House Calls Herald 03 – Summer 2009, Vol. 2
Helping Kids Transition into Summer Break
A well-planned summer is a happy summer
Think summer is a time for freedoms and play time? Most children struggle to adjust to the lack of schedule that usually accompanies the beginning of the summer break, and have an even harder time re-adjusting to a school schedule in the Fall. This is especially true for kids with attachment issues, who may be more likely to show signs of dysregulation with less structure. As a parent, what can you do to ease the transition? Keep a schedule in the summer! It does not have to be as rigid as the schedule you keep during the school year. A general outline that includes major parts of the day will ease children’s anxiety about their day. A basic schedule could include: a morning routine, schoolwork practice, chores, and a bedtime routine. Planning special activities on a regular basis- such as trips to a local pool, the zoo, or the forest preserves- is another way to bring in some structure, as well as allow for shared fun. These activities should be announced in advance (i.e., the night before) so that children can be prepared emotionally and psychologically. Keeping consistency within a summer schedule allows kids to feel safe and prepared, and will reduce their anxiety throughout the day. We all know it is impossible to stick perfectly to a schedule, but when children have a general idea of what to expect, they will feel more free to enjoy their time with you!
Wendy Kovacs, LMFT
Humor and Healing
Laughing about the darkness can bring us a little closer to the light.
When we laugh, we feel better and become saner. Looking around the web I found several sources that talk about the healing power of laughter like this: “Research has shown health benefits … ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain.”
In my own work as a psychotherapist focusing primarily on children and youth who have significant attachment-related problems, I’ve learned that humor, or playfulness, is a key component for treating these kinds of problems.
What is your attachment style?
Find out in 5 minutes!
This interactive survey is designed to measure your ‘attachment style’ – the way you relate to others in the context of intimate relationships.
When completed, the site will reveal your attachment style, and provide a brief summary of what is known about your attachment style on the basis of contemporary scientific research.
Therapeutic Attachment Parenting
When the going gets tough, keep on loving.
Homework doesn’t matter, housework doesn’t matter, school doesn’t matter, chores don’t matter, extended family, neighbors, your social life, standing in the community. If you have an object that for some stupid reason you really cherish, then store it in a not-too-close friend’s basement for ten years, okay? The kid is IT. All that other stuff can be fixed later and along the way. It doesn’t mean that you can’t make forays in the “real world” and try to make some gains at the sort of stuff other parents do, but it is hard to be so very aware that what really matters is your kid and how they are feeling.
What you’re doing neurologically is helping your child to fire up portions of their brain that never developed because they have lived their whole life in crisis up until this point. If they didn’t have YOU, they would spend the rest of their short lives in crisis. Don’t ever think for a second that someone else could handle your kid better. It is YOU. If there is no YOU in the room right next door, there is no one at all.
“I Love You Through and Through”
By Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak
For infants through pre-school children.
This book is an especially good fit for children with attachment issues who can often offer challenging behaviors for their parents to manage. The primary message in this book is one of unconditional love. “I love your happy side, your sad side, your silly side, your mad side.” It lets your little one know that you love and accept every part of him or her. There are also opportunities to cuddle and show affection with your child while reading this book. “I love your fingers and toes, your ears and nose.” As I read this part to my 2 year old son, I kiss each of these body parts. He giggles with delight. In addition to the wonderful message this book sends, the illustrations are beautiful and can hold even the youngest child or infant’s attention. I have recommended this book to my friends and family as well as to my clients.
Reviewed by Cassandra Firkins, LCSW