Archives for posts with tag: Parent involvement

“Care of the Caregiver… YOU!” ~Shane B. Kulman

I remember the first time I heard this. How clear and “right” it sounded.  As the phrase unfolded in my head, I realized that I was a caregiver, and that working in a classroom 5 days a week, 8-3:30 and then coming home to eat a slice of pizza and collapse was not going to work for me anymore. That was NOT caring about the caregiver, and I was caregiving for 25 students and a wacky assistant that year.  No more…

I’ve graduated and will occasionally take a several week or month vacation during the school year, is this extreme caregiving for myself?  I think, no.  Some say extreme, I bet some say spoiled…  I now understand the importance of bookends. When I set out to work, I am aware that before and after I must include time where I do something for myself.  It may be a simple cup of tea, or a massage/spa visit.

I believe everyone is a caregiver in some aspect. Parents, Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, babysitters, teachers, therapists, Nurses, Doctors, dog owners… you get the idea.

The parents I work with that have children with special needs, are constantly caregiving. There have been very few who make the time to withdraw from caring about others and take care of their Self.  So many parents pick food from their children’s plates, or eat standing up, don’t get dressed or spend every last penny on their child. After a while the caregiving well, goes dry. Parents often feel drained, wasted of energy and limited in   options. When I suggest a yoga class, a writing class, or to join in to any group activity that does not revolve around parenting, they look at me like I’m a dreamer, like I’m out of touch with reality, and then I see the guilt forming, “WHAT!?!? spend time on myself?!!?!? When my child is so far behind?”  I even suggested to a Mom to go out to dinner with Dad with a dress on, and I would stay with the children, she laughed at me and said we talk and eat when the kids go to school. Hmmmm, is this the same as wearing a dress at a restaurant?  I think not.

Children learn from watching, this has been researched and proven.  If all the young girls are watching their Mothers caregive and serve constantly, how will they learn to be independent and self expansive?  Special needs children, including non-verbal children see and feel what is going on around them. I see the neediest children become ultra demanding when they are in need of something. What happens after their demand, that may result in a temper tantrum/meltdown?  A Parent is running to serve them. What is the valuable lesson here? Yup, the bigger the meltdown and demand, the faster a parent runs.

Children with or without special needs, even pets, learn how to rule through behavior and reactions. I believe there is always time to be made for caring for the caregiver. Even if its a bath, or journaling time. I would say shopping, but you know who gets shopped for… everyone else.

Dearest friends – No matter who you are caring for. You can serve them on a higher level, if you take time to serve yourself. Your health and those you love will love you for it.

Namaste and love yourself,

Shane

Aloha beautiful friends!

I am eager to share some ways  of chilling-out that you can incorporate in your life.  Your  child, regardless of their special need is constantly learning from what you do, so show them how to chill out!

Shoulder bounces – sit up tall in your seat, relax your shoulders so they are even.  Lift your shoulders slowly up to your ears and let them drop back down. Gradually pick up the speed of our bounces, until you have a comfortable rhythm.  The benefits loosen up the chronically tight shoulder/neck area,  teaches your child that movement doesn’t have to be structured or complicated to have an effect on your state of mind.

Tighten and Release Take one or two breaths, start at the top of your body and work your way down.  Inhale and squeeze your face as tight as you can, and then release all that effort with an exhale. Draw your shoulders up, hold them up for a beat, then exhale and let them drop back down.  Pull in your belly button as strongly as you can, hold for a moment, then let  go.  Clench your bum, thighs, calves, and your feet hold for a beat – and let go.  Once you’ve swept your whole body, repeat the process another time or two. Each time you do, you’ll root out more stress and tension. The benefits target the entire body and systematically release tension from every corner.  Helps you refrain from escalating the situation, and helps you actually do something instead of  just thinking or saying “I need to relax.”

Count Your Breath This is a great stress re-leaver when your running late.  When running late, which I am all too familiar with,  is the perfect time to let your self-importance to run out of control as well as beating yourself up.  Neither contribute to health.  Breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 8 will help to keep you grounded and avoid paying attention to the minutes as they go by on your watch or the dashboard.  This will re-direct your mind. The benefits of this exercise will get new oxygen into your lungs, recharge your brain with more oxygen and lower your blood pressure, which is probably sky high at that point.

Swim In Your Own Sea of Tranquility Locate the indentation between your breasts, about three fingers from the bottom of your breastbone. Bring attention to that area with slight pressure.  If your in public, pretend its an itch. Aim to take twenty breaths while pressing. Release gradually. The benefits open the chest and invites your breath to deepen which triggers the bodies relaxation response, helps regulate your heart beat, and calms the mind.

Seated Spinal Twist Keep both feet on the floor, take a deep breath, sit up tall and twist your torso, each exhale try to twist more. I like this exercise  while waiting in an airplane. You can place your child on your lap, or physically help them twist. The benefits of this are wringing tension of the muscles that support your spine, helping to prevent back pain. It stimulates the abdominal organs responsible for digestion and detoxification so you don’t get an upset stomach that will usually accompany stress.

Mini Loving Kindness Meditation So you’ve never meditated before?  Here is a great way to begin…. A screaming baby/child — screaming back only makes it worse.  Come up with a short sentence, or you can use; May the baby be happy, may the baby be free from suffering. Say this in a quiet and relaxed voice.   Find a rhythm you are comfortable with.  Use this with anyone, your Mother, your boss etc. Say it out loud or in your head. The benefits allow you to feel compassion, instead of hating the moment (or the baby) send him/her some love, you will also feel connected to the child/baby, and not just sit and suffer.

Elephant Swing is a way to beat feeling lethargic.  It’s fun and your children will enjoy the body movement. While standing about 2 feet apart swing your arms and twist your body, the key is to let your arms be loose as possible. Only your toes should point forward, otherwise let it all hang loose, and swing slow in a twist.  Elephants do this when they are nervous. The benefits are tremendous and loosens things up so the energy in your body can travel more freely around your nervous system.

Focus Pocus will calm your mind and relax your monkey mind;) Press between the eyes firmly. This is an amazing technique to show your child how to do. Depending on the age of your child, he/she can do this while taking a test in school. Closing your eyes and deep breathing will add to the experience. The benefits calm the mind, reduce anxiety and confusion and promote clearer, calmer thinking.  This is also used in acupressure to relieve headaches, insomnia and sinus congestion.

Legs Up The Wall Lay with your bum against a wall, and your legs up the wall, your body is at a 90 degree angle.  This will relieve stress and that “heavy leg” feeling. Breathe and relax here for up to ten minutes. The benefits are relaxing and energizing, your legs being higher than your heart creates a relief for your circulatory system and all the hard work it does.  Usually the circulatory system has to work hard to get blood from your heart to your feet, and now you will be helping this system run better! Your body will be thanking you. This is also reversing the effects of gravity, which is what causes wrinkles and varicose veins.

So start a practice of incorporating these steps.  Draw a beautiful sign of reminders to put in your car or in your house.  It’s not easy to start a new regimen, but if you remember how your body will thank you, and what an amazing role model you will be for your child, chilling-out will be common sense.

Aloha and thanks for reading!

Aloha friends!

As April is right here, we should all be aware of Autism month.  Every person that I meet and “what I do” comes up knows a someone with Autism. EVERY PERSON.  Today I read that 1 in 110 Americans are born with Autism and 1 in 70 are boys. These figures are amazing and calling our attention whether we like it or not.  Let today be the day that you become more aware.  Involve your children and let them know of children with Autism, even if they don’t know anyone…. yet.  Teaching them awareness is such a wonderful educational lesson.  People with special needs are all around and they are usually amazing people with a lot of great qualities to share.   A great way to teach your child EMPATHY  is to show/model this for them in a natural and organic way.  Carry groceries for an elderly neighbor, or someone who just needs help, recycle and explain why you are doing it, find volunteer opportunities and explain to your child you are doing this and not getting paid in dollars. Many children I have worked with when I was teaching, had these responses to questions about their parents working;

me: “where does your Mommy work”

child: “she is a Nurse”

me: “what does Mommy do at work?”

child:” Mommy goes to work to make money.”

Hmmmmm, this is a lesson that a child has learned that we work to get paid. Now of course this is true BUT in addition to making money a Nurse cares for sick people and people having babies etc.  If you teach your child the world revolves around money, well then, they might have a pretty sad future.  As we’ve all heard money does not buy happiness. I know there is never enough money to do EVERYthing I want and to buy everything (I think) I need.

Teach your child that happiness stems from our inner-selves. Reading a great book makes me feel happy, as does yoga, or painting a picture and framing it.  I have been notoriously happy by building something like a bookshelf!  This always reminds me of the children who are so happy when they build something in the block center.

In looking for guests to interview on my radio show, I have come across so many organizations that look for volunteers. I know there is “no time” for this.  Well I beg to differ, some of these volunteer opportunities revolve around recreational activities and children!  Imagine how good you will feel by getting involved with new people, (outside your social world) helping others and getting fresh air!  Guaranteed happiness, for sure!

Here are some events going on during April is Autism Awareness Month

April 1st The Empire State Building is lit up Blue as well as worldwide prominent buildings                                                                                                                    Your Beautiful Child Radio Launch Show @ Tribeca Grand 7-10pm

April 2nd – World Autism Day Wear Blue

April 21 FREE Developing Socialization Skills 6pm at Brooklyn Autism Center Register at Tcardenas@brooklynautismcenter.org

April 23 Adventureland in Farmingdale NY “A Special Night for Special Kids” Closed to the public.

April 24 Sesame Place – Autism Day

Ongoing events

www.keennewyork.org – participate or volunteer -Recreational opportunities @ no cost.

Drama Therapy group for teens with Asbergers call 212 414 5105 Meets @ NYU after school.

www.SNACK.com\- Participate or volunteer – Yoga, music, art etc. Meets after school and weekends

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