Empowering Things that Have Helped Our Kids

This is entry 4 of the blogchain TBRI.

Meeting the physical and connection needs of a person—big or little—can help with a wide range of behavior problems and other challenges. Here are some things TBRI suggests that have been helpful to my family.

Physical Needs

  • Give healthy food every two hours.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Learn and practice deep breathing. (I like the idea of “bubble breaths” and “smell the pizza”, which I learned of elsewhere.
  • Use sweet smells and tastes to calm down. Purvis suggests putting cotton balls in a film roll container (if you can find one!) with a drop of vanilla.
  • Have regular physical activity like walking, running, dance.
  • Build in regular mini-moments of exercise like a quick set of push-ups or a few laps around a basketball court.
  • Build self-awareness. How is your egine running? If it’s running to fast, what can you do to calm down? Running too low, what can you do to rev it up? Running just right? Great!
  • Chew gum.
  • Suck water out of a water bottle.

Connection Needs

  • Watch carefully for physical signs of stress (shallow breathing, tight hands, dilating pupils, tight face). They are feeling stress and will probably react soon.
  • Watch the environment carefully. Is something overwhelming, too loud, going on too long?
  • Ask, what does this child need right now?
  • Watch for physical signs of stress in yourself. Practice calm presence. This models and leads the way. Provides reassuring safety among other things.
  • Use valuing eye-contact. Can I see your eyes?
  • Use proximity, get close. Get down on their level. Time-ins instead of time-outs.
  • Take time together doing activities they enjoy. Purvis calls these “bridge activities”. Find a time and space the child enjoys. Use this to connect and practice good things.
  • Make sure to reconnect after coming down from a conflict. Let me see your eyes. I love you. What do you need? You can ask for a compromise.
  • Healthy touch is very powerful. Firm, calming touches that reassure love are huge.
  • Give full attention whenever possible. If not possible, give it for just a few seconds: I want to hear what you have to say, but I need to do X right now. Let’s talk about it when I’m doing Y.
  • Teach how to use words and listen well. Learn to use and teach them to use certain scripts. Practice with role play and mirrors.
Christopher Chelpka @christopherchelpka