The primary goal of the FocusedKids program is to have children – and adults in their lives – understand basic concepts about how the brain works and apply that knowledge to manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Using the regular practice of awareness, calming, and focusing, the brain becomes wired for self-regulation. With this skill, people are more resilient to everyday changes, as well as significant events such as the pandemic.
What Just Happened?
The impact of the last year on our nervous systems is substantial to families. When our brain detects a threat, it sets off a series of events in our bodies to prepare us to fight or flee to survive. Usually the danger passes and our system resets. If we can calm ourselves, we can expedite that reset process. However, with COVID, the threat hasn’t gone away and it’s been over a year!
So, What Can We Do?
Our nervous systems are still on alert, even with the vaccine. To begin to promote wellbeing, we need to bring our brains back to “normal” functioning, and we can do this by creating calm places in our lives where we feel safe, can relax, and can talk about what happened and what we are feeling. Children, in particular, need support with this and they can’t do it if the adults in their lives don’t model it first!
You may notice feelings of irritability, lingering fear, anger, loss of hope, exhaustion, sadness, or avoidance. At the same time you may experience pent up energy, a desire to run away, or general giddiness. All are normal following a traumatic event.
Both in the classroom and at home it is important to set up rituals to recover our rhythm. Two suggestions:
- Create or visit a place close by, either inside or outside, where you can go to be calm and safe. Make it yours by placing whatever helps you in that area.
- Set aside time for family or classroom conversations about what this past year has been like for everyone. What are the feelings, what was hard, what was a surprise, what did you do to get through it, what are you looking forward to?
The goal is to reset our nervous systems for well-being.
The FocusedKids Peace Patch Project
We created this project as a way to help families, teachers, and caregivers in our community begin to heal after a challenging and confusing year. A core concept of FocusedKids includes creating a calm-down space in the classroom or at home. What always helps to reset and focus us is creating something new. Resting and talking about how we are in a safe place provide ways out of the effects of trauma.
The Peace Patch is both a creative outlet and provides a place to calm and share, and can be a way to help families and classrooms recover their rhythm. There are three simple ways to participate in this project:
1. Download the Peace Patch Coloring Page
Mindful coloring is a proven strategy to regulate the body and even the mood through focus. Our new Peace Patch coloring page will refresh your spirit this spring!
2. Pre-order a Peace Patch Kit
We have created a Peace Patch garden tote with all of the supplies needed to make your family patch outside as a place to relax and de-stress. The tote includes: wildflower seeds, compacted soil builder to mix with existing soil, butterfly and dragonfly sticks, a peace rock, and a peace patch sign. You can add more rocks or decorations to make it your own!
Peace Patch kits are available for a minimum donation of $25.00 and will be ready for pickup on First Friday, May 7, in Carbondale, CO. We will contact you the week before with details about the time and place for pickup.
You can pre-order your kit by contacting [email protected]. Supply is limited, so get your name on the list now.
3. Sponsor the Peace Patch Project
Many of our families are still struggling financially, and almost everyone experienced emotional and physical exhaustion. Now, they are see-sawing wildly between hope and fatigue, making it a challenge to chart a way forward.
FocusedKids relies on donations to make this project accessible to families in need. Your generous donation is tax deductible and will help support the Peace Patch project.
- FLOWER LEVEL ($3,750) – Underwrite the cost of creating 300 Peace Patch kits
- LEAF LEVEL ($1,875) – Underwrite the cost of creating 150 Peace Patch kits
- STEM LEVEL ($300) – Receive 20 Peace Patch kits to give away to families who cannot afford them.
- ROOT LEVEL ($100) – Receive 5 Peace Patch kits to give to family and friends.