Dear Parents and Guardians,
We hope you are all doing as well as expected given the current circumstances. During this time away, we will be sending a daily email with a suggested social, emotional, behavioral practice activity. As a reminder, all skills are intended for everyone (kids and adults) and they are strategies that can be used anytime and anywhere. Have fun with each skill and try to find opportunities together to practice the skill throughout the day. Below you will find the calendar of focus skills to practice at home.
The first focus skill is using a 5-point scale to gain an awareness of our current level of stress. Lately, there have been so many unexpected changes and we have all had to make adjustments to our lives very quickly. When this happens, we often don’t stop to truly recognize how we are feeling. When we don’t take this time to notice how we are feeling both emotionally and physically, we are less likely to give our body what it needs. The 5-point scale gives children a way to communicate their current level of functioning. Prior to identifying the number that represents the current level of stress, lead you child through a body scan with the language below.
Let’s take a moment to pay attention to our bodies.
1. Start with your head. Place your hands on your head. Notice your thoughts. Are your thoughts calm and relaxed or are they fast and swirling?
2. Place your hands on your heart. Is it beating fast or slow?
3. Place your hands on your stomach. Is your breathing fast or slow? Is it shallow (short breaths) or deep (long breaths)?
4. Put your hands in your lap. Check in with your body. Are your muscles tight and tense or calm and relaxed?
5. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Try a slow deep breath and see if you can get the hand on your stomach to move in and out. Try it one more time.
6. Think to yourself I am OK.
There are no right or wrong answers to the questions in the body scan and our answers and feelings will change throughout the day. The answers just give us information about how we feel in the moment. Now, that you have some answers, take time to identify what number best represents your current level of stress (or any feeling).
Tips for using the scale:
● Check in with your child throughout the day to see what number they are at on the scale. Notice for yourself too. Your child may be at a 5 on the inside but not be showing it on the outside.
● It is OK to be a 1 or a 5 as long as we are being safe. The number and our feelings will change throughout the day. When we know what number we are at, we will be better able to take care of ourselves.
● Any feeling can be related to any number on the scale. For example, a 5 could indicate feeling mad, silly, or excited. The number 5 represents the intensity of the feeling.
● Identify strategies that can be used at home when feeling high on the scale. Does your child need a hug or time alone? Do they need a break and a calming activity? Brainstorm strategies that may be helpful at each number on the scale.
As parents, we are up and down throughout the day on our 5-point scales so please take time for self-care for yourself. Throughout this time at home, our daily emails are intended to provide you with skills that you can use at each of the stages on the scale. Many are preventative strategies to use when feeling at a 1 or 2 but many others will include coping skills to support your child (and us adults) when we are feeling at a more heightened state.
Please feel free to reach out to us throughout this time away from school. We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy!
Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH