Women’s Contact Society

Challenging Behaviours series wraps up, Apr 19th & 20th with Occupational Therapist, Katie Crosby of Thriving Littles.

May 15, 2024



Over the last 5 months, a group of 20 parents, child care providers, family support workers and CCRR staff from Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Bella Coola came together for a 5-part series, to explore what happens to a child’s brain state when they are in meltdown (fight or flight mode) or completely shut down (freeze).  Why can’t they snap out of it and how do we get through these tough moments, calmly and with ease? This series showed participants how to approach a child in distress with calm energy, a soft voice using physical contact such as a hand on their shoulder, or just using body language and gestures to let the child know they are not alone with these big emotions.  Calm energy impacts a child’s nervous system and when the nervous system doesn’t sense danger, anxiety, fear, it relays a message to the child’s brain, such as, “Things are okay.  This big person isn’t freaking out, so I guess we don’t have to.”  The child’s nervous system stops sending stress signals to the brain which allows the child to move from fight/flight/freeze state and begin to self-regulate.  Big emotions and feelings arise and are completely expected as children develop in their early years.  Learning how to cope with big emotions is where a child needs their big people’s support.  Each time you support and co-regulate with a child through one of these tough moments, you are strengthening healthy pathways in their brain.  They begin to learn that they can problem solve and ask for help, walk away and find a quiet space to figure things out versus yelling, hitting, harming themselves or someone else or turning inward and feeling bad about themselves, or feeling unsafe.   Of course, being calm, cool, and collected is easier said than done especially when you’re tired, had a long day, just got home from work and are trying to get some food ready for dinner, have a classroom of noisy children or you’re trying to get out the door in the morning and your toddler is melting down.  Like anything, these new strategies need to be practiced and it will take time to figure out your keywords, tone, and body language for each child, or situation.  

Remember, children are not GIVING us a hard time, they are HAVING a hard time, and these big behaviours are signs that they need our help to get through them.

What's happening next?

There's always something new going on at CCRR and the Women's Contact Society. Visit our events calendar to see what's coming up!