Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Take a deep breath

I can't find the post right now, but awhile ago I mentioned how I was trying to teach Moira deep breathing to help her calm herself down. She wasn't interested/able to actually hold her breath, and she preferred to do 'doggy breaths' (pant pant) over anything that would actually slow her breathing down. Surprisingly, the doggy breaths actually seemed to help her focus and calm down, so I kept plugging away at the lesson. Rather then focusing on her when she was losing it, I tried to point out that this was how I handle things when I am losing it.
In the last couple of weeks, Moira has started coaching me through deep breaths when I start getting agitated. "Deep breaths Mommy! Breathe in, breathe out! Phew!" She has also started doing it on her own when she's having trouble settling down, especially at bedtime. Not that this has made her a calm and reasonable three year old, there is plenty of screaming and losing it, but I'm so glad that this technique is working for her.
My current worry is how negatively focused she can be. It's strange, because she is most of the time a pretty happy kid. It just seems that sometimes she needs to be sad, and she will start with something and work her way through everything she can think of that makes her sad. On the one had, I really don't want her to feel that she isn't allowed to be sad, but on the other, I worry that if I don't help her learn to let go of those feelings she will end up sad and anxious like I am. Right now we do a lot of empathizing with her about her feelings, but I did insist that she couldn't be sad all the time in the car. I also decided that it's not okay to scream while you are sad, and if you need to scream you have to go to your bedroom. Fortunately, that's a rule I follow too, so it's easy to enforce.

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