It is an unsettling time and there is so much change. Times like these can be difficult for young children to navigate. ‘5,4,3,2,1’ is a tool that can be used to help stop the out-of-control train of thoughts and worries. This can be done with very young children. It is a way to bring the mind back to the present moment and calm the visceral response that accompanies worry.
Let’s give it a try:
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or in a chair. Start anywhere: the car, bedtime, the playground, the grocery store.
Take a big breath in through the nose as if smelling a beautiful flower and blow it all out from the mouth as if blowing out birthday candles. Take (5) breaths like this. This will immediately begin to calm the body.
Now, look around the room.
Name (5) things you can see. Anything. Example: a teddy bear, a picture, my foot.
Name (4) things you can feel. Example: blanket, chair, sweater, teddy bear, cold air.
Name (3) things you can hear. Example: breathing, legs moving against the chair, the air conditioning, mom.
Name (2) things you can smell. Example: detergent on clothes, fresh air.
Name (1) thing you can taste. Example: toothpaste, air.
The mind cannot focus on two things at the same time. Focusing using the five senses and noticing items around the room takes the place of the upsetting train of thoughts and brings the mind to the present moment.
Give it a try and leave a comment on your experience.
My best friend and mother of two recently sent me the a communication from the Special Olympics (http://www.r-word.org/). This is a cause that is near and dear to her heart. I too feel very strongly about eliminating the use of such derogatory words from our vocabulary.
The Special Olympics has started a campaign in order to ‘End the Use of the R-Word.’ The points they made in their pledge were written so eloquently. I decided to sum up the comments for you:
“…create a more accepting world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and all those people that may appear different, but have unique gifts and talents to share with the world. ”
“Often unwittingly, the word is used to denote behavior that is clumsy, hapless, and even hopeless. But whether intentional or not, the word conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It hurts. Even if you don’t mean it that way.”
“Did you know that by casually using the word “retard(ed)” to refer to an action as less than ideal you are making someone with an intellectual disability feel less than human – whether you mean to or not? Demeaning any of our fellow human beings by using inappropriate words toward any population negatively impacts all of us.”
There is a danger to us, to our children and to others even in passively using derogatory words or phrases. Whether it is done in an outright hurtful manner or casually in jest, the comments may be interpreted as truths. Your children look up to you and look to you as a source of information and truth. It would be awful to have your child miss out on the unique-ness of each individual by going in with a pre-existing set of words to describe someone. “Our language frames how we think about others.”
On this ‘teachable moment Tuesday’ please take a moment to examine your conversations and eliminate use of the R-word.
If you would like to take the pledge further: check out http://www.charactersunite.com/#/mission. USA Networks along with the nation’s leading non-profits has put together a pledge, action plan, town hall and an amazing website dedicated to “seeing beyond stereotypes and appreciating each other for the characters we are.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) 76 million people get sick every year due to food borne illness. Some of the causes are E. Coli, norovirus and Hepatitis A. Certain groups have a higher chance for severe infection including infants and young children.
So how do we prevent infection? How do we get the fruit clean?
At first glance, the marketplace seems to offer many solutions. With a quick search for fruit wash on Amazon (www.amazon.com) I came across these products: Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash ($22.11), Citrus Magic Fruit and Vege Wash ($9.67) Environe Fruit and Vege Wash (18.80) I looked at the ingredients for some of these washes and came across Ethyl Alcohol, Potassium Hydrate,Baking Soda and Citric Acid . Is there a way to clean without using additional chemicals? There has to be a simple, more budget friendly way.
In Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, I found a solution (literally.) In the ‘Keeping a Cleaner, Safer Kitchen’ article from the January & February 2010 issue they discuss washing produce (http://www.cooksillustrated.com/search/results.asp?filters=&query=washing+produce.) A recipe of 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar removed 98% of surface bacteria. This is the SAME amount the expensive fruit washes report is removed following use of their product This water/vinegar solution can be used on fruit like apples but also fruits with peels or rinds. The items with surfaces you typically remove (like an orange or watermelon) may also be harboring bacteria on the surface. This can get on your fingers and then on the fruit inside or if you cut the fruit it can be transferred to the knife and then subsequently onto the fruit. By taking a few extra steps, you can significantly cut down on harmful bacteria. Just spray the solution and then rinse with clean water.