Maintaining Relationships

Many of us will be struggling with being out of physical contact with others. Those working from home are having to find new ways of keeping in contact with their colleagues. Those with elderly relatives are having to talk to them through a window or avoid them altogether. As adults, with fully formed brains, this is difficult. If we are finding it hard, then so must many of our children and young people.

It is so important to allow them opportunities to work on the relationships that are important to them. Whether it is that they facetime a grandparent; send a photograph to a friend; or send an email to their teacher. The relationships that our children and young people have built are important to them. Finding a way to stay connected will help ease some of their anxiety.

Social Media
You will know your child/young person and will know what they can cope with. If Social Media is too big a responsibility for their brains to cope with then as adults we give them another way to do it.

Perhaps we add the other child’s parent to our own social media account and we allow them to message one another that way or maybe they have to try to describe the jigsaw puzzle they have made using only 8words.

Giving them something to focus on when using social media can help them to feel trusted and secure.

Agree beforehand how long they will be able to use social media and stick to it. Ensure their friends will be on at the agreed time by contacting their parents.

Stay vigilant. Although your child/young person may be able to use social media, they cannot control how other people use it.

Setting Challenges

Sharing experiences is vitally important for maintaining relationships. Doing similar things – such as the 30day lego challenge- allows for shared experiences. They can set one another a challenge such as building a tower using only red lego bricks – a challenge doesn’t always have to be competitive. The challenge can be texted from one parent/carer to another and photos shown as evidence.

There are lots of ways to help bolster connections.

It is just as important for children and young people to have positive relationships as it is for adults.

Prayers

 

Many of our Denominational Schools are giving activities based around prayers. Here are some visuals for some of the familiar prayers.

More to follow at a later date.

Have you washed??

It can be difficult for some children and young people to focus on hygiene and what it means. Sometimes they are too excited to start the day, or continue to play that they rush their washing in the shower or bath. Sometimes they are too stressed that their brain cannot break down each step that is needed to ensure they have washed themselves. Sometimes we use songs when they are young to help them. As babies, we often sing to them in the bath as we explain washing. If you think of the nursery song “round the mulberry bush” we sing “this is the way we wash our…”. We sing and we model or show young children how to do it.

As they get older, we stop. But sometimes they still need a bit of help. Using a visual works both as a prompt and as a way of building independence. They can get washed thoroughly in private while still having a reminder to help them how to do it.

Below we have three options. For many reasons, so people may wish to use the phrase ‘whole body’ whereas others will require more specific. You can choose. You can use it as is, or you can print and cut then re-order the steps into an order that would better suit your child/young person. This can also be used for older people who are having issues with memory. As with many of our Independence Promoting Visuals, these can be used at any stage of life.

 

This week I am looking forward to…

More and more of our children and young people are starting to settle into this new normality. At home, you may start to see dips in their moods and in behaviour. This is because they are trying to cope. The novelty of “home schooling” is starting to wear off and they will be missing their normal lives. They need something to look forward to each day. It could be something big or something small.

You could write, draw or stick a symbol to show one thing each day that is exciting!

Below we have some activities to give you some ideas. This is about using items that are already around the house. It is about doing things that don’t involve spending money.

 

Choose a wall in your house and stick up pictures that you and your family make. You can add a piece of paper below with a title and artist’s name to give it more of a professional feel. Remember this is about your family, not perfection! Put up those pictures of a yellow circle that your three year old has told you is a picture of a dolphin!

 

Use ingredients around your house to bake something. This is about taking the time as a family to make memories. How it tastes, is not as important as taking the time to laugh together as you try to pick out the eggshells!!

 

 

Run a bubble bath (use liquid soap if you don’t have bubble bath). Take the time to relax and soak in the bubbles. If you don’t have a bath, use a basin with warm water and bubbles and turn it into a foot bath!

 

 

Using towels, how many different clothing items can you make? Try putting it on over your clothes. Have someone in your family be the model!

 

 

 

Read a book as a family. Or create your own. One person says one sentence and the next person adds a sentence and so on. You can write it down or just tell it orally.

 

 

 

Use some clothes from your wardrobe or drawers. Everyone gets to take a turn of being the catwalk model and of being in the audience.

 

 

 

Lots of people are building models with Lego. Why not display them in front of a (closed) window? Just like the art wall, you could add a small card to show the creator and title of each model. If you don’t have lego, you could use duplo or other toys.

 

 

Have some fun with make up. Let your children/young people give you a make over. Or maybe you give them a make over!

 

 

 

The weather is changing, The rain has started. Why not explore some mud fun! Make a mud slide using a black bag/sledge to sit on and a small hill. Create a mud kitchen in the garden, use spoons and pots! If you don’t have a garden bring some dirt inside and put it in a basin or tub. Add some water to make mud. Can you make mud cakes?

Use a camera (or phone or tablet), take pictures around the house.  Take some photos of family as they go about their daily lives or have family poses. Pretend you are taking photos for a home and gardens magazine. Take the photos from different angles. Can you make the rooms look bigger or smaller? Have fun!

 

 

Pick some flowers on a walk. Or use paper to make your own flowers. Draw flowers and put them along the bottom of a window to create an indoor garden.

 

 

Perhaps you can use empty cereal boxes and elastic bands to make hungry animals snapping for food. Perhaps you can you an empty box and 6 yoghurt pots at the edges and corners to create a pool table. Perhaps you can use an empty juice bottle and throw elastic bands over it to make a game?

 

 

Have a bubble bath. Put cucumber on your eyes. Do face and head massages. Turn the light down or close the curtains. Play relaxing music in the background. (try some from youtube). Have everyone focus on their breathing. Relax.

 

 

Choose a TV show your family watch and recreate it. Maybe it will be someone in the jungle speaking to the jungle diary videocam. Maybe you will be recreating food invention tests and eliminations. Perhaps you will be in teams answering questions from a ‘host’. Maybe you are in a reality TV show where you are explaining your actions to a ‘camera’. Maybe you are on a talent show with judges?

 

Split into teams. One person writes down a tv show/song/animal etc on a sheet of paper and folds it up. They will begin to draw on another sheet but they are not allowed to speak. Can their team guess what they are drawing before time runs out??

 

 

 

These are just some ideas. Feel free to adapt to suit your family.

 

 

Calming Anxiety Challenges

At the time of writing, we have just started the lockdown due to COVID-19. This is something that is unprecedented and something we couldn’t properly prepare children and young people for. As mentioned in previous posts, it’s important to talk about feelings and experience the feelings.

It is also important to have some fun and keep things light. Everyone will deal with this in their own way. But it is so important that we do ‘deal’ and help children and young people to cope and deal with this. Doing something that is not part of your normal routine is good. It teaches children and young people that sometimes when your routine has to change (like just now) it isn’t always a bad thing.

Change isn’t a bad thing. It is just new.

Keeping Busy and Fit

Keeping busy is helpful for children and young people, but there needs to be a purpose for it. Sending someone for a long stand or a left handed ruler is not purposeful so is a waste of time for everyone. Children and young people are not stupid. Let them know why they are doing something. “Because I said so” doesn’t explain they ‘why’. When children and young people are experiencing anxiety, stress, uncertainty- just like adults- they need to know the purpose of doing something.

This resource can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a couple of examples.

1.Print it out and cut it up. Put the chores into a box, bag or hat and the child/young person has to pick out the chore they have to do for the day/week.

2.Save the picture to your phone/tablet and allow them to choose the chore they want to do. You can edit the picture to score out ones that are unsuitable.

Exercising

It can be hard sometimes to come up with exercises that can be done at home. Below is an example of exercises that can be completed. Use the timer to show how long for or the numbers to show how many.

Learning Activities Literacy

Choice is important when children or young people are feeling stressed or anxious. When someone experiences stress or anxiety, there is a feeling of being out of control. Having control over anything regardless of how small it may be, eases some of that anxiety and allows the person opportunities forfeeling calmer.

Below are resources that can be used at various stages.

Literacy Choice Board

Instructions

Below are instructions that could be used linked to the choice board above. Some children and young people will need a clear definition to ease the anxieties of “doing something the wrong way”. Others will want to use their own interpretation of the choice board activities.

Following a timetable

Structure and routine are hugely important during times of stress or uncertainty. Using a visual timetable can help. For those who have children at home just now, how many of you are being asked

” When’s lunch? ” “When’s dinner?” ” What are we doing?” ” What’s happening today?” ” When will we get there?”

These questions are all based around a lack of knowledge and control over their lives. In order to continue to feel secure, having a timetable can help. As adults, we use calendars to remind us of upcoming events.

Learning Activities at Home

Working from Home

Below is an example that could be used to explain short bursts of activity. Sometimes children and young people require a time. Sometimes they just need to know that something is going to happen.

Self Care

Looking after ourselves is paramount to keeping a healthy body and a healthy brain. In times of stress, this can be hard to do. This is the same for children and young people. We use visuals to help by taking away the strain of having to remember. This frees up a bit of brain space, allowing for less stress while still maintaining independence.

Getting Dressed

Brushing Teeth

Washing Hands

Washing Face

Washing Hair

On my Period

  

Emotions-worried

Emotions can be difficult to support as sometimes the person does not always know what they are feeling. We use visuals to help with this.Instead of asking, “How are you feeling?”, try asking ” Can you show me how you are feeling?”

This can be edited to have more or less feelings as required. It is important to give the child, young person or adult a name for what they are feeling as that gives a sense of control and power over the emotion.  Talking about the emotion is helpful as it gives acknowledges that this is real and it is okay.

Using distractions can help to work through the emotion.

Welcome to the world of Communication Friendly!

Our priority at the moment is having a central place for all of our resources to make them easier to find. We are focusing this month on supporting learning at home, with a focus on calming anxiety. 

Please feel free to leave us a comment to let us know what you think or if you have a specific request that you are looking for,

 

Take care!