The Kids' Guide to Staying Awesome and in Control: Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate Their Emotions and Senses ISBN: 9781849059978
Published by Jessica Kingsley, 2014
The author of this book, a paediatric occupational therapist working in schools, has devised a remarkable series of exercises to help children deal with stresses of all sorts. Her jaunty language and approach will appeal to children as well as adults, and the exercises suggested are easily understood and done. She talks about three problems that all people can experience in any given day: slow and tired, fast and emotional, and fast and wiggly. She explains each of these feelings in detail and explains that the exercises are intended to help us feel 'just right'. There follow three kinds of exercises in increasing levels of need. First there are 'Anywhere Body Breaks' and as the title indicates, these are exercises one can do anywhere without even being noticed: breathing slowly in and out, arm massage, hand massage, finger pulls, etc. etc. There is quite a list of these. The second level if the first one is not quite enough, is the use of 'Tools'. Fidget balls, weighted lap pads, compression clothing, rocking in a rocking chair, using manipulative tools, etc. are some things in this list. The third level of stress busters are called Big Body Breaks. Things such as wall pushes, army crawls, crab walks, and jumping jacks are included here - all of which need space and more time to do. Ms Bruckner is particularly good at explaining the reasons why these things are important, and her approach at all times is non-judgemental. The first seventy-one pages of the book are aimed at youngsters, though using the book with an adult is recommended, and the rest of the book is aimed at adults - parents, carers and teachers. Some of this information is quite technical but also clearly laid out. For instance, we learn about the proprioceptive system, the vestibular system and the tactile system. But there are also lots of practical tips on helping children who have sensory or emotional problems in both classroom and home. There are also loads of menus, charts and checklists, which should prove of great help. This is an excellent book for helping children (and adults - I found myself doing the exercises!) and deserves a place in any home or classroom where such problems are being found. Available from Amazon, from good bookshops, or from the publisher at www.jkp.com, where you will also find downloadable resources.