In this week’s episode, Heidi is joined by Jamie Hinchey, a feeding therapist and member of the Thrive tube weaning team. Heidi and Jamie are discussing the importance of bringing calm to a situation, specifically around children. This could be moving houses, a new baby in the house, spring break, or a change in the weather. If you are listening to this in real-time, then there are many of you who are dealing with a sense of chaos or disruption in your house right now. We’re here to help. It can be hard to manage when different situations arise, big or small. As the adult, you have the right and ability to bring calm into the situation for your family. Today’s episode will dive into a few strategies that we find helpful for parents when things feel chaotic. Jamie and Heidi will discuss the importance of reducing expectations, bringing familiarity to the situation, and linking the old and the new. The Thrive team is also celebrating 10k downloads on the podcast! Thanks for listening!
“When our little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm not join their chaos.” – L.R Knost
This was a quote that we found while preparing for the episode, and felt it was so appropriate to the time we are in right now. Often in the world, people are ready and willing to join in the chaos, sometimes being swept along or adding to it. It is crucial that as adults, we help bring calm to the situation. This can get difficult when there are things that come up that make it hard to always remain calm. This is especially true for families of those with feeding tubes, but also relates to all families.
Remember to be kind to yourself and to your children. It’s oaky to reduce the expectations on both of you, understanding that your child can recognize stress. If the parent or caregiver is feeling stress in the environment, it is likely that the child does too. You don’t always have to be “working” on the feeding. Think about what is true for adults when we go away somewhere. We naturally lower expectations for ourselves, and children, especially with feeding difficulties, should be able to do the same.
Bring Familiarity to the Situation:
By planning ahead, you may be able to pack some of your favorite books, foods, or snacks. Of course, this is not always possible, but when it is it is important to try to do. Children thrive off routine and familiarity. If a situation is already going to be challenging for them, it may be helpful to have the familiar food to help them feel comfortable. It may also be helpful to keep the mealtime routine the same as well. Focus on washing hands, setting the table, or picking a cup and bringing it to the table. You can assign roles to children for different jobs. This doesn’t have to be the same exact routine, it is okay to keep some parts familiar so that they can latch onto something familiar.
Bridging the Gap:
It is helpful to link something familiar with something new. It could be helpful to use a social story, which is a way to help visualize a situation or routine for your child. You can modify this based on your child’s age and use your judgment for how many words or pictures you include. It can be helpful to talk to your child about these changes, and let them know it’s okay. It’s important to validate their emotions and let them know that change is hard, but we are all working together to adjust.
We strongly encourage talking with your therapists or other family members about these conversations and keeping an open mind. It’s important to team together in order to have the most consistency for your child. Remember, it is not your job to recreate the SAME exact thing. Everything doesn’t always have to be exactly how it was, but these are helpful reminders to keep in mind. Some of this can help bring flexibility to your children and help them adapt to new situations.