Regain self-regulation with Dismissing (part 2 of 4)

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The goal with Dismissing is to help children get rid of the worries and concerns.

The idea is that you can take the things out of your brain so they don’t bug you anymore.

I’ve used this strategy mainly when worries come up. I’ve also used it when thoughts are buzzing around in the child’s brain making it difficult to think of anything else. I say, “It looks like that’s really bugging your brain (referring to a thought or idea). How about we take it out. That way it won’t bug you anymore.” Then reach up and pretend to pull the idea out of the child’s head.

There are a few different things you can do with the worry you now hold in your hand. I always ask children what they want to do. I ask if they want to put it in the garbage or flush it down the toilet. Another option is to shred it or destroy it in some way. The third option is to put it away for later. I always have a Brain Box for this. A 

Brain Box can be any special container where ideas can be kept. I usually buy them at the dollar store and decorate them. We put the ideas/worries in the box, sometimes printed or drawn on paper. They’re then closed in the box. 

Brain Boxes are amazingly powerful. I told a preschool teacher about it and she thought I was mad. One day, however, a child came to preschool singing a song over and over. The teacher couldn’t stop him. Then, she remembered the Brain Box. In desperation, she said to the child, “It looks like those words are making it hard for your brain to think. How about if we take them out?” He was okay with that idea so she reached over and  motioned  to pull them out of his head. She then put them in her pocket (she didn’t have a Brain Box yet). The child stopped singing the song … for the next 2 1/2 hours! His bus came for him at the end of class and he left. Suddenly, the teacher heard him screaming. She rushed to him and he said, “i need my words back!” The teacher put her hand into her pocket, pulled the imaginary words out and placed them back in his head. The child left happily singing his song once again. 

There are other ways to dismiss ideas and worries. One of them is to use a shield

to hold something away. I’ve made shields with children to help them know that they could keep some things from bugging them just like soldiers and warriors and knights. They can hold up their shields and things just bounce right off. They can’t even get near them.

You can also use other barriers, like traffic cones. I used traffic cones with a child who was afraid of monsters coming to get him during the night. I talked to him about a few strategies and he liked the idea of traffic cones the best. We bought some

 at the dollar store and he helped set them up around his bed. He slept soundly after that. 

These simple devices help dismiss concerns. They help children feel in control of things that are making it hard for them to learn and think. 

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