On February 22, 2021, we organized a public webinar How to reduce stress – and help yourself to maintain inner peace (even during the COVID-19 pandemic) using knowledge about the functioning of the brain. Webinar was lectured by Mgr. Krist√Ĺna FarkaŇ°ov√°, a participant in our training program focused on supporting of children’s mental health and the education of pupils with challenging behavior.
In times of pandemic, mental health care is essential, so the first webinar focused on the topic of maintaining inner peace in difficult times.
The first block started with the topic of stress and was focused on answering following questions: How we behave in stressful moments? Is there any ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ level of stress? What helps us to become resilient, instead of sensitive and more fragile? Whether we have the opportunity to choose our inner peace and know what supports it and what destroys it?
Several times during the webinar, participants were offered a safe space to think about the following questions: What is helping them at this time? When do they feel calm and rest? What little things help them to find balance each day? What do they need to remember to feel well in the world? We are important, it is impossible to skip our own feelings and focus only on of children.
“One of the ideas I learnt from our Norwegian colleagues is Bruce D. Perry’s reflection on the five states of mind. It shows how we can practically feel and act in the various states of our mind, how our possibilities to think freely, to think ahead gradually narrow. How much we need to understand in what state of mind the person / child we are working with is. So we don’t miss him/her and work with him/her according to actual state. Gradually, to help him/her to get through states of high activation back to calmness. And we need to keep ourselves calm so that we can help others find their peace thanks to our simple calm presence, ‚ÄĚsaid the lecturer.
The webinar also provided participants with practical tips on how to take care of their body, how to plan the day, so they could stick to the structure. The webinar received a lot of positive feedback. And although it was informative, the participants stated that they had rested during the event. Perhaps also because the intention was to strengthen the participants’ awareness that while we cannot influence how a pandemic will develop, we can influence a lot in terms of our own mood, our own balance and our own calmness.
Based on information from the September meeting with our Norwegian lecturers, we have prepared
and published the How to Survive Lockdown infographic, which provides tips on how to deal with the
limitations and uncertainty that we face in the current situation associated with the COVID-19
In November, through another virtual meeting, we focused on sharing and reconciling home-office
and distance learning, where parents are often exposed to increased stress associated with
reconciling their own work with supporting children in online teaching. We discussed number of
useful tips that can help parents as well as children. It is very important, for example, to have regular
and fixed moments of recharging "emotional batteries" during the day, when we give the child all our
attention and ensure that his emotional needs are met, for example by hugging or brief cuddling.
Thanks to these regular moments, the time when children can work independently is extended and
parents can thus fully concentrate on their own work.
We are currently translating a text of our Norwegian lecturers, which will become a key study script for teachers and other pedagogical staff who will be trained in the new educational programme.¬†The purpose of the text is to help the trainees understand why even the best teaching methods offered by the current pedagogy fail when we are working with children suffering from developmental trauma. In the text, teachers will find valuable advice that can help them teach such children. Developmental trauma affects the development of the brain. Knowledge of the impact of childhood in fear and conditions of inadequate and insufficient care can help us understand why these children misbehave in school. Understanding the causes of challenging behavior of children with developmental trauma can help significantly and make teaching and caring for these children a little easier.
The script provides readers with information on procedures and measures that can help children with developmental trauma cope with daily schooling. It aims to provide a deeper understanding of the developmental trauma, its impact on children, and their education. It also contains practical recommendations on how to reduce the impact of trauma on the child’s education.
In September, we are planning to implement yet another two-day training in Prague, to which we again plan to invite (epidemiological situation permits) our Norwegian lecturers. Their visit will also include a seminar at the Ministry of Health targeting health and social services involved in the reform of mental health care. The seminars will also be attended by lecturers of lifelong education of pedagogical staff in matters related to the behaviour of children at school.
Like all of us measures restricting travel affected us at ńĆOSIV, so we had to replace the originally planned two-day training with our Norwegian lecturers in Prague to a virtual environment. We divided the training into three days to support the concentration of attention of the trainees. The training topic was more than suitable – the activation of the stress response system and the effects of stress on behavior.
The change of established habits and routines, combined with the uncertainty of what and how will happen next, has given us all an authentic experience of increased levels of stress. Nevertheless, we tried to maintain a positive mood and together we thought about how best to support children and teachers after returning to schools.
Interview with our colleague from partner organisation √ėstbytunet on education of children with challenging behaviour was published at on-line magazine Rodice vitani.
“I know¬† it’s not easy with these kids. But adults are adults and should be better able to control themselves than a child. We should learn ways to treat and helpthese children. Of course, this is not easy, because when a child dissolves in emotions, it evokes strong feelings in us adults as well. Cortisol also floodsus and we feel like runnig away or attacking.”There is no easy way to deal with this, and the following is especially recommended: try to recognize the child’s signs of a affect approaching,
and try to stop it before it starts. The sooner we intervene, the more tools we have at our disposal.When we see that a child is getting restless, he is getting a little angry, so as adults we have a chance to work with him. As soon as he starts and we start withbans and punishments, the whole situation will escalate and we will not have many options. The affective arc is practically impossible to be stopped when it starts”.
The whole interview is available here.