September 19, 2021
Sunday Youth Education Virtual Only
Due to the current situation with COVID in the Austin area, the remainder of September will be virtual-only youth education. Also, there will be no in-person childcare until further notice.
Now that we have moved back to virtual-only youth education, please check your children’s Facebook groups for their online lessons. Contact Linda Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
- Toddlers/Unitots: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UCOH.YFM.Unitots
- Pre-K/Kindergarten: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UCOH.YFM.PreKK/
- Elementary: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UCOH.YFM.Elementary/
- Uniteens: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UCOH.YFM.Uniteens/
- YOU: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ucoh.YOU/
Language of Listening® Parenting Tip: Watch a child walk down a sidewalk—how long before the child makes up a rule about not stepping on cracks? Rules help children master self-control, and kids instinctively know that.
This tip is provided by Sandy Blackard, award-winning parenting author of Say What You See®
How to Help Kids Through a Panic Attack
The pounding heartbeat, racing thoughts, shortness of breath, and feeling like you’re losing control are disconcerting symptoms for adults to experience, but they’re even more alarming for a child who doesn’t know why it’s happening. As a parent, it’s scary not knowing how to help your child when they clearly need help.
1) Verbalize what’s happening to them.
Panic attacks are intense for the person experiencing them and saying something like “Calm down” isn’t really helpful. They want to calm down, they just can’t.
For our kids, explaining exactly what’s happening, what they can expect to happen, and what they actually can control is the first step toward regaining calm. After the first time through it, they don’t need this much detail, but here’s a basic script of where we started:
“You’re okay, even though it doesn’t feel like it. You’re just having a panic attack. The fear part of your brain is sort of stuck for a bit, and it keeps revving up your body. It’s like your brain thinks there’s a tiger chasing you, even though there isn’t. That makes your heart beat really fast and makes it hard to breathe. You might feel like you’re losing control. You might even feel like you’re going crazy. But it’ll pass soon, I promise. Panic attacks are just temporary glitches. Your brain and body will calm back own, usually within ten minutes or so. Let’s work on helping you feel better while it works its way out of your system.”
2) Use “box breathing” to help them catch their breath.
Breathing intentionally is one of the quickest ways to reset when your body is in a heightened state. The best technique we’ve encountered for this is an exercise called “box breathing” or “square breathing.” It’s actually a tool Navy Seals use to keep calm under stress, but it’s so simple even kids can use it.
Slowly draw the shape of a square in the air, starting from the bottom left-hand corner. As you draw the first line upward, have your child breathe in for a count of five. Then have them hold their breath while you draw the top line, then exhale while you draw down the right side. Finally, have them hold the exhale while completing the square with the bottom line. Then repeat—breathe in, hold, breath out, hold. Around four or five seconds for each breath and hold wonders for getting breathing under control, which helps calm the brain and body.
Here’s a quick video that shows how it works. (With our kids, I usually draw the box for them while talking them through the breaths and holds at first, then have them start drawing the box with me as they start to calm down.)
3) Ground them in reality with the “4-3-2-1” exercise.
Panic is the brain gripped by a state of fear that doesn’t reflect what’s actually happening. It’s basically the amygdala—the fight or flight center of the brain—wigging out for no apparent reason. The intense fear triggers the fight or flight response, forming a sort of feedback loop, with the body freaking out because the brain’s freaking out, which makes the body freak out, and so on.
Getting the brain to focus on the body’s physical senses can help break that loop and bring the body and brain back to a state of calm (or at least calmer). For this, we use a simple grounding exercise we call “4-3-2-1.”
Have the child look for and then name, out loud:
- Four things they can see. (“I see my lamp. I see the cat. I see the window. I see my teddy bear.”).
- Three things they can feel. (“I feel my pillow. I feel your hand. I feel the sheets.”)
- Two things they can hear. (“I hear cars outside. I hear the heater running.”)
- One thing they can smell. (“I smell your lotion.”)
I always have the kids say a full sentence for each thing they count, as that reinforces the physical aspect of the exercise. Without fail, my kiddos are always calmer when they get to what they can smell. Super simple, but super effective.
It’s important to note that these exercises don’t stop an attack in its tracks. Panic usually just has to run its course. What they do is take the edge off, make the attack more tolerable, and help the kiddo wait it out without feeling like they have no control at all while it’s happening.
Panic attacks and anxiety attacks (which share similar symptoms and can respond to the same tools) aren’t fun for kids or for parents. But when a kid knows what’s happening and a parent has tools to help them manage it, they’re a lot less scary for everyone involved.
Travel Around the World Tours
Here’s a new list of places to visit that was shared by some of our UCOH friends: https://www.partsgeek.com/mmparts/traveling_around_the_world_virtual_tours_and_field_trips.html
The ESports Cave
The ESports Cave is offering remote learning for parents who can’t send their kids to school but don’t want to keep them home all the time. This remote learning center is taking up to 12 families to maintain proper physical distancing. Once school time is over, they will open up their gaming center. For more information, visit their website at https://theesportscave.com/school-camp/
GoNoodle: Good Energy at Home
This free online resource for parents, caregivers, teachers and kids offers free movement, yoga and mindfulness videos, downloadable curricular activities , and off-screen home activities. These resources span a variety of abilities, interests, ages and subjects. https://www.gonoodle.com/good-energy-at-home-kids-games-and-videos/
Unity Musician Mark Stanton Welch
Stay-at-Home Resource Portal
Enjoy inspirational uplifting songs with consciousness-raising lyrics for all ages by Unity Musician Mark Stanton Welch.
Virtual Field Trips
Explore Your Child’s Feelings with Fun Activity: Do you want to help your child express his or her feelings? Action for Healthy Kids has information for parents and caregivers about expressing feelings through colors, like finger painting.
Watch Houston Zoo’s Rhino Cam: The Houston Zoo has a great rhino cam that you can watch anytime. You can even control the webcam. See the huge rhinos play in mud.
Watch Edinburgh Zoo’s Panda Cam: Grab you children and gather around your computer to watch cute pandas play. The Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland has a panda camera. Watch them play and eat bamboo!
Watch Dolphin Camera from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Many of us may not live near the ocean, but we can enjoy beautiful dolphins thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
View Photographs from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts: Calling all space enthusiasts! The Houston Museum of Fine Arts has posted its Space City photographs, celebrating humankind’s fascination with space and exploration. Enjoy the neat photographs!
Explore Carlsbad Caverns from Your Home: Do you love exploring caves? Get ready to venture through Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico! The National Parks Service and Google have teamed up to create a virtual tour of this park.
Explore the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions: Get ready to explore the Galapagos Islands from the comfort of your living room. Watch the videos with your children and discuss the incredible wildlife and culture. Go to YouTube to watch the videos.
Take a Virtual Tour of Yellowstone National Park: Are you ready to explore one of Wyoming’s most beautiful parks? You can do it from the comfort of your living room. Take a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park! You also can watch Old Faithful with their webcam.
Take a Virtual Tour of Yosemite National Park: While you’re inside your own home, take a virtual tour of Yosemite National Park in California. Make sure you have your sound on.
Take a Virtual Field Trip of Johnson Space Center: Do you love outer space? If the answer is yes, join Boeing and Discovery Education on a virtual field trip of Johnson Space Center in Houston. The exclusive behind-the-scenes tour will introduce students to a few of the employees who are writing the next chapter of space history.
Take a Virtual Nature Walk: Join the National Parks Service and Google to explore the Kenai Fjords in Alaska. Get ready to rappel into a crevasse, kayak through icebergs and watch a glacier recede.
Take a Virtual Tour of the National Museum of Natural History: Looking for ideas to keep your children entertained if they’re staying inside? Take a virtual tour of the National Museum of Natural History! Go to the webpage to begin your journey. Be sure to see the Giant Ground Sloth! Wow!
Check Out Houston Zoo Web Cams: Watch gorillas, giraffes, rhinoceroses, and more from your living room thanks to the Houston Zoo web cameras.
Watch Georgia Aquarium Web Cams: Seeking all underwater adventurers! While the Georgia Aquarium is temporarily closed, you can still view the amazing fish via their web cameras. Check out the Jelly webcam. Make sure you also view the Ocean Voyager webcam. Lookout for the whale shark!
Watch Panda Cameras While You’re Inside: Looking for ideas to keep your children entertained if you’re staying inside? The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Panda Cams are still running while the National Zoo is temporarily closed. See cute pandas chomping on bamboo and playing in trees.
Watch Cincinnati Zoo’s Home Safari, Weekdays at 2PM: Join the Cincinnati Zoo each weekday at 2:00 PM CST for the Home Safari Facebook Live series. The event highlights the Zoo’s amazing animals and includes activities students can do from home. Go to the Facebook page for more information, or visit the Zoo’s webpage.
Take a Virtual Tour of Boston Children’s Museum: Get ready to virtually walk through three floors of the Boston Children’s Museum. Make sure you check out the Explore-a-Saurus and the Japanese House. Visit the webpage to begin your tour.
Explore the Museum of Metropolitan Art: Do you love art? If you do, New York City’s Museum of Metropolitan Art has an interactive museum map for kids to explore the famous museum. There are also behind-the-scenes videos featuring kids just like them and a “time machine” to let kids explore thousands of years of art! View #MetKids for more information.
Explore Hundreds of Art Museums: Join Google and explore hundreds of art museums and galleries with Google’s Arts and Culture web engine. See paintings by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and many more. View the high-resolution images today!
Conscious Discipline Resources
- Understanding Safety, Connection and Problem-Solving
- Adult Weekly Commitment Calendar with Sue Dierks
- Creating Safety with Safekeeper Rituals and Agreements with Mara Spencer
- Choice Tools for Managing Complex Schedules
- Together Again Social Story
- Social Skills for Siblings: Asking for a Turn
- Social Skills for Siblings: Asking to Play
- ABC’s for Parents of Little Ones
- Adult Weekly Commitment Calendar
- Visual Daily Schedule
- My Family Safekeeper Plan