MEET MICHELLE SCHOON, Play therapist, Founder and Facilitator, who founded the KIDS WHO CAN! COMMUNITY in 2011 and has been facilitating courses and workshops ever since. The organisation has grown since its inception and now has facilitators covering suburbs across Cape Town, as well as in Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit), and soon to be internationally.
Re-integration into school life following the Covid-19 lockdown period of isolation will prove very challenging for some children, particularly those with pre-existing trauma and/or anxiety struggles. As we head back to school, the ability to support young children integrate back into school life and guide their approach to the 'new normal', is crucial.
We cannot protect our children from the consequences of Covid-19. However, the way we respond - rather than react - and the support we offer, can help make it easier for our children to bounce back. They listen to everything we say, notice when we are stressed, and watch our actions. Feeling connected to parents, family members, teachers, friends or community can help children feel more secure. With a support system in place, children will be able to focus more on the positive, calm their fears and worries so that they may bounce back, and even grow from the challenges we are all facing.
Adults need to reassure children about their safety and the safety of their loved ones. As parents we should maintain routines to provide children with a sense of safety and predictability (e.g. regular bedtimes and meals, daily schedules for learning and play). Supporting children's regulation is also important - when they are stressed, their bodies respond by activating their stress response systems. To help them manage these reactions, it is important to both validate their feelings (e.g. "I know that this might feel scary or overwhelming") and encourage them to engage in activities that help them self-regulate (e.g. exercise, deep breathing or mindfulness activities, regular routines for sleeping and eating).
Social connectedness also improves children's chances of showing resilience to adversity. Creative opportunities to staying connected to peers and family are important (e.g. writing letters, online video chats or "play dates"). While peer relationships can contribute negatively to social emotional development through bullying and exclusion, they can also provide a unique context in which children can learn a range of critical social emotional skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and problem solving strategies.
As parents, we all want a strong developmental foundation for our children and to see them thrive as they grow and mature. One of the ways we can help and support them is to teach them about emotions and how to positively cope with their emotions. In turn, this helps them build resilience and thus more self-confidence.
KIDS WHO CAN COMMUNITY
We offer practical courses and workshops for ALL children. We provide children with a safe, fun space to learn about themselves - what they like, what they dislike, how they feel about things and to learn to manage what life throws at them in a healthy and effective way. Our aim is to empower children to take responsibility in creating their own healthy, calm, joyful lives by teaching them tools and techniques to assist them with the changes and challenges they may face in their daily lives.
Childhood should not be stressful but in today's world, particularly now as we have to deal with so much uncertainty, stress in children is becoming more and more frequent. With the added anxiety around returning to a very different school environment along with educators who may be anxious themselves, it's pretty clear how quickly our children can feel overwhelmed. As parents, child carers, educators, we need to be aware of what our children are feeling and help them to express themselves in healthy ways.
Children's responses to stressful events are unique and varied. Some children may be irritable and clingy, and some may regress, demand extra attention. or have difficulty with self-care, sleeping, and eating. New and challenging behaviours are natural responses, and adults can help by showing empathy and patience and by calmly setting limits when needed.
Some of what our KIDS WHO CAN, GIRLS WHO CAN & BOYS WHO CAN courses and workshops offer:
All our courses and workshops are now being offered OnLine.
Please log on to www.kidswhocancommunity.co.za for further details
Contact: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Call: Michelle 082 344 4231