As you know many of you we live in a constantly changing world with uncertainty and stress around most corners. Now imagine being a child with communication and sensory/emotional regulatory challenges trying to navigate this world. The need for resilience, flexibility and adaptability has never been greater. Certain times of year come with additional challenges like changes in daylight, decreased time outdoors because of the cold, increased excitement for the impending holidays and changes in schedules at school and at home, along with trips and parties. This is tough for all children, but especially for children with behavioral, learning, and developmental challenges leading to more frequent disregulation.
This time of year it’s easy for us as adults to get disregulated too and lose focus on some of the most important grounding forces in our lives, and our children’s lives, deep meaningful relationships. Because all of us need meaningful social experiences we want to be particularly aware this time of year, and be extra supportive in understanding of our needs, and our child’s needs. We need to extra vigilant and focus on counter-regulation and nurturing positive experiences. Getting caught up in hustle and bustle of the holidays can disregulate even the most resilient adults, but when we know that this is coming, then we want to be cautious and aware, but we also want to be proactive and anticipatory.
Doing things that will help regulate a child prior to these increased expectations will help diminish some of the potential challenges. Mainly doing more Greenspan Floortime. Spending more time together, especially at home, will help a child understand that we are there to listen to them, help then feel secure and in control, and put them in charge some of the time while also allowing them to become more flexible and relinquish control other times.
If we only increase expectations, for ourselves and our children, and we do not increase support, then we will see an increase in negative maladaptive behaviors; reactions, rigidity, and inflexibility. However, if we can achieve the right balance of support with expectations, then we can see that this time of year doesn't have to be as stressful as it sometimes is. If you're struggling with prioritizing and focusing on what matters most, then please contact us. Ask us for suggestions, and see if we can help in any way. Try to find extra time for yourselves, and your families. We know this is easier said than done, but sometimes reminding ourselves about the “big picture” can help us get out of the trees!
Please listen to Dr. Greenspan's audio clps in the right column for more ideas. You can also go to www.stanleygreenspan.com
for free materials, audio clips and lecetures.