So here’s the thing…. I’m a school counselor at an elementary school. I’m not sure if you have been around elementary kids recently but they are similar to ordering homemade salsa at a Mexican restaurant (some days it’s great and you can’t get enough of it and some days it’s so spicy that you can only handle two bites) .
I mean it’s not like high schoolers where you can ask them about something and they can put together some thoughts on why they might be feeling a certain way.
Yes I get that feelings are 100% weird and hard for grown ups (read: people over 18) to handle so I should give our little people some wiggle room. However, when you ask a student “why are you crying?” and they answer with “ My daddy bought me a puppy?” WHAT!?!?! WHAT?!? I usually follow with how much sleep did you get last night.
I spend several hours each day trying to figure out why this student or that student is having a huge emotional reaction to something and how I can help them. I LOVE every minute of it and EVERY crazy answer! But most of all it keeps me searching for new things to try with our students.
I have been hearing more and more about this idea of connecting your body and your mind to help calm kids down. This seems especially effective if they are having some extreme anxiety (which experts would argue could look like huge emotional reactions
meltdowns at the elementary level)
This leads me to the astro-turf. The idea is that if you or your student
client can take their shoes off and walk through the grass the sensation of the grass will quickly help to lower their anxiety to a manageable level.
(Manageable Level- Where they can still function at school and in the classroom. Everyone has and anxiety and should because in small amounts it’s a good healthy thing)
Awesome! Love it! I love when I don’t have to wear shoes… I love when I get to be outside … and I really love the feeling of walking on grass. (The soft kind, not the kind that feels like walking on glass.) I also love when it is a quick and easy tool.
PROBLEM – I live in WISCONSIN. Yes we have beautiful grass but not when school is in session. When we have school our wonderful grass filled fields are covered in snow, ice and this weird brown slushie stuff.
SOLUTION – Astro -Turf …. (ie another trip to Menards where they look at me like I don’t belong and try to figure out what weird pinterest project I’m trying to do this time.) This trip was no different. Well a little different because Hdubs was with me. We found the carpet section (without help) and even found the fake grass (Ps. they have a ton of different kinds and SAMPLES). I felt up a bunch of samples. but then I saw the one on sale… of course it had no samples left. As luck would have it there were three helpful employees chatting in the same department.
So I walk up and ask “Could you tell me about the always green that you have on sale this week? Is it soft? Is it durable? There are no more samples and I was hoping to feel it”
Helpful Employee #1 : “ It’s like grass.” (In My Head: Thank you for that helpful piece of information I had no idea.)
Helpful Employee #2: “ What are you going to use it for?”
Me: “ To treat kids with anxiety, the theory is if they can take their shoes off it will help connect their mind and body and lessen their anxiety. However there’s snow outside so this is the next best thing.”
Now with the look all three of them gave me you would have thought I just told them I was going to do Black Magic right there in the store, but the wisest of the three said let me take you to the roll.
One things I did not know, mainly because I have never had to buy carpet or fake grass before, it that it comes 12 foot long and then however wide you want it. (I choose a foot and 1/2 wide). So I am now to proud owner of two 6 ft long 1 and 1/2 foot wide fake grass runners.
Step 2 – Figure out the best way to use it with kids…. I’ll keep you posted!