Tips & Tools for Kids with Trauma

FIRST: Before ANY interaction/intervention, ask the 4 questions:
1.     Where am I? (What emotions are you feeling, what thoughts are you having? What expectations are you putting out?)
2.     Where is he/she? (Are they escalated? Shut down? Regulated?)
3.     How’s the environment affecting the situation? (Safety? Stimulation? Audience?)
4.     How can I help the child regulate? (stabilize the situation)   

PRE-CRISIS TOOLS
-Agree to rules/expectations (collaborative effort)
-Be CLEAR about consequences (matching behavior)
-Be aware of YOURSELF (strengths/weaknesses) in interactions
-Increasing awareness) (tools: chart: “what do I see you doing, what do you feel inside”, body drawing, feeling ID, body scanning (sensations), what does my breath feel like; Emotional IQ; look up websites on emotional intelligence for some great tools/ insight- practice emotional vocabulary daily!)  
-Relaxation/Grounding techniques such as mindfulness (5 things I see, 4 things I feel, 3 things I hear, 2 things I smell, 1 thing I taste), belly breathing, (drumming, walking), being in the moment.
-Regulating activities: (Create a “Comfort Box”) (See link for ideas on the right side of this page)

CRISIS TOOLS
-Awareness of YOURSELF (What am I feeling? Not just emotions, but sensations, body awareness)
-Structuring the environment (removing audience/ stimulation, give space)
-Tone of voice (using a lower voice in response to yelling, or just provide silent support!)
-TIME (allowing processing and decompressing, avoiding wanting ‘immediate’ resolution)
-“Thinking” questions vs. “Feeling” questions (decreasing escalated emotional state such as “When did that happen/ start? Where were you? Etc.)
-Use “I” statements to model (I’m upset, I need a few minutes; I can feel my heart rate going up, I need to take a minute to gather myself)
-Regulate (Calming vs. stimulating activities)
-Closing ritual (verbal “are we ready?”, “are we good?”, fist bump, hug, high five, etc.)

HIGHER LEARNING TOOLS
-Acknowledge efforts; take opportunity to learn (Who owns the problem? Did you address it the best way? Could you do something different? Best option?)
-My “stuff” vs his “stuff” (getting out of ‘victim’ state)
-Increased Awareness (“what do I see, what do you feel”) chart, drawing, feeling identification
-Decision making without judgement (increase awareness of choice)-5 options from TFCBT in responding to problems: Solve the problem, accept the problem, change the way you think about the problem, stay miserable, or make it worse.  You can use dice to practice talking about each option, with the 6 being “choose your own option”
-Relaxation/Grounding techniques- yoga, meditation, daily scheduled activities to improve self-awareness and self-control.
-Present NEW evidence! (“I am really impressed with how you handled...”)

-Opportunity to REPAIR (making things right)

You can find additional useful links at the top right on this blog.

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