Productive Play for the Preoccupied Child Strategies for ...
Productive Play for the Preoccupied Child Part II Strategies for helping young children work through anxiety Erin Troup LPC, NCC, C.T. The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers 4th Annual Pennsylvania Infant Mental Health Conference Pittsburgh, PA October 18 & 19, 2012 Preoccupied Children
preoccupied - adj 1: previously applied to another group and unavailable for use in a new sense used of a biological generic or specific name 2 a : lost in thought; also : absorbed in some preoccupation b : already occupied What Good things cause our children to be preoccupied?
BadPreoccupations Common Fears in Infants and Toddlers - Intense Stimuli from all senses - Falling - Unfamiliar people, objects/ animals
- Fury of nature (storms, earthquakes, fires, floods) -Darkness - Imaginary Creatures (Monsters, ghosts) - parental disapproval -separation from Caregiver ** (Persistent over time as the child ages) - A tense emotional climate creates apprehension in babies
Trauma & Stress Traumatized Children will often at base line be in a state of low level fear - Much higher heart rate - Hyperarousal and dissociation responses Stress in a household can also cause similar
symptoms Also: Worry Difficulty concentrating or settling down Sleep disturbances Brain Changes with Trauma -Bruce Perry brain scans What happens with an Immaturebrain Deficient
development on the left side of the brain affecting memory and a possible lead to depression Difficulty integrating the functioning of left and right side brain functions Brain becomes wired to experience fear, anxiety and stress The Immature Brain These
brain changes can cause: Clumsiness Speech delays and other developmental delays Difficulty concentrating and retaining information Smaller physical size Hyperactivity Impulsiveness Difficulty integrating sensory experiences
The Three Rs Re-set Repetition/ Routine Reassurance Things to Keep in Mind with Interventions and Interactions Do not dismiss feelings Pay attention to cues- particularly around sensory experiences.
Avoid overscheduling Limit the use of extra caregivers A calm environment is key Avoid the use of No Watch your tone and expressions Provide a sense of agency and power and allow kids to make some decisions about what will go away, what will stay. Re-Set With
Infants: Rocking all different ways (cradled, swinging feet, belly to belly) Row your boat (moving arms and legs, first one at a time, then together) Stroking the infants face and body (downward to calm, upward to wake up) Humming (dull sound) Soft toys with your scent/ sound **Remember** Pay
attention to cues- feeling a change in the infants body, eye gaze etc. Can let you know when baby is re-set or needs a little more time with you. Re-Set Toddlers and Older
Children Spaghetti technique Pretzel Crazy 8s Twinkle Jars Be sure you glue lids on! Plastic Vs. Glass **Remember** Let
toddlers set the pace for their re- set. Allow them to tell you that they feel better or need more time with their re-set tasks. Allow them to also control pressure and name what they need. Big Squeeze, Little Squeeze
Whole Body Listening Helping Children to get in tune with their bodies Helps them to be more attune to spatial awareness Creates focus Involves all senses. Guided
Imagery as a way to Settle and be aware of our bodies. www.biodots.net Wonderful for children AND their Parents! Use Of Fidgets Fidgets may be a good option
when a child needs to be in a space that requires them concentrate or sit for a longer period of time (Doctors office, Court, Car ride etc) A word of Caution for Fidgets Avoid Fidgets that require too much thought, pull imaginary
play, noisy objects, objects that suggest aggression or gore, balls, silly putty, playdoh (Dirty easily, does not travel well). Fidget Ideas pipe Cleaners bendable figures magnet toys rubber snakes therabands squeeze toys (not ball shaped)
magnifying glasses twist coils rubber creatures with spikes textured or smooth rocks crinkly or texture toys for infants. Repetition/ Routine Talking about your day Prepare for changes (sometimes even little ones like who will pick you up
from preschool) Picture schedules Sometimes food will even encompass a routine (same thing for the same meal for days! Same movies, same songs, same books, same games)- let the child decide when they are ready to change. Repetition/ Routine Activities and Techniques Songs
about your day (We get in the car, we get in the car hi hothe derry-o we get in the car. We pass the yellow house/ we turn at the light/ we get to the school/ we walk in the door etc Social stories- printed up with pictures of the child at various points of their day. Reassurance Setting
the routine helps with reassurance already because the world is now predictable. Builds confidence in ones self and others in their life. Holding On- Its about Control Children who have had to lose a lot or are anxious tend to hold on to things- we see them as insignificant and odd but they are important. Help these children to design a container for these
things. Encourage talking about why they want that item and what they like about it. Discuss past objects and see if it is something that is still important or can we re-purpose it? (A pencil- could we take that to work or use it at school) A napkin- could we use this at dinner. A broken crayon- do we add it back to the crayon box or color it out color a piece of paper until no more crayon is left.
Reassurance Recordable cards, books etc- a reassuring message at hand when they need a soothing and familiar voice. www.soundexpressiongreetings.com Children who are preoccupied are often full of worrygive them a space and a way to combat the worry: The worry can (decorate a can or container like a
secure place- talk about the worries and put them inside- help the child seal the can- they determine when it is sealed. (takes the worry out of them and places it somewhere else) If something comes back up- do they want to take their worry out and look at it closer to see if it is something they worry about). Reassurance Worry fidget- textured rock with reassuring words painted on it or
something the child wants that they can keep in their pocket or hold when they are worried or scared. - (This can also be used to trigger a good memory when intrusive ones sneak in) Building Trust After Trauma In Caregivers - Open and accepting
communication, modeling self care and safety, planning for Childs care In Oneself -Naming and claiming feelings, listening to the body In the world -learning about risks and safety, creating sanctuary, exploring lifes properties and the world Resources and references National
Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2005). Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain: Working Paper #3. h ttp://www.developingchild.net Bruce D. Perry (2004). Maltreated Children: Experience, Brain Development, and the Next Generation. New York: W.W. Norton. Bruce D. Perrys Website www.childtrauma.org or www.childtraumaacademy.com (free online courses!) Lowenstein, L. (1999). Creative interventions for Troubled Children and Youth. Toronto, ON: Champion Press. Molaison, V. (2007) Reconstructing a Sense of Safety for
Bereaved Children and Teens. Presented at Annual Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference. Goldman, L (2005) Raising our Children to be Resilient: A Guide to helping Children Cope with Trauma in Todays World. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge. Thank You! Erin Troup LPC, NCC, CT Mental Health Specialist The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers 2801 Custer Ave.
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