Several weeks ago, hubby and I went to a training that was based on Karyn Purvis’ work. We got a lot out of the training, but we had one takeaway that has changed our Sunday afternoons. It is Family Nurture Group. The kids LOVE it. Here is some of what we are doing, could do, etc:
***We start each time with the rules and skills of attachment. We do them as a back and forth chant like was done in the training I went to. We also use hand signals (which I do a lot of anyway ala Whole Brain Teaching).
***We practice a regulation skill. One week it was the magic mustache. Another time, it was strong sitting (which was an adventure as my 4yos had a very hard time learning how to do their hands).
***We do team activities. For example, one time we each picked a color marker. We each drew a line (curvy, zigzag, even items as long as you keep the marker on the paper) for the count of five then the next person starts their line where the person before them left off. Other ideas would be a vision board, mural, etc.
***ropes course type things like falling backwards into people’s arms (adults from sitting since most of our people are very small). Also, a giggle run would be fun (where you put each person’s head on the person before them’s tummy and then try to “ha” one more time than the other person without laughing).
***A family knot would work with older kids or at least if the people in the family were all mature enough to do it and similarly sized. Be mindful of the dysregulation some may have with this. Some may be uncomfortable with touch, how close everyone would be, or be apt to hurt someone.
***Kid games with “listen and obey” like Simon Says, Mother May I?, Red Light/Green Light, etc
***We loved doing cotton ball activities. Our play therapist showed us these years ago. They can be things like closing your eyes and saying where the other person is touching you with the cotton ball. Yes, we had boundary issues when we did it originally, but that is another opportunity. Another that we did recently was having 4 cotton balls “in play” and blowing them across the circle (this could also be a regulation game in that it encourages proper breathing).
*** Certain books would work here. Last week, we used The Otter Cove. It is about belly breathing. We also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Little Owl Lost Her Whoo book. If we did it right before bedtime, we could use our Snuggle Up Sleepy Ones book (I swear that book works! Just thinking about it makes me want to yawn!).
***telling a story based off of the feeling identification cards was another used at the training and that I liked. I really liked the idea of naming the children on the cards! I never would have thought of that on my own and yet it makes so much sense!
***We could make stress balls (sand, salt, beans, tiny stones, etc) in balloons.
***Role playing. We’ll almost definitely use stuffed animals.
***Using lotion to massage hands or feet. Our therapist also had us use extra so that after doing so, we could do a hand/foot print on paper and sprinkle with baby powder. Shoulder massage could go here too.
****Activities from The Out of Sync Child Has Fun or Playful Parenting. I already had both books, so I’m going to look into this more to see what things would be good for this group.
***We did a family cheer. I’m less sure about this (though the kids love it) because we have temporary members. I keep thinking we could change it, but if I did it in a way to be less unified, it’d be weird and not the way I want. AND temporary members ARE H****s while they are here. And the two temporary members are very young so probably not thinking of any of this anyway. Just not sure.
****I was thinking of doing something with boundary bubbles, an issue we still have some struggles with, mostly with the one foster kiddo who is very sensory seeking.
***Last activity is a feeding activity. The first week, we used dumdum lollipops and peppermints. Each person got to choose which they wanted when asked and then their partner fed it to them. My 19yo *really* struggled with this! We used cookies, various candies, etc.
***The bandaid on your hurts thing hasn’t gone very well yet as we have a bunch of copy cats, but we are going to keep trying. I bought a ton of bandaids on Amazon. We also have used them to apologize in real life situations. The other day, I hurt my daughter’s feelings so went to her with one and apologized and asked if I could put it on her heart.
***And we end with the rules and skills of attachment again.
Anyway, so the kids love, love, love this and I’m so glad it has gone so well.