Helping kids feel their way to a life without violence

By June 16, 2016 No Comments
Hands glueing small drawings of faces onto a piece of construction paper

It’s okay to be angry, but it’s the way we deal with our anger that matters. That’s the message at the heart of a new activity introduced in the children’s program designed to teach kids to develop good coping strategies. The Zones of Regulation1 sessions start with colour-coded zones—red, yellow, green and blue—to help children identify how their brains and bodies feel.

Through a series of activities, children learn to help themselves when they become stressed, bored, anxious or sad. They come away with a toolbox of strategies including breathing exercises and counting-down exercises—to stay in a zone, or move from one to another.

Rubina, the Children’s Counsellor Advocate who runs the program, says many of the children at the shelter have been exposed to violent incidents; they often emulate adults including the rage, anger and grief they have seen. Children learn to recognize these emotions as the “Red Zone”, feelings of being out of control. She says, “The most heartbreaking thing for mothers to see is when their child is doing the same thing that the father used to do.”

Rubina says these kinds of children’s programs are so important at Interval House because it ensures the next generation will have the tools to build resilience and thrive as they move on with the rest of their lives. “We tell them that the Green Zone—happy, calm and focused— is where they should try to be most of the time, and we help them figure out how to bring themselves back there.”

Your generous support helps provide programs like this one to help women and their children break the cycle of violence.

1. Created by Kuypers Consulting, Inc.

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