Sarah Mackintosh chats to educational kinesiologist and play therapist, Nasreen Khan, about how parents can help their children navigate life, Covid and the emotional challenges these bring.
Nasreen chats to me with an open smile and a warm heart – something I sense comes so naturally to her. She explains being a mum and a therapist with great passion. Nasreen is dubbed “The Toy Doctor” by most of her little clients – who talk to her about their success, troubles and frustrations through toys.
It’s all quite new to me, and I marvel at her ability to understand play at a subconscious level. The fusion of kinesiology and play therapy is what makes Nasreen a cut above the rest. She is able to ascertain brain dominance, thereby explaining to parents their child’s learning styles and productive parenting methods based on this.
Have you ever given your child an instruction, a few times, to no avail? Nasreen explains that children need to be instructed via their particular learning style – such as auditory, kinesthetic or visual. Once you are able to talk to them in “their language”, parenting becomes simpler and more successful.
Nasreen says the pandemic and 2021 riots have brought on a new type of stress in children and adults alike. Children crave human touch and present parents. When a child behaves unusually or does something out of their usual character, this is their way of saying “I’m confused, I’m hurt, I don’t understand”. And this this is when they need help.
According to Nasreen, there are some simple steps you can take at home to relieve your child’s stress and help them feel safe – such as sharing home-cooked meals, bedtime stories and bedtime routine, hugs, hugs and more hugs, increasing their water consumption and including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet.
Nasreen added that play is an integral part of a child’s life, a game of chess or cards and outdoor games are vital in the brain producing feel-good hormones.
“The old saying ‘honesty is the best policy’ is pertinent to an effective parenting style,” says Nasreen – and shares great Covid coping skills with us below.
Distract, Distract, Distract
Move energy and oxygen from your right brain to your left brain by taking a deep breath in, holding your breath for a count of six, exhaling slowly and counting backwards in twos from 100.
The 5 Technique
Look around for five items in the colour blue. Name the big five. Repeat five times: “God is in control”. Listen to and identify five things you can hear/touch/smell.
Refocus & Relax
Work off some negativity by going for a walk, painting, reading a book, baking… Now sit with your knees up to our chest and breathe deep.
My Happy Space
Take a deep breath. Focus on transporting your mind to your happy space: Where is it? What does it look like? What does it smell like? What can you touch? Are there any tastes associated with this happy space? Immerse yourself in this memory, and feel your body relax and your heart rate slow down.
This is a powerful way to release anxiety and stress. Draw a picture describing how you feel, and/or write words or sentences about how you feel. Close the book. Take a deep breath. Relax.
Notice where in your body the stress is housed. Focus your breathing into that area. Pick your shoulders up to your ears, hold for five, drop and repeat.