Monday, December 6, 2010

Out of Sync Child Has Fun

"Your supervision, compassion, and playfulness are essential in all activities.  Always allow your child to do the activities in his or her own way--as long as that way is safe.  Given the opportunity, children will usually teach you what they need.  Ability, not birth date, determines a child's developmental age level.  In most ways, a child is as old as he or she acts."  Carol Kranowitz, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun

Many of the classes I teach for little ones from yoga to very messy play are actually thanks to work of people like Carol Kranowitz who wrote: The Out of Sync Child, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, and How to Grow an In Sync Child.

Her work has completely demystified sensory issues, in fact, SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder, has been called "the new ADHD."  People who know better may not think it is so "new" rather an historical misdiagnosis.

Children with special needs have taught many of us about how the developing brain works.  All of us are occasionally out of sync, and many things that become atypical needs at a certain age--i.e. spinning--are a part of the typical development at another.  It has become my interest to fuse the amazing works of all great educarers from Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the first Waldorf School, Occupational Therapists, and Brain Gym.

As a new feature for this blog, for those of you who I have not had the good fortune of meeting in a class and those I have, is that I would like to share some of my resources, give you some great info and links to purchase these books for your own library.

Please read Carol's "Seven Drops" below, great for your "back pocket."

From, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun:

When your child is having a bad day, consider these "Seven Drops"

When your child is explosive, demanding, and loud and needs immediate emotional first-aid, lower the volume of your voice.  When you whisper, people will listen.

Research about stress and early brain development show that children relax when caregivers are physically on their level.  Megan R. Gunmnar, PhD. at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, shows that children's cortisol level goes down when caregivers are responsive and close.  (Too much cortisol makes us anxious, aggressive and unable to calm.)  Grown-ups standing over a child arms akimbo, or sitting in a chair, reading, can potentially raise the child's stress.  Grown-ups on the floor can reduce the child's stress.

Another proponent of being on the floor with a child is child psychiatrist Stanley J. Greenspan, M.D.  FloorTime, based on his work, is a systematic technique that fosters children's healthy emotional development through intensive, one-on-one interactions with adults who are literally on the child's level.

Drop your body, and you will see your child relax and relate.

Certainly, you cherish your precious few moments to watch television, read the newspaper, or concentrate on a task without interruption.  Still, when your child approaches you in an undemanding way and makes an observation or asks a question, seize the moment.  This is your chance to relate in a positive and meaningful way.  You will never have another opportunity just like it again.

Let your child take risks.  Risks, that is, that are SAFE.  Taking calculated risks is how we learn new skills.  Every now and then, let your child fall down on a padded surface.  You cannot protect him forever from the ups and downs o life.  He most certainly will stumble, and he must learn all by himself, in his own way, how to cope and recover.

So your mother-in-law says you're too lenient, the teacher says your child must learn how to get along, and the next-door neighbor shakes her head when you're dealing with your child's meltdown in the front yard.  People like order, your child is disorderly.

What should you do about the blaming, misunderstanding, and head shaking?  Don't ignore it; meet it.

Batteries are required to turn on a flashlight, but to turn on a child they can't hold a candle to hands-on experiences.  Battery-operated toys, which often serve as electronic babysitters, can dim a child's appetite to gain new physical and mental skills.  Active bodies and brain cells are a child's primary energy source.  Give "kid power" a chance.

We are all born to be pleasure-seekers.  We gotta have fun--or else we rust.  Good sensations are neither an "extra" nor a reward; they are a necessity.

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