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6th October 2021, Parent-Carer Group

Here's an overview of this week's parent-carer group session...

Today we welcomed our parents-carers alongside George, a children’s and young person’s well-being practitioner. 

This week’s sessions had a focus on ‘Big Emotions,’ how we can support our children to begin to recognise and understanding their emotions to support children to begin to manage them.

We talked about the importance of self-care and how we can only support our children well when we are looking after ourselves too, that we do not want to ‘burn out.’

We spoke about ‘flipping the lid,’ the fight or flight mode and the fact that when our children get the ‘red mist’ in that moment there is a loss of connection in the brain and the reasoning and emotion pathway is not connected, therefore meaning that our children are unable to reason in this time period.  We either need to provide physical containment should they require deep pressure, a hug of reassurance etc., or we need to allow them some ‘time out’ to calm down and settle.  Parents spoke about their child’s experiences of this, and it was incredible to hear that one parents viewed her child’s behaviour to have improved since attending Springside, stating ‘his needs are met in school, and now he doesn’t have meltdowns any more.’  We also discussed the public’s perception of ‘meltdowns’ and unfortunately the verbal abuse that had been experienced when children were in public and had reached crisis.


George advised us on the importance of helping children to begin to recognise their feelings and validate them, using situations ‘in the moment’ to say ‘I think you feel happy because you’re smiling and giggling.’  Or, ‘I think you must be feeling angry because your face has gone red and your fists are clenched.’  It is important to ‘drip feed’ the recognition of feelings, this can also be done with TV and book characters.


We looked at the bond between parent/carer and child and the fact that we can often tell what our child is feeling, we often recognise the different cries, etc.  That we can look for patterns of behaviour in search of triggers and reasons for emotional distress, keeping a diary can help.  This provided the opportunity to discuss personal experiences, triggers for our children and also those times when there just doesn’t seem to be any trigger whatsoever…


We spoke about the analogy of a volcano, that our emotions can erupt and the lava that flows causes damage, to yourself and to others. 

A recommended book is ‘There’s a Volcano in my Tummy.’


We also discussed the fact that consequences for behaviour need to be logical and match the action and developmental age.  George reminded parents-carers that a child’s concept of time s often much longer than adults, the concept of time to a child, especially a child with SEND is difficult to support.  Egg timers can be a great visual reward to support this, though we also spoke about the fact that they can often be seen by our children as an object of play, and they can actually become distracted in playing with the resources rather than using it as a support tool.


George advise us that we can support children to release adrenaline by doing energetic HITT workouts, for example the Joe Wicks workouts are great for this.  In school, we regularly do ‘brain break’ exercises to support our learners.    Examples of activities also used to support children to release adrenaline are ripping up newspaper, scrunching it into a ball, scribbling with wax crayons.


We talked about incentives to support our children, the best rewards are free and give instant gratification.  Parents-carers spoke about their child’s incentives which were IPad and sweets. 


George talked us through the 5-point scale, an emotion ‘check in’ chart which can be related to a child’s favourite character etc. to enhance interest.  I found some examples which I’ve added below from the TES website, a column can also be added for ‘what can I do’ which may support children with suggested solutions as to how they can manage their feelings, for example, I can do some finger breathing (see last week’s blog.)  Ideas taken are from this book: The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assisting Children with ASDs in Understanding Social Interactions and Controlling Their Emotional Responses.

I hope you find this information helpful, thanks for another informative session.

Carole Kelly

Springside School, Family Support Worker