and have fun with it.
Check to see how firm it is. Take the small can out to avoid getting the salt inside. Scape the sides of the can, stir the cream. If it needs to be firmer, put everthing back together and roll some more.
You can add your favorite flavors inside the cream before you roll or add themas toppings. What’s your pleasures? Cherries and almonds, peanuts and raisins, pistachio, chocolate chips, mint, dates and cashews, rasberries, peaches, etc. The list is endless when you use your imagination. Enjoy!