Happy Tuesday, everyone! Our daily focus skill is counting. Counting strategies can be used to slow down the body’s stress response in order to feel calmer when things feel overwhelming or out of control. This strategy is a distraction technique that shifts our negative thoughts to something that is more neutral.
Counting techniques include:
1. Counting forwards and backwards: slowly counting forward and backwards to 10 (or to any number). 2. Pattern counting: counting by 2s, 5s, or 10s or any other preferred pattern. 3. Color Counting: picking a color and looking around the room to find 5 items of that color. 4. Finger tracing and counting: pair counting while tracing one hand with the other hand (ask your child to show you). 5. GoNoodle.com: Let’s Unwind. Go to https://family.gonoodle.com/activities/lets-unwind This is a calming movement activity that includes some counting.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● Try to pair slow breathing with each counting strategy to further increase concentration and to make sure that slow counting is used. Fast counting will end up causing faster breathing and thoughts which will not lead to a calm response. ● Use a technique that will cause some level of concentration (ex. use multiples of 4 if your child is currently working on multiplication, or using counting backwards from 20 if they are working on counting). Choose a strategy that is easy enough to not cause frustration but difficult enough to require some level of focus. Finding this balance will allow the technique to provide a distraction and a shift to neutral thoughts. ● Use color counting while flipping through a picture book or a magazine. Identify a color and try to find objects of that color on each page. ● Use color counting while taking a walk outside. Pick a color and see how many times the color can be spotted during the walk. Pick a different color tomorrow and see if your find more or less. ● When asking your child to wait (while you are making dinner, helping another child, doing your own work, etc.), encourage them to pick a counting strategy while waiting. In school, students often need to wait for the attention from their teacher so this is a skill that will help across settings. Try saying to you child(ren), “what would you do if I was your teacher in school?” when they expect your immediate attention.
While we are all at home in the same environment day after day, our thoughts can definitely become repetitive and negative and we can start to feel stuck. Use these strategies to shift some of those thinking patterns. Hang in there. We will get through this. We hope you all have a great day.
Marissa, Farah & Lilly