A mom friend got caught in a lockdown at her child’s school recently, and she posted about her frightening experience on Facebook. Another friend asked if anyone helped the kids re-regulate their nervous systems when it was over. Unfortunately, the answer was no–kids were just released to go on to the next thing, probably still scared and with adrenaline still pumping. I realized then that nervous system regulation is something that therapists think about a lot, but teachers probably don’t get tons of training on.
Basically, when a person is in a stressful situation, your nervous system escalates like it might have to fight an attacker (heart rate up! breathing fast and shallow! etc.)
Your body wants to Move! Fight! Run!
But if you have to stay still and silent (like in a lockdown) it can cause additional stress, even trauma.
So when these lockdowns are over, everyone’s bodies need a little relief. It’s healthy and helpful to physically express some of that pent up energy, and then to connect with another safe person, and to try to calm the body down again. The good news is that there are many things that a caring adult can do in that situation to provide a little relief and support to kids, even in just a few seconds.
What I really wish is that no child would have to experience lockdowns ever again. Until that day though, this infographic is for teachers (*) who are interested in knowing more and having more tools that can be pulled out if you need them, even if you only have 60 seconds to spare.
(*) teachers, staff, parents, administration, anyone who finds it helpful!
Here’s the infographic in pdf form: Lockdown infographic. If you think it will be helpful to a teacher (anyone) in your life, you are very welcome to share it with them. Please don’t edit it.
Hat tip & gratitude: Kate, Melissa, Amy, Kris, Katie, Jack, Carolyn, Margaret & the Austin MHP FB page for ideas and feedback!
Update: Right after I finished the infographic, I saw that someone had shared this link and this video with me. Good info on the link, and the video is of Israeli children singing a song that their kindergarten teacher wrote for them to help them cope with their bomb drills. I loathe that these dangers exist, but I’m all about making the best of what we can.