Attuned

Play Background Music

Age: 0-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Calm, present, attuned

What It Is:Play soft, classical/instrumental music in the background.

Why It Helps:This technique can help create a soothing environment.  The rhythms of music help bring brain functioning from hyperactive or disassociated states to “normal”, which promotes neurological development.

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Create a Cozy Corner

Age: 2-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Calm, attuned

What It Is: Create a cozy area where children can go when stressed, angry, sad, or fearful. Make the area as warm and homelike as possible – soft blankets, soft chairs, beanbag chairs, cushions, stuffed animals, etc.

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Limit TV

Age: 0-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: calm, present, attuned

What It Is:If possible, don’t allow children to watch TV at all, but especially programming that exposes them to traumatic events (disaster, murder, accident, death, etc.).  If you do watch media on trauma or violence with children, actively engage them and talk about what’s happening while watching it and after the program is over.

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Dramatic Play

Age: 3-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Calm, attuned

What It Is:Using props, have children pretend that the police come to help a girl who is lost (assign roles to the children), etc (other dramas might involve the hospital, social workers, firefighters – anything with which the child might have had negative experiences).

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Emotional Matching

Age: 3-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Attuned

What It Is:Use pictures of different facial expressions and calm/scary/exciting/etc scenes. Ask children to match the facial expression to the appropriate scene.

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Interactive Story Telling

Age: 2-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Attuned, present

What It Is:  Use simple, short stories with large words and pictures. Ask children questions about the story as you go along (How do you think the boy feels? What happened at the beginning of the story? What happened in the middle?  What do you think will happen next? Have you ever done anything like this? etc)

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I Spy

Age: 2-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Attuned

What It Is:Ask children to find/identify other children with certain traits – gender, hair/eye color, shirt color, etc.  Other, similar activities would be I Hear and I Feel.

Why It Helps: Children who have experienced trauma often have difficulty with peer relationships. This activity helps them learn about their peers and relate to others.  Focusing on sensation also helps calm them.

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Teaching Attunement

Age: 3-5

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts:  Attuned

What It Is:Similar to the above ‘Today I Feel…” activities, except that it focuses more on other people’s feelings. Ask and discuss with the children:

"How can you tell if someone is happy?"

"How can you tell if someone is sad?"

"How does it feel when no one listens to you?"

"When someone is speaking to you, you should look at them."

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Today I Feel…

Age: 3-5 (appropriate for 2s in an abbreviated way and with more help from the adult, who will do more narrating of what the child is expressing since the child will be communicating emotional states non-verbally)

Applicable To: Groups or Individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Attuned

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Make a Safety Plan

Age: 2-5

Applicable To: Groups and individuals

CAPPD Concepts: Attuned, predictable

What It Is: Create and practice safety plans (for fires, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, school lock-down, etc) and educate children about it. If you are in the midst of disaster or trauma (especially acute, public trauma), inform children that the school, institution, or other authority is working to keep them safe; emphasize the plan.

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